MI's Automated Essay Scoring System Takes First Prize in National Competition

October 4, 2012

Judges Concluded Project Essay Grade’s Ability To Score Short-Answer Constructed Responses Is Most Similar To Human Graders 

DURHAM, NC – The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (Hewlett Foundation) has awarded first place in its national competition to Measurement Incorporated – a Durham, NC based full-service educational company that provides achievement tests and scoring services for state governments and various organizations –for having the best short-answer assessment scoring system.

The Hewlett Foundation’s competition determined that Measurement Incorporated’s Project Essay Grade (PEG) was similar to human graders in scoring short-answer student responses.  Judges for the competition determined that PEG is the most capable scoring system available to help teachers accurately score student written responses to test questions.

“The only noticeable difference between Project Essay Grade and human graders is Project Essay Grade generates the same grade instantaneously while a human grader must spend a significant amount of time to generate the same result,” said Dr. Henry Scherich, President of Measurement Incorporated.  “The ability to score short answer constructed responses instantaneously is a significant breakthrough in education.  The big winners from this competition are our children.”

The Hewlett Foundation sponsored the Automated Student Assessment Prize (ASAP) competition to address the need for high quality standardized tests to replace many of the current ones, which test rote skills. The goal of incorporating automated systems is to shift testing away from standardized bubble tests to tests that evaluate critical thinking, problem solving and other 21st century skills.

“Giving school systems the tools to challenge students to develop critical reasoning skills is crucial to making those students competitive in the new century,” said Barbara Chow, Education Program Director at the Hewlett Foundation. “And critical reasoning is one of the capabilities, along with communicating clearly, working cooperatively, and learning independently, that we call Deeper Learning would like to see broadly embraced throughout the country.”

Measurement Incorporated™ (MI) is a full-service educational company that provides achievement tests and scoring services for state governments, other testing companies, and various organizations.  The company recently developed the short answer assessment technology, which is based on their Project Essay Grade (PEG™) software, an automated essay scoring solution based on more than 40 years of research.  Today, PEG’s software delivers valid and reliable scoring that is unrivaled in the industry to school districts in more than three states.