Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Common Core Scoring By Pearson's "Experts"

Part of the required upgrades to implement Common Core will be for computer generated scoring of the exams.  One such program is the Intelligent Essay Assessor (IEA) by Pearson.  In fact, Pearson paid for three overseas trips in 2011 for our State Superintendent, John Huppenthal, involving the CCSSO.


With their partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Pearson has developed an "Artificial Intelligence" scoring program.  They claim:

So, the "experts" tell the computer what to scan for in their IntelliMetric system.  The "experts" decide what information is important for a student to regurgitate and what is not.  Here is a sample values clarification question in our new "internationally benchmarked" curriculum on Population Distribution:


 This is the essay being scored:

 And this is a list of criteria that the computer will be programmed to look for and where the student will need to improve.  For example, this particular student needs to focus their efforts more on population distribution and the challenges of population growth.   
Luckily, the student will have six more tries to get it right.  Afterall, it IS a more rigorous curriculum.
Here is another Language sample essay on Community Service which dovetails nicely with Obama's new Executive Order to use young members of the taxpayer subsidized AmeriCorps to try and turn around failing schools:
So, even with an essay that would seem to encourage a student to write about an emotional and personal subject, Pearson admits that IEA can't evaluate creativity or reflective thinking.  Only "factual topics":
What key words and "facts" would the so-called "experts" look for in an essay such as the one listed above?  Will there be no recourse for a student who questions the results if the person who graded the exam wasn't even their teacher?  These aren't simple multiple choice answers.
Finally, we will be forced to use this kind of technology even though the company that created it admits that "while IntelliMetric seeks to model a human brain to score essays, it pales in comparison to the human brain."