6 Practice Activities For Reading Like A Robo-Grader: Become A Reading Detective

Alise Lamoreaux

Practicing reading like a Robo-grader will involve reading and analyzing 5 separate essays on different topics.  The essays to be read all come from the openly licensed collection 88 Open Essays.
.  The essays used will be:

  • #16 Misinformation and Biases Infect Social Media, Both Intentionally and Accidentally
  • #6 Tools and Tasks
  • # 39 The Dirt on Soil Loss from the Midwest Floods
  • # 10 How to Save The Middle Class
  • #57 How to Increase Your Chances of Sticking with Your Resolutions

There are many types of essays included in the “88 Open Essays”.  For the purposes of this activity, the essays selected will be of the argumentative or informative type, since those are the types of essays automated essay readers are most successful at reading.  They are also the types most likely to be used by the testing industry.

The activities associated with reading the essays will involve 2 parts.  The first part will focus on examining the essays from the level of word/sentence selection and usage, and looking at the sentences from the perspective of their individuality.  Examination of the texts for signpost, words’ cuing evidence, uniqueness of language, sentence structure, use of clauses, and looking for sentence frames will be part of this activity.  The second part of the activity will involve using the Toulmin Model of argument to analyze the components of the essay from that standpoint.  Finding the claim and assumption behind the claim, then determining the type of evidence being used to support the claim, finding qualifying words to show the degree of support for the claim presented, analyzing what a counter argument to the claim could be, and then analyzing for a potential rebuttal for the argument or information presented.

 

Misinformation and Biases Infect Social Media, Both Intentionally and Accidentally

By Giovanni Luas Ciampaglia and Filippo Menzer

Activity Part 1:

  1. Read the Misinformation and Biases Infect Social Media, Both Intentionally and Accidentally essay once through as a human reader would evaluate the essay. Make notes about any observation that you notice during your first read of the essay  Misinformation and Bias Infect Social Media
  2. After reading the essay, what words would you use to “tag” the essay? For example, #clickbait or #socialmedia.  Tags are like thinking about the “key words” or main points of the essay.
  3. Find the section of the essay titled, “Bias in the brain”. Estimate how many words that section of the essay involves.
  4. Next, using that same section, “Bias in the brain” re-write the section as individual sentences. Remove the punctuation.  Now read the section as a Robo-grader might see it.  Examine the word choices used by the author.  Look for stop words.  Are there any words that signpost the organization of the section? Were any sentence frames used by the authors?
  5. Does this section read differently to you when you look at in terms of individual sentences? Explain your response. Do any words change their meaning without punctuation?  Would a Robo-Grader notice the word meaning change?  Is punctuation necessary for a human reader to understand the sentence?
  6. Next, examine the entire essay for signposts, sentence structure, unique words, organization, and sentence frames, etc.
  7. What is your overall impression of this essay at the word/sentence level? Remember, AEG cannot evaluate content.

 

Activity Part 2: Examining the essay from the Toulmin Model

  1. What is the claim of the essay?
  2. What is an assumption (warrant) made by the authors of the essay?
  3. Examine the essay for the type of evidence used (pathos, ethos, logos, kairos, big names, testimony). List the evidence and supporting details you uncover.
  4. Were any qualifiers used to demonstrate a level of support for the claim?
  5. What could a counter argument be to this essay’s claim?

 

Bonus Activity:
Try to create a chart showing how the claim is connected to the assumption/warrant and the evidence.  There may be more than one warrant based on the evidence you find.

 

 

Tools and Tasks
By Anonymous

Activity Part 1:
Read the Tools and Tasks essay once through as a human reader would evaluate the essay.  Make notes about any observation that you notice during your first read of the essay  Tools and Tasks.

  1. After reading the essay, what words would you use to “tag” the essay? For example, #technology or #automotives.  Tags are like thinking about the “key words” or main points of the essay.
  2. Read paragraphs 1-5 of this essay and estimate how many words that section of the essay involves.
  3. Next, using the same paragraphs 1-5, re-write the section as individual sentences. Remove the punctuation and paragraphs. Now read the section as a Robo-grader might see it.  Examine the word choices used by the author.  Look for stop words.  Are there any words that signpost the organization of the section? Were any sentence frames used by the authors?
  4. Does this section read differently to you when you look at in terms of individual sentences? Explain your response.
  5. Do any words change their meaning without punctuation? Would a Robo-Grader notice the word meaning change? Is punctuation necessary for a human reader to understand the sentence?
  6. Next, examine the entire essay for signposts, sentence structure, unique words, organization, and sentence frames, etc.
  7. What is your overall impression of this essay at the word/sentence level? Remember, AEG cannot evaluate content.

 

Activity Part 2: Examining the essay from the Toulmin Model

  1. What is the claim of the essay?
  2. What is an assumption (warrant) made by the authors of the essay?
  3. Examine the essay for the type of evidence used (pathos, ethos, logos, kairos, big names, testimony). List the evidence and supporting details you uncover.
  4. Were any qualifiers used to demonstrate a level of support for the claim?
  5. What could a counter argument be to this essay’s claim?

 

Bonus Activity:
Try to create a chart showing how the claim is connected to the assumption/warrant and the evidence.  There may be more than one warrant based on the evidence you find.

 

 

The Dirt on Soil Loss from the Midwest Floods
By Jim Ippolito and Mahdi Al-Kaisi

Activity Part 1:
Read the Dirt on Soil Loss from Mid-west Floods essay once through as a human reader would evaluate the essay.  Make notes about any observation that you notice during your first read of the essay  The Dirt On Soil Loss From Midwest Floods.

  1. After reading the essay, what words would you use to “tag” the essay? For example, #floods or #soil.  Tags are like thinking about the “key words” or main points of the essay.
  2. Read paragraphs 1-5 of this essay and estimate how many words that section of the essay involves.
  3. Next, using the same paragraphs 1-5, re-write the section as individual sentences. Remove the punctuation and paragraphs. Now read the section as a Robo-grader might see it.  Examine the word choices used by the author.  Look for stop words.  Are there any words that signpost the organization of the section? Were any sentence frames used by the authors?
  4. Does this section read differently to you when you look at in terms of individual sentences? Explain your response.
  5. Do any words change their meaning without punctuation? Would a Robo-Grader notice the word meaning change? Is punctuation necessary for a human reader to understand the sentence?
  6. Next, examine the entire essay for signposts, sentence structure, unique words, organization, and sentence frames, etc.
  7. What is your overall impression of this essay at the word/sentence level? Remember, AEG cannot evaluate content.

 

Activity Part 2: Examining the essay from the Toulmin Model

  1. What is the claim of the essay?
  2. What is an assumption (warrant) made by the authors of the essay?
  3. Examine the essay for the type of evidence used (pathos, ethos, logos, kairos, big names, testimony). List the evidence and supporting details you uncover.
  4. Were any qualifiers use to demonstrate a level of support for the claim?
  5. What could a counter argument be to this essay’s claim?

 

Bonus Activity:
Try to create a chart showing how the claim is connected to the assumption/warrant and the evidence.  There may be more than one warrant based on the evidence you find.

 

 

How to Save the Middle Class When Jobs Don’t Pay
By Peter Barnes

Activity Part 1:
Read the How to Save the Middle Class When Jobs Don’t Pay essay once through as a human reader would evaluate the essay.  Make notes about any observation that you notice during your first read of the essay Essay How To Save The Middle Class When Jobs Don’t Pay

  1. After reading the essay, what words would you use to “tag” the essay?  For example, #middleclass or #personalfinance.  Tags are like thinking about the “key words” or main points of the essay.
  2. Read paragraphs 1-5 of this essay and estimate how many words that section of the essay involves.
  3. Next, using the same paragraphs 1-5, re-write the section as individual sentences. Remove the punctuation and paragraphs. Now read the section as a Robo-grader might see it.  Examine the word choices used by the author.  Look for stop words.  Are there any words that signpost the organization of the section? Were any sentence frames used by the authors?
  4. Does this section read differently to you when you look at in terms of individual sentences? Explain your response.
  5. Do any words change their meaning without punctuation? Would a Robo-Grader notice the word meaning change? Is punctuation necessary for a human reader to understand the sentence?
  6. Next, examine the entire essay for signposts, sentence structure, unique words, organization, and sentence frames, etc.
  7. What is your overall impression of this essay at the word/sentence level? Remember, AEG cannot evaluate content.

 

Activity Part 2: Examining the essay from the Toulmin Model

  1. What is the claim of the essay?
  2. What is an assumption (warrant) made by the authors of the essay?
  3. Examine the essay for the type of evidence used (pathos, ethos, logos, kairos, big names, testimony). List the evidence and supporting details you uncover.
  4. Were any qualifiers used to demonstrate a level of support for the claim?
  5. What could a counter argument be to this essay’s claim?

 

Bonus Activity:
Try to create a chart showing how the claim is connected to the assumption/warrant and the evidence.  There may be more than one warrant based on the evidence you find.

 

 

 

How to Increase Your Chances of Sticking with Your Resolutions
By Camilla Nonteerah

Activity Part 1:
Read the How to Increase Your Chances of Sticking with Your Resolutions essay once through as a human reader would evaluate the essay.  Make notes about any observation that you notice during your first read of the essay  Increase Your Chances of Sticking to Your Resolutions

  1. After reading the essay, what words would you use to “tag” the essay?  For example, #resolutions or #advice.  Tags are like thinking about the “key words” or main points of the essay.
  2. Read paragraphs 1-4 of this essay and estimate how many words that section of the essay involves.
  3. Next, using the same paragraphs 1-4, re-write the section as individual sentences. Remove the punctuation and paragraphs. Now read the section as a Robo-grader might see it.  Examine the word choices used by the author.  Look for stop words.  Are there any words that signpost the organization of the section? Were any sentence frames used by the authors?
  4. Does this section read differently to you when you look at in terms of individual sentences? Explain your response.
  5. Do any words change their meaning without punctuation? Would a Robo-Grader notice the word meaning change? Is punctuation necessary for a human reader to understand the sentence?
  6. Next, examine the entire essay for signposts, sentence structure, unique words, organization, and sentence frames, etc.
  7. What is your overall impression of this essay at the word/sentence level? Remember, AEG cannot evaluate content.

 

Activity Part 2: Examining the essay from the Toulmin Model

  1. What is the claim of the essay?
  2. What is an assumption (warrant) made by the authors of the essay?
  3. Examine the essay for the type of evidence used (pathos, ethos, logos, kairos, big names, testimony). List the evidence and supporting details you uncover.
  4. Were any qualifiers use to demonstrate a level of support for the claim?
  5. What could a counter argument be to this essay’s claim?

 

Bonus Activity:
Try to create a chart showing how the claim is connected to the assumption/warrant and the evidence.  There may be more than one warrant based on the evidence you find.