Zhichao Zeng, Jai Aslam, Anirban Sharma
Effective written communication is a crucial skill across all disciplines. It requires practice to master. Unfortunately, students don't get enough opportunities to do so. Since grading written assignments is time intensive — especially when one teacher is responsible for an entire classroom — teachers often limit such assignments. This curtails students' opportunities to practice, receive feedback and develop this important skill. The problem is further exacerbated for students who are learning English as a second language, often called English language learners (ELLs), as they require more practice than others. To address this problem, we built an automated essay grader that compares the writing of ELL students to their peers. With the time saved by using an automated grader, teachers can devote more energy to tailoring assignments to their students’ needs.