Outsourced Grading of College Papers
By Minnesotastan in Everything Else on Apr 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm
Corporations have taken advantage of outsourcing for decades; the process lowers costs and often allows services to be provided which could not be otherwise accommodated. Now some university faculty believe the same principle can be applied to the task of grading papers written by undergraduates.
The graders working for EduMetry, based in a Virginia suburb of Washington, are concentrated in India, Singapore, and Malaysia, along with some in the United States and elsewhere. They do their work online and communicate with professors via e-mail. The company advertises that its graders hold advanced degrees and can quickly turn around assignments with sophisticated commentary, because they are not juggling their own course work, too…
The assessors use technology that allows them to embed comments in each document; professors can review the results (and edit them if they choose) before passing assignments back to students. In addition, professors receive a summary of comments from each assignment, designed to show common “trouble spots” among students’ answers, among other things.
Critics decry the lack of personal relationship between teacher and student, but defenders of the process counter that grading in the past has often been done by teaching assistants, and the use of “virtual TAs” in the Indian subcontinent is not fundamentally different. The process is not inexpensive; one example cited at the link indicates a cost of $12 per assignment per student.
The responses of students and the reactions of faculty at various universities, graduate schools, and community colleges is discussed in the excellent article at The Chronicle of Higher Education. Not discussed at the link is to what extent the papers being outsourced for grading were outsourced by the students to be written by someone