Rank: 1 (Although McGee initially felt that the Intelligent Essay Assessor (IEA) would have some potential, after experimenting on it, he was firmly against its use being that it was not able to read for content and meaning as it advertised.)
Argument: McGee put the IEA through a series of experiments to test its ability to read for content and meaning. When he reversed an essay on the mechanics of the heart’s circulation (thus making it factually incorrect), IEA still gave it the same score. Furthermore, he revised an essay so that it contained severely factually incorrect information on the Great Depression and The New Deal. Strangely, it still received the same overall score and the only scoring difference was that it lost a point in the subcategory of content yet received an increase in mechanics.
Assumptions: The main assumptions that drive McGee’s article have to do with what it means to read for meaning. Cohesion and coherence are taken as essential (as evidenced by the inverted essay example), and IEA fails in those categories. Factual correctness is also seen as important. While these assumptions are capable of being challenged, I feel they reflect general tenets of the discipline that even people outside of the discipline would value.
Points of Interest:
- IEA does not count cohesion or coherence as part of meaning.
- IEA does not value factual correctness.
- In spite of McGee’s findings, IEA advertises itself as being capable of reading for meaning and content.