An Annotated Bibliography of Writing Assessment: Machine Scoring and Evaluation of Essay-length Writing
This installment of the JWA annotated bibliography focuses on the phenomenon of machine scoring of whole essays composed by students and others. "Machine scoring" is defined as the rating of extended or essay writing by means of automated, computerized technology. Excluded is scoring of paragraph-sized free responses of the sort that occur in academic course examinations. Also excluded is software that checks only grammar, style, and spelling. Included, however, is software that provides other kinds of evaluative or diagnostic feedback along with a holistic score. While some entries in this bibliography describe, validate, and critique the ways computers "read" texts and generate scores and feedback, other sources critically examine how these results are used. The topic is timely, since the use of machine scoring of essays is rapidly growing in standardized testing, sorting of job and college applicants, admission to college, placement into and exit out of writing courses, content tests in academic courses, and value-added study of learning outcomes.