This is a re-post of Teri Hendrickson’s popular “Technology for Humans Scoring Humans” originally posted March 19, 2015

Technology is taking standardized testing by storm in the classroom, but how has it made an impact on how our students’ open-ended responses are actually scored? Asking that question of several veteran seasonal staff revealed how technology has changed the face of the assessment industry for “hand” scoring. Efficiency, reliability, and consistency are underlying themes in how we, as humans scoring humans, embrace this reality.

The concept of “hand” or “human” scoring has been around forever. From parents helping their children with their homework to teachers correcting, scoring, and providing feedback on student work, many are involved in the process of “assessing” students while also impressing upon them to do their best work. The question is, how can we make sure we have the consistency in scoring to learn from the actual test itself to achieve the same level of high quality across classrooms, districts, and states?

Technology has made it easier than ever for us to create streamlined methods for scoring with tools for rubric application, instantaneous real-time reader monitoring, and inter-rater reliability in a more measurable way. In addition, while most large-scale assessments typically occur in the spring, technology has created more opportunities than ever to provide testing, creating a need for constant and steadfast scoring consistency within the school year and also from year-to-year. Our highly loyal reader pool who “hand score” student responses are required to embrace our philosophy of providing accurate and reliable service for our customers to gain and keep the utmost level of trust. We know that behind every response is a student who is counting on us to accurately report back in a way that directly affects their future. Whether they are being tested to benchmark their success throughout their school career, evaluate their status in the classroom, or to determine if they are ready to move into a career beyond high school, each student is entitled to the same thoughtful consideration.

Being able to provide fast and accurate electronic measures of how our kids are doing in the classroom is what is measurable. As parents and educators, we should expect nothing less and need to have the utmost confidence that the student is the one benefitting the most from testing.

We’ve only just begun to realize the potential of how technology in the assessment industry can help us to bridge the gap in order to produce consistent results in a timeframe that provides meaningful data to our teachers so they can actually use in the classroom. Teachers shouldn’t be spending precious hours teaching to the test, they just need to do what they love most — teach their students — and we guarantee that’s a big win for everyone!