By Elijah Mayfield. Last week, edX made a splashy spectacle of an announcement about automated essay grading, leaving educators fuming. Let’s rethink their claims.
“Give Professors a break,” the New York Times suggested in this joint press release from edX, Harvard, and MIT. The breathless story weaves a tale of robo-professors taking over the grading process, leaving professors free to kick back their feet and take a nap, and subsequently inviting universities, ever-focused on the bottom-line, to fire all the professors. If I had set out to write an article intentionally provoking fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the minds of teachers and writers, I don’t think I could have done any better than this piece.
Anyone who’s seen their claims published in science journalism knows that the popular claims bear only the foggiest resemblance to academic results. It’s unclear to me whether the misunderstanding is due to edX intentionally overselling their product for publicity, or if something got lost in translation while writing the story. Whatever the cause, the story was cocksure and forceful about auto-scoring’s role in shaping the future of education. Read more...