Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IBMish Writing:

I'm going off half-cocked today, because I don't have a URL to point to, but I read somewhere that in Great Britain, schools are thinking about using computers to grade essay tests. Obvious jokes arise, as one thinks about how to pad a computer-read exercise to get higher grades. And what's the point in writing to a computer? They can't think.

However, I believe this is a good idea, up to a point. A computer can certainly try to check for proper spelling, punctuation and syntax. And a skilled writer, even in fourth grade, can learn how to avoid fancy writing constructions that a computer will fail to understand. It's all about technique, and everyone could use some practice in developing technique. As long as we don't trust a computer to decide whether the writer has actually answered a question.

1 comment:

jgfellow said...

I often use Microsoft's grammar review when I write memos. One of its metrics is to count words per sentence. I truly believe that managing to the right number of words per sentence improves clarity and I think this is one example of how the GB plan could add value...