Using computers to grade your child’s writing

A detailed Washington Post article about the Common Core noted that the Educational Testing Service (ETS) is ramping up plans to have student essays graded by computer.
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This is happening even though, by their own admission, the computers are not sophisticated enough to asses your child's skill levels in " audience awareness, argumentation, critical thinking, and creativity."

Oh well, who wants their kids to think critically and be creative?

There's a lot you could complain about here, and there are ways you can counter these trends. But I suggest the more productive approach is to see the wave and prepare your surfboard.

As the technology becomes both cheaper and more sophisticated, it's changing the world. And we're not just talking about digital images, text, and videos. There's already a robotics wave in place, taking over many jobs that you probably thought would always require human beings. For example, the Henn-Na Hotel in Japan is completely staffed by robots.

If you're old enough to remember what the Internet did to the world in the 1990s, you should know that your child has a lot of opportunities with the right preparation. Here are two strategies that could help your child become phenomenally successful.

Investing in the Future

First, and obviously, learn everything you can about robotics. This is where a lot of great career and investment opportunities will be in the next 10 years. Think about how useful and lucrative it was to know programming and web design back in the mid 1990s. Be ready for the next big wave.

Second, master the skills that robots can't replicate. The ETS has already given you a short list: audience awareness, argumentation, critical thinking and creativity.

These qualities aren't just useful for writing essays. Being aware of your audience and being able to argue well are two skills that are critical for any kind of sales or marketing, law, politics, and business. In fact, it's hard to think of a career path where they wouldn't be useful.

Likewise, thinking critically and creatively are two skills that have almost universal application, and they won't be taken over by computers anytime soon.

At some point next year, or maybe even next month, your child's essay might be graded by a computer. You might be upset by this, but remember that these tests don't really matter. Your child is a unique, thinking, creative human being. Those are the qualities you need to cultivate, not standards based more and more on some algorithm.

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