Who can really say until we know how this system works? I mean, everyone knows that spellcheckers aren’t always right because they don’t understand context, so how will this computerized grader know how to go behind grading usage and mechanics. A good essay involves so much more than that and I don’t know how a computer can understand smooth transitions or a clever turn of phrase.
Students love to gripe about how long teachers take with grades but instantaneous is too quick. How can an essay be properly graded so speedily? This is not a math problem that has only right answer. Also, how can the feedback a computer gives match the carefully considered comments a teacher leaves in the margins or at the end of your paper? I very much doubt that a computer analyzing my use of grammar will make me feel warm and fuzzy the way my english teacher writing “a pleasurable read” or “interesting and effective” does.
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You present a persuasive argument for the abandonment of the 5-paragraph essay and suggest a new format for presenting an argument... However, you did not provide much information on what is expected to go in between your introduction and conclusion? You suggested this format opens the essay to compare/contrast, cause/effect, analysis, etc... but how do you suggest students structure an essay with these approaches in practice? Any piece of writing needs some structure and main ideas that are then supported with various pieces of evidence (whether you are writing a historical thesis or a persuasive essay)... If you are abandoning a "main idea followed by supporting evidence" format, what do you propose should take its place? Or perhaps my understanding of the 5-paragraph essay you are speaking of is incorrect?