Good heavens: Automated Essay Grading exists. Admittedly they’re only recommending it as a tool students can use during revision, before submitting the paper, but if you read the full paper (PDF) you’ll see that computers have many advantages over human assessors:
Well, students do want to believe that we’re objective, infallible graders. At least, the students I made do peer assessment last semester said they did. Perhaps students would prefer computer assessors?
You can try out the system if you like. Unfortunately the sample topics don’t include “write a 600-1000 word review of a weblog” which is the next assignment I’ll be grading.
I came across this deep in a post on hacking literature by Maciej Ceglowski over at Idlewords. Maciej suggests that if this technology exists, pretty soon students plagariasing essays by copying them off the internet will be surplanted by students automatically generating essays. Won’t that be fun!?