English teacher Renee Moore follows up on that study finding that automated grading programs can assess student essays as effectively as human readers can. Moore says that her experience, it just so happens, has been exactly the opposite. Besides, she adds, responding to student writing is about more than just providing a grade:
Our students are sharing their thoughts with us, and before anything else, teachers should be respectful, thoughtful readers of those ideas. Like many of my colleagues, I respond to my students' writing with questions and comments--on what they are saying. ... When I sit down next to each of my students or with a small group of them (physically or virtually) to share their most recent work; to reflect on how they have grown as writers since their last piece or since the start of the course; to give sincere, critical feedback on what would help make it better---I am doing what no software program can copy. It is through these very human interactions that I also show them that they have worth far beyond a number on a scale.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.