Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:49 AM
HiPointDem (20,729 posts)
New frontiers in the brave new world of education "reform": Outsourcing grading
In 2008, I broke the story that the online education corporation, K12 Inc, was outsourcing student essays to India to be graded without parents' knowledge. The corporation eventually apologized, calling the outsourcing "growing pains" and one of those "occasional glitches." It says it has stopped the practice.
Since then, when articles are written questioning K12 Inc, like a story today in the Des Moines Register, they often talk about this as being exclusive to K12's Arizona charter... As I stated in a lengthy post explaining the outsourcing process, ten K12 online schools sent papers to India (in PA, CA, CO, ID, MN, WA)
Some Papers Are Uploaded to Bangalore to Be Graded
Lori Whisenant knows that one way to improve the writing skills of undergraduates is... consistent, detailed feedback.
Her seven teaching assistants, some of whom did not have much experience, couldn't deliver. Their workload was staggering: About 1,000 juniors and seniors enroll in the course each year. "Our graders were great," she says, "but they were not experts in providing feedback."
That shortcoming led Ms. Whisenant, director of business law and ethics studies at Houston, to a novel solution last fall. She outsourced assignment grading to a company whose employees are mostly in Asia.
Virtual-TA, a service of a company called EduMetry Inc., took over. The goal of the service is to relieve professors and teaching assistants of a traditional and sometimes tiresome task—and even, the company says, to do it better than TA's can... Mr. Bangari, who is based in Bangalore, India, oversees a group of assessors who work from their homes. He says his job is to see that the graders, many of them women with children who are eager to do part-time work...
"People need to get past thinking that grading must be done by the people who are teaching," says Mr. Rajam....
ethics professor = haha
tiresome task = core of teaching, providing feedback to students
for profit TA company = look out, students funding your education as TAs -- fewer spots in the future.
women/work from their homes/eager to do part-time = low-paid, unbenefited labor, undercutting even lousy TA pay
One thing that I find horrifying is the idea that it's somehow old hat to have the persons actually working with students -- teachers/TAs -- give the feedback on their writing and someone a continent away who doesn't know the students or the class would do a better job.
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