Monday, October 31, 2011

Paper Rater and Student Self "Peer" Reviews

I follow a blog called, "History Tech." It discusses new ways to incorporate technology in the classroom. A recent post talked of a service known as Paper Rater. It claimed that it helped professors grade essays.

(I wish to give a giant disclaimer: I do not think this is a good resource for grading. I do not use it as such. I would never use it as such.)

Now that we all have gotten over the shock that a computer can grade, maybe take a step back and try to figure out how this excellent program can be used in a positive way.

I have yet to try it in class, but for the next essay, I plan to incorporate this with my peer review day. It is a free service so I had to try it out. I have digital files of my students' essays. The site is simple enough. Simply cut and paste the essay into the box provided. Then it asks more questions, such as type of writing and grade level. You can even submit your Works Cited. After you submit your writing, it produces some very intriguing comments ranging from spelling and basic grammar to use of vocabulary, transitional words, etc. It even counts the number of pronouns, which I find useful since students can easily bog down a paper with pronouns.

In the end, it gives a "grade" with a disclaimer that in no way this means the essay should get this specific grade. I tried it with a few of my essays and the grade was "in the ballpark."

Again, I do not think an instructor should use this to grade. Repeat, do not use this to grade, but I think students could find this site extremely helpful. Another set of eyes (even though it is a robot) is beneficial for writing. So give it a try and let me know what you think.


  1. Cool tip, and I'm still laughing at your multiple disclaimers. You know you are a teacher when you say the same thing a million times. One student said to me today "you must get tired of repeating yourself," when she realized I had answered the same question about 20 times in 50 minutes.

  2. Stacy, also check out Students can paste their essays to generate word clouds. These word clouds will show overused words. Also it will creat a sort of fractured thesis. The words that are larger should create a dominant impression of the essay.

    Thank you for your comments.

  3. Interesting. I just plopped an A paper in there and a C paper in there, and they both came back as B papers, with some comments that I personally viewed as vague.

  4. I would be a little concerned that the site is a paper factory supplier. There some sites that advertise as plagiarism-detector sites. They then take all the upload papers and sell them or provide them to sites that sell papers to students. I'd double check to make sure this isn't one of those.

  5. I did find this from an education/technology site. As far as the grading (as well as the plagiarism), I would not use this site at all. The fact that it can tell how many sentences use passive voice. That right there alone is an amazing thing.