Automated Scoring Technologies Instrumental to Development of Next-Generation Assessments
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Automated Scoring Technologies Instrumental to Development of Next-Generation Assessments

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — June 1, 2011 —

Changing the student assessment model from an annual snapshot to continuously capturing academic performance to provide students and teachers with immediate feedback, inform instruction, and track student growth is a bold challenge. As the education community considers how to develop, deliver, and score large volumes of these new assessments, automated scoring technologies are instrumental to effect this change.

Knowledge Technologies, a business within the Assessment & Information Group of Pearson, has more than 15 years of experience in automated scoring, having invented many of the leading technologies that exist today for text, speech and math scoring. In 2010 alone, Knowledge Technologies scored more than 20 million spoken and written responses from around the world.

Today, the company released a new white paper, “Pearson’s Automated Scoring of Writing, Speaking, and Mathematics: A White Paper,” authored by Knowledge Technologies’ scientists Lynn Streeter, Ph.D.; Jared Bernstein, Ph.D.; Peter Foltz, Ph.D.; and Donald DeLand, Available at, the paper gives educators, policymakers, and test developers explanations of how automated scoring works, how well it works, and its potential for educational applications.

The document introduces a framework for understanding Pearson’s ground-breaking work in automated scoring. It explores in-depth the way that Knowledge Technologies automatically scores written, spoken and, to a lesser extent, mathematical responses, as well as specific applications of this scoring technology. For most aspects of writing and speaking, the performance of automated scoring already equals or surpasses that of human raters. Written text can be scored for language arts and content domains, such as science, social studies and history. In addition to scoring writing for declarative knowledge, Knowledge Technologies assesses writing for language skills as reflected in stylistic and mechanical aspects.

Spoken responses are scored for declarative knowledge and speech quality in tasks such as reading aloud to determine fluency and in orally summarizing a reading. The most extensive applications of spoken technology are determining proficiency in speaking and understanding English as well as other languages. Written and spoken automated scoring have been combined to assess the traditional four language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) for college admissions and employment decisions. Knowledge Technologies’ automated mathematics assessments are under development and will allow students to show and explain their work as they step through computations, derivations and proofs using graphic and equation editors and text input.

“For more than 15 years, our research and development have been focused on automated scoring technologies that can quickly and accurately evaluate performance, providing both students and educators with immediate and actionable feedback,” said Lynn Streeter, president of Knowledge Technologies. “The studies we have conducted, particularly in terms of comparing automated scoring to human evaluation, prove our efficacy in providing effective assessment, informing instruction, and saving valuable resources.”

Streeter continued, “Based on this continuous research, development and evaluation, we are committed to working closely with the education community to determine how our proven and widely implemented automated scoring expertise can be an integral part of the new assessment systems that will focus on preparing all students to be college and career ready.”

The release of this white paper is part of Pearson’s overall commitment to collaborating with the greater education community on the development of next-generation assessments. Other components in this initiative include the launch of a special website, Next Generation Assessments, which features open, public access to numerous white papers and other resources to help states as they design and deliver new assessment systems. A new video series on the site features Pearson’s content development, editorial, research, and psychometric professionals discussing topics such as the power of technology to transform assessments and measuring student growth.

About Pearson

Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education services, education technology and school solutions, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson’s other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to

For more information:
Adam Gaber, Pearson,
800-745-8489 / / @apgaber (twitter)