Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bad news for writing

This frightens me, to my core. The style of writing that garners top scores from a robo-grader is the style of writing I try to eliminate from my students repertoire: lengthy, inaccurate, complicated, and verbose. I know colleges are now using robo-graders in large, introductory classes.  This means that ASP and legal writing will be dealing with more remedial writing challenges, as students learn to write for robo-graders.

Here are some of the highlights of robo-grading that draw my ire:

  • Favoring longer sentences, when shorter sentences would be more direct.
  • Giving points for length, regardless of what is written.
  • Preferring "gargantuan" words ("egregious") to simple phrasing (it was wrong).
  • Facts can be wrong, as long as the facts are a part of a well-structured sentence. “E-Rater is not designed to be a fact checker,” said Paul Deane, a principal research scientist. 


Facing a Robo-Grader? Just Keep Obfuscating Mellifluously
Computers are fast when it comes to grading test essays, but they can be fooled.

Current Affairs | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Bad news for writing:


Post a comment