Is Automated Grading for Lazy Teachers?



Critics of automated grading claim this technology encourages teachers to abdicate their responsibility to evaluate their students. Teachers are trained to grade student work, the argument goes, so they shouldn’t outsource their writing evaluation.

But instructors who use SAGrader tell a different story.

Pam Thomas, a biology instructor at the University of Central Florida, sees SAGrader as an extension of her own grading capacity since she controls the evaluation rubric.

“It’s not outsourcing assessment, it’s using automated assessment that is totally professor controlled…[T]he machine grades just as I would. It is me using the machine to grade, what would be unimaginable numbers of papers.”

Pam regularly teaches classes with over 400 students. With such a potentially large grading load, the choice is between offering no writing assignments at all, or allowing students to write with SAGrader. Pam says SAGrader offers “the ability to have large classes do the same types of work as small classes.”

Another teacher, Joe Swope, finds that SAGrader actually increases his meaningful  interactions with students. In a recent MindShift article, Joe said:

“Just because the software is grading doesn’t mean I don’t read student work. [I use SAGrader to] find trouble spots and start a dialogue that’s more than just comments in the margin. [SAGrader makes me a] better teacher because it has freed me up to talk to students.”