Standardized Writing

Will Richardson blogged on a New York Times article about standardized writing and the move toward grading via machines.  He makes some really valid points, but what I would like to concentrate on is how this new type of testing “should” be extended into college exam, namely the GRE.

One of Richardson’s complaints is that the writing scores of standardized tests by use of a machine is impersonal.  In this regard I have to agree because writing really is an art.  I’ll echo Richardson and say that writing contains emotions and machines are emotionless.  How can a machine adequately view a piece of literature, essay, or poem and judge it for creativity?  To mechanically judge grammar, punctuation, and spelling I could agree upon, but are the powers that be really obtuse enough to think this type of grading could be extended into the actual content?  I hope not.

However, let me return to my first statement that this might not be such a bad thing.  I kind of hope a machine tests my scores.  Better yet, I hope that machine has a glitch and gives me an outstanding score.  After all, according to the New York Times the following sentence received a 3 out of 3 points  (Correction 3 out of 6 points which in my opinion is still very generous).   “Even though their is no physical conflict withen each other. Their are jealousy problems between each other that each one wish could have.”


Surely lowering standards and impersonalizing education isn’t a bad thing for the student.  Just based on the spelling, homophones, and grammar use in the above sentence I look like a genius!


Works Cited


Richardson, Will. “The Sorry State of Standardized Writing.” Will Richardson,

7 Feb. 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2012. <>.

Winerip, Michael. “Despite Focus on Data, Standards for Diploma May Still Lack Rigor.” New York Times, 5 Feb 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2012 <


2 thoughts on “Standardized Writing

  1. Thanks for the mention. One note…the essay from which the example you gave was taken scored a 3 out of 6. Thankfully. ;0)

  2. nogginquest says:

    Thank you for correcting me on that error. I reread the article and saw where I made my mistake. It goes to prove that I am certainly not a genius! 🙂

    A three is still a very generous score.

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