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An Application for Automated Evaluation of Student Essay

In: Business and Management

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Criterion SM Online Essay Evaluation: An Application for Automated Evaluation of Student Essays
Jill Burstein
Educational Testing Service Rosedale Road, 18E Princeton, NJ 08541 jburstein@ets.org

Martin Chodorow
Department of Psychology Hunter College 695 Park Avenue New York, NY 10021 martin.chodorow@hunter.cuny.edu

Claudia Leacock
Educational Testing Service Rosedale Road, 18E Princeton, NJ 08541 cleacock@ets.org

Abstract
This paper describes a deployed educational technology application: the CriterionSM Online Essay Evaluation Service, a web-based system that provides automated scoring and evaluation of student essays. Criterion has two complementary applications: E-rater®, an automated essay scoring system and Critique Writing Analysis Tools, a suite of programs that detect errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics, that identify discourse elements in the essay, and that recognize elements of undesirable style. These evaluation capabilities provide students with feedback that is specific to their writing in order to help them improve their writing skills. Both applications employ natural language processing and machine learning techniques. All of these capabilities outperform baseline algorithms, and some of the tools agree with human judges as often as two judges agree with each other.

2. Application Description
Criterion contains two complementary applications that are based on natural language processing (NLP) methods. The scoring application, e-rater®, extracts linguisticallybased features from an essay and uses a statistical model of how these features are related to overall writing quality to assign a holistic score to the essay. The second application, Critique, is comprised of a suite of programs that evaluate and provide feedback for errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics, identify the essay’s discourse structure, and recognize…...

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