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Scoring Essays Automatically Using Surface Features

Kaplan, Randy M.; Wolff, Susanne; Burstein, Jill; Lu, Chi; Rock, Donald A.; Kaplan, Bruce A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
GREB-94-21P, RR-98-39
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Graduate Record Examinations Board Essay Tests Scoring Automation Automated Scoring and Natural Language Processing


Surface features of essays include nonlinguistic characteristics, such as total number of words per essay (essay length), sentence length, and word length, as well as linguistic characteristics, such as the total number of grammatical errors, the types of grammatical errors, or the kinds of grammatical constructions (e.g., passive or active) that appear in an essay. This study examines the feasibility of using linguistic and nonlinguistic surface characteristics in an automatic procedure for predicting essay scores. It builds on earlier work by R. M. Kaplan, Burstein, Lu, B. Kaplan, Wolff (1995), Page (1966), and Page and Petersen (1995).

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