College Essay Competitions 2012

The goal is for students to acquire critical thinking and communication skills that writing requires – all without the burden of added time and cost to the system.This innovative software also has great potential in classroom use.

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The competition drew more than 2,500 entries and 250 participants and inspired data scientists to develop innovative, accurate ways to improve on the current essay scoring technology.

ASAP was hosted by Kaggle, the leading platform for data prediction competitions that allows organizations to post their data and have it scrutinized by the world’s best data scientists.

This is a critical distinction because it means that the software replicates the same scores as trained educators for significantly less time and money.

According to Kaggle CEO Anthony Goldbloom, “We harness the brainpower of the best minds in the world to create game-changing solutions. The goal of this competition was to offer impartial competitions in which a fair and transparent process allows participants to demonstrate the capabilities of this innovative software and showcase to the world the value of scoring technologies.” ASAP supports the efforts of the Common Core State Standards which define the knowledge and skills students should have when they graduate high school so they can succeed in college and the workforce.

The contest was held in plain sight – with the scores of the competing teams appearing online in real time and had an active discussion board.

“I am thrilled to win this contest because it gave me an opportunity to think creatively about how we can use technology to improve scoring software that instantly and inexpensively predicts how an educator would hand-grade an essay,” said Jason Tigg, the British particle physicist turned high frequency trader who was a member of the first place team.Other critical skills include mastering core academic content, working collaboratively and learning how to learn independently.The Hewlett Foundation calls these skills “deeper learning”, and is making grants to support a movement throughout the country to spread this approach to more classrooms and integrate these teaching practices and learning outcomes into education policies.This will pave the way for states to include more writing on standardized tests, which mostly consist of simple multiple choice questions.This is important because standardized testing has had a significant impact on classroom practice.The study found that the scoring software was able to replicate the scores of trained educators, with the software in some cases proving to be more reliable.The study was released on April 16 at the annual conference of the National Council on Measurements in Education. A second ASAP study will be announced this summer to encourage companies that sell essay grading software and public competitors to undertake the same challenge for grading short- answer questions. ASAP was designed by The Common Pool, LLC, and is managed by Open Education Solutions The winning team of the Automated Student Assessment Prize (ASAP) hails from three different countries: England, Germany and the U. Their collaborative effort brought together the team’s diverse skill set in computer science, physics and language and created the most innovative, effective and applicable testing model from more the 250 participants.“More sophisticated assessments will drive better classroom practices because better tests support better learning,” said Barbara Chow, Education Program Director at the Hewlett Foundation.“This contest clearly demonstrated that there is excellent technology that can dramatically lower the cost and time it takes to grade essays which should be welcome news to state assessment agencies.The team says they believe they have just barely scratched the surface of possibilities with software scoring technology.The essay contest is open to all Louisiana students in grades 9-12 regardless of type of school institution, including students in all types of private educational environments, as well as home schooled students. Shane Rasmussen, [email protected] mailed to the Louisiana Folklife Center, NSU Box 3663, Natchitoches, LA 71497.


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