Centre for Operational Research and Logistics

Events and Seminars

Research Seminar

Text processing experiments to assist with the assessment of written postgraduate assigments

This presentation describes problems, solutions and approaches encountered when automating the assessment of postgraduate assignments using text processing techniques based on computational linguistics approaches. The research is motivated by three practical considerations: increasing numbers of postgraduate students but with the same fixed marking period; the submission of assignments through TurnItIn to give electronic access to submitted assignments; and the opportunity to increase consistency in the evaluation of student work. The goal is not to replace human marking, but to assist in the detailed checking of structural issues in postgraduate student work, allowing human assessors to focus on evaluating the creative aspects of assignments. The approach taken is to repeatedly decompose the postgraduate assessment criteria to identify specific conditions, then classify these into structural assessment issues that have the potential to be automated, and creative assessment issues requiring human judgement for effective evaluation. For structural assessment issues, text processing techniques are applied to determine to what extent can these issues be automated, for example, the the development and application of a grammar to evaluate the accurate referencing to a standard format criteria; the application of readability metrics suitable for postgraduate work to evaluate lucid and accurate use of language criteria; and frame based systems to evaluate the structural coherence of an assignment. Creative assessment issues, such as evaluating the effective use of evidence or the appropriate use of theory, are not directly addressed at this stage but potential approaches are identified as areas for future investigation in this area for instance identifying an argument structure to highlight areas for a human marker to evaluate the application of critical abilities.

Biography: Dr Andrew Lee is a Senior Lecturer at Portsmouth Business School. His teaching focus is on organisational risk, project systems and methods, and research methods at postgraduate level. His background is in computer science with a degree in computing science and a PhD in computational linguistics. Publications in this area have included familiarity in knowledge synchronisation, identifying implicit intent and autonomic computing systems. Following an MBA from the University of Portsmouth, research interests have expanded to include ideology and political violence.


Dr Andrew Lee, Portsmouth Business School, University of Portsmouth


Dennis Sciama Building, Room 1.04

Date and Time

Wed, 11 Mar 2015, 13:15 - 15:00 (BST)

For further information or any enquiries please contact our event co-ordinator, Jana Ries, at corl@port.ac.uk