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Marking Computer Says No
Computer scientists keep telling us they are on the verge of building a computer that can think, understand the semantics of language and generally do all those things that define a human being. So can computers with the lastest in artificial intelligence mark English examinations for schools ... computer says nooo.

Marking computer Says No AsTop Writers Fail Their English A Level.
by Ian R Thorpe
2009-11-12
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: computer, technology, artificial, intelligence, education, satire, humour, humor

Boggart Blog makes it our business to invigilate the progressive education lobby for sings of loonyness. An we have to be honest, they keep us busy.

One of the most crackpot ideas to come out of the academic clique that supervises the dumbing down of standard was the recruitment of a marking computer to assess A level papers.

On being given samples of writing by great authors including Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway and John Donne the computer failed them all, dismissing John Donne's line "No man is an island." as incomprehensible.

A very atmospheric passage from Dickens was branded too repetitive as was a transcript of Churchills "Fight them on the beaches" speech.

Extracts from William Goldings "Lord Of The Flies" and Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange" were described respectively as "erratic" and "bizarre."

Apart from being pedantic the marking computer cannot cope with metaphor, colloquialism or handle stylistic variation. All of which shows that despite the lurid fantasies of computer scientists Artificial Intelligence is as far away as Intergalactic Travel.

It is nicely ironic that in an education system designed, it is claimed, to encourage creativity, creativity is frowned on. The system sems to be giving out the message, "You will be creative, but only as creative as we allow you to be."

Once again we see the underlying ideal of progressive education is control freakery.

Just as a final, satisfying, nail in the coffin of the computerized exam marker in its appraisal of Chuchill's speech it corrects the use of "might of" in the phrase "might of the German Army," advising the author it was an incorrect way of writing "might have" when in fact it is an abstract noun and perfectly correct. So did Churchill pass his A level?

Computer says No.

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