The Florida Department of Education plans to have a computer program review student essays for the first time when a new test replaces the FCAT. The agency announced Monday it had chosen Florida's next test. Student essays would be read by a human reviewer and a computer, according to bid documents from the American Institutes for Research. The computer's score would only matter if it was significantly different form the human score. Then, another human would grade the essay.
One study showed that computer grading is at least as accurate as human scores. Utah is among the states that have used computer grading for several years. Florida's new K-12 math and language arts standards will require students take a writing test every year. Currently, students take the FCAT writing test in fourth, eighth and tenth grades. Experts say that increase in testing will make computer grading necessary -- and the technology is improving. Students will take the new test for the first time in early 2015.