Deane works for ETS, and he is defending AES. He supports AES – I’d give him a 10 out of 10.
- Argument: AES is an appropriate way to assess writing, or at least no more inappropriate than human-scored holistic assessments. AES can compliment human raters in large-scale assessments. He points out that current human-scored holistic writing assessments already are in conflict with what humanists and compositionists say good writing is. Timed holistic assessments are product-driven, not process-driven. They are written for a single audience – the rater. They are already graded primarily on surface features, such as grammar and mechanics. AES just does this kind of holistic scoring. AES systems only as good as they are designed and as good as the information programed into them. Deane is arguing for AES done right.
- Assumptions: Deane assumes that AES programs can and will be continually improved to give better feedback and scores. He also assumes that many AES models are based off of the Six Traits model from Spandel.
- Points of Interest: “To the extent that we emphasize those aspects of writing that are easily measured and about which agreement can be easily obtained, whether by machines or humans, we emphasize those aspects of writing that are routine and routinizable…Writing assessment, whether scored by human or by machines, needs to be structured to support the teacher and to encourage novice writers to develop the wide variety of skills required to achieve high levels of mastery” (p. 20). I was rather surprised to see this from someone who works for ETS.