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Essays marked by computer program
Computers are being used to mark American university student’s essays in a project that could radically alter the teaching role of academics.

Qualrus, a program developed at the University of Missouri, offers instant feedback on even complex subjects. It picks up word patterns, from which it can tell whether students’ arguments are sound, and gives the essay a score. Its developer, Professor Edward Brent, says Qualrus will save staff hundreds of hours of marking time. He told the BBC reporter, ‘The program uses several different intelligence strategies. It compares the information with that offered by all previous candidates and the information entered previously by the course tutor.’

Students taking Professor Brent’s sociology course submit their draft essays online and receive detailed feedback within a couple of seconds. It gives a numerical score based on the weight instructors place on different parts of the assignment.

Qualrus is not designed to replace the academics’ marking, but to ensure undergraduates are thinking along the right lines before handing in their final work. Professor Brent said, ‘We rarely disagree with what the program has said. But we don’t want to create just a template that operates to the detriment of student originality. We try to make it flexible. It makes our job more interesting because we don’t have to deal so much with the facts and can concentrate more on thinking.’
1) What is the main advantage of the program for university tutors?
2) One of the strategies that Qualrus uses to mark essays is:
3) How does the program report the overall result for an essay?
Teksts: Eksāmens angļu valodā 12. klasei - Skolēna darba lapa - Lasīšana - 2006.gada 24.maijs
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