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Does anyone out there use any kind of software that grades essays for you? What have your experiences been? Is it pretty accurate or do you end up having to grade it by hand anyway?

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Hi Dani,

I have used scoring essay software several times this school year. I have mixed feelings on the results. Pros: Alleviates you spending weekends scoring 150 essays. Students are able to receive scores instantly.

Cons: If the software does not recognize the material, it registers as U= unable to score. For example, students had to write an essay about the most significant advancement in technology and for those that chose GPS, their essays were U = unable to score.

Overall, I ended up going back to hand scoring...
Hi Dani, I have used scoring essay software several times this school year. I have mixed feelings on the results. Pros: Alleviates you spending weekends scoring 150 essays. Students are able to receive scores instantly.

Cons: If the software does not recognize the material, it registers as U= unable to score. For example, students had to write an essay about the most significant advancement in technology and for those that chose GPS, their essays were U = unable to score.

Overall, I ended up going back to hand scoring...
Yes, I get that often as well. It's a catch 22 situation. At my current high school, we have to use it weekly so I don't have a choice and the writing prompts are dictated so there isn't any freedom there either.

Alice Maria Griffin said:
Hi Dani, I have used scoring essay software several times this school year. I have mixed feelings on the results. Pros: Alleviates you spending weekends scoring 150 essays. Students are able to receive scores instantly.

Cons: If the software does not recognize the material, it registers as U= unable to score. For example, students had to write an essay about the most significant advancement in technology and for those that chose GPS, their essays were U = unable to score.

Overall, I ended up going back to hand scoring...
About the only on line scoring tool I use is a plagiarism checker. The others just do not work well.
My school is a middle school, but we use Learnia Folio. We get the prompt from the company and we send our essays out, but in previous years, students could write the essays online and get immediate feedback. I think they switched to sending them out because at the middle school level in my disadvantaged district, students found it difficult to compose and type at the same time.

I have found that the scoring was more rigorous than I would have done. It graded essays on individual components of the Registered Holistic Scoring Guide as well as giving the essay an overall score. I thought it was great tool but because of the turn around with sending it out, it was less useful. Many of my students have a much higher opinion of what they had written than the score that was assigned. But again, it highlighted areas that needed improvement. Excellent resource.
Using a rubric is good. I even get the students to help make it, but I teach high school. I hand grade, but one good thing to use to grade essays or stories is highlighters. Some kids do work well on the computer, and if they turn them in that way, use the highlight function on your work processing software. Red is not the best color, but use one color to highlight miss spelled words, yellow or a 'happy color' for exceptionally good writing--- as long as the students have a key, they like that much better than red ink circles and underlines.

Renee Emami said:
My school is a middle school, but we use Learnia Folio. We get the prompt from the company and we send our essays out, but in previous years, students could write the essays online and get immediate feedback. I think they switched to sending them out because at the middle school level in my disadvantaged district, students found it difficult to compose and type at the same time.

I have found that the scoring was more rigorous than I would have done. It graded essays on individual components of the Registered Holistic Scoring Guide as well as giving the essay an overall score. I thought it was great tool but because of the turn around with sending it out, it was less useful. Many of my students have a much higher opinion of what they had written than the score that was assigned. But again, it highlighted areas that needed improvement. Excellent resource.
http://www.11trees.com/ <- I use this for feedback on the documents and base scores on a 6 traits rubric.

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