Can Diagrams Predict Essay Grades?

Collin F. Lynch, Kevin D. Ashley, Min Chi

Diagrammatic models of argument have grown in prominence in recent years. While they have been applied in a number of tutoring contexts, it has not yet been shown that student-produced diagrams can be used to effectively grade students or predict their future performance. We show that manually-assigned diagram grades and automatic structural features of argument diagrams can be used to predict students’ future essay grades, thus supporting the use of argument diagrams for instruction. We also show that the automatic features are competitive with expert human grading despite the fact that semantic content was ignored in automatic processing.

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