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Outsourced Grading of College Papers

Corporations have taken advantage of outsourcing for decades; the process lowers costs and often allows services to be provided which could not be otherwise accommodated. Now some university faculty believe the same principle can be applied to the task of grading papers written by undergraduates.
The graders working for EduMetry, based in a Virginia suburb of Washington, are concentrated in India, Singapore, and Malaysia, along with some in the United States and elsewhere. They do their work online and communicate with professors via e-mail. The company advertises that its graders hold advanced degrees and can quickly turn around assignments with sophisticated commentary, because they are not juggling their own course work, too...

The assessors use technology that allows them to embed comments in each document; professors can review the results (and edit them if they choose) before passing assignments back to students. In addition, professors receive a summary of comments from each assignment, designed to show common "trouble spots" among students' answers, among other things.

Critics decry the lack of personal relationship between teacher and student, but defenders of the process counter that grading in the past has often been done by teaching assistants, and the use of "virtual TAs" in the Indian subcontinent is not fundamentally different.  The process is not inexpensive; one example cited at the link indicates a cost of $12 per assignment per student.

The responses of students and the reactions of faculty at various universities, graduate schools, and community colleges is discussed in the excellent article at The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Not discussed at the link is to what extent the papers being outsourced for grading were outsourced by the students to be written by someone else...

Link.  Bobblehead image via the Neatoshop.

wow, so profs won't do even that. which means they don't do anything to earn their money, do they?
all of my profs do nothing in class, making everyone else work, so that i thought they at least could grad stuff.. looks like once you're a prof you can stop working. neat indeed.
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Last time I checked, the countries of India, Singapore, and Malaysia don't have English as their primary language. How does that work for proper grading of a paper?
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I wouldn't want that. If someone gives me comments on a paper, I want to be able to talk about them, to ask for clarification if I need it. Also, if the person who grades papers isn't the same person who teaches the conference or the discussion session (like TAs do), then you might be getting contradictory advice.
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Just because outsourcing exists doesn't mean that you have to outsource everything. How are students supposed to ask their TAs or profs about their paper if those people haven't even seen it?
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really, not all that uncommon in the past.. albeit, external associates brought in to grade papers would likely have a strong grasp on whatever language they are grading.. but, Tolkien and many other Oxford professors graded papers from different uni's for money...

quite a bit of LOTR was written on unused portions of exams, as paper was a pricey commodity back then.
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Wow, and I thought it was bad when I first learned that it was my TAs not my professors who were marking my work. This is just.. wrong.
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@dforest: That's funny. Reminds me of a story a professor told me about students tape recording lectures. By mid semester the whole class just left tape recorders on desks and didn't attend, so he recorded his own lectures. The class became one tape recorder talking to a bunch of other tape recorders.

Kind of like sending outsourced papers to outsourced graders.
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Horrid, horrid, horrid.

If I can't grade my own students' papers, I have no business teaching the number of classes I do.

As a college English prof (going on 17 years now), I have NEVER used anyone else to grade a single paper. The only time I have even shown a student's paper to someone else is when I need a fresh perspective on the paper, to be certain I am not being too biased.

Grading isn't fun, but it's an essential part of the teaching I do.
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@JermH

Malay is the National Language of Singapore, but "English is the language of administration and also is widely used in the professions, businesses, and schools."

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2798.htm
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You can't tell me in today's economy that you can't find qualified Americans to grade papers. That being said, if a teacher/professor can't grade the papers they assign, for whatever reason, should they be teaching in the first place? Pure and simple, it's part of their job. They get paid to teach and part of that job is to actually read and understand their student's papers so as to better understand their students. If you can't do what you were hired to do then maybe you should get another job.
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Just wanted to point out that many professors (particularly those with tenure) are also paid to do research and publish papers. Teaching may be a distant second or third in their job duties.

This still sounds like a bad, idea. Also, I can't imagine how this is a better deal (financially and ethically) than getting TAs to do it. It's not like grad students are all that expensive, either.
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Wow, another reason why the U.S. is going down the tubes at an alarming rate. Let us, people of the U.S. of Idiots, further the advancement of lower countries and cripple ours in turn. It is my belief that the U.S. is on its path to absolute destruction via its own hand. The decline of the Western civilization is about in full progress.
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When there is an easier path, and there are no repercussions for taking the easier path, it is very difficult to prevent people from taking the easier path.

It's why democratic societies eventually fail.
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@Gerry: Thanks for the correction.

I expect it's just source amnesia, though. The professor in question often made pop culture references in class, and was good about attribution. I probably just missed part of the story.
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