Idea Works: Using Automated Grading for Collaborative Learning

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Most college students don’t expect to receive feedback from their instructor at 2am. But automated essay grading systems now being used in some college classes allow instructors to “time-shift” their evaluation, giving students detailed, personal advice while they are working on the assignment.

With a constant stream of feedback, students have the opportunity to submit multiple revisions in one sitting, helping them dig deeper into the material while improving their scores.

Programs like SAGrader™, pioneered by a sociology professor at the University of Missouri, blur the line between synchronous and asynchronous collaboration by allowing instructors to create and save assignment-specific grading standards in the program. This rubric is expressed in SAGrader as a semantic network, or concept map.

Then, utilizing a blend of linguistic, statistical and artificial intelligence (AI) approaches, SAGrader analyzes student submissions and presents the instructor’s rubric back to the student in the form of feedback and a score. It can be used with a wide variety of writing assignments, from short-answer questions to multiple-page essays.

As universities continue to encourage writing across disciplines, programs like SAGrader may be one way to provide students with plenty of writing practice without creating an unrealistic grading load for instructors or teaching assistants. 

Idea Works is a software development company based in Columbia, MO that specializes in extracting meaning from textual data. Their flagship education product, SAGrader, is designed to enhance student learning by providing real-time feedback on their writing.

Colin Monaghan, a designer based in Seattle, WA, has been helping instructors incorporate more writing and feedback into their classes for the last four years.

Idea Works
Idea Works is a software development company based in Columbia, MO that specializes in extracting meaning from textual data. Their flagship education product, SAGrader, is designed to enhance student learning by providing real-time feedback on their writing.