Article Content

The assessment of student writing is often viewed as a subjective pursuit that belies interrater reliability in nursing education. Although human assessment of a paragraph or paper may be inherently subjective, computer editing tools can be used to assess written works more objectively and consistently. Most document software is equipped with a grammar-checking function. There are also grammar-checking tools available online, such as Grammarly or Turnitin (the latter is a widely used tool for the detection of plagiarism). Although "awkward" is typically a subjective descriptor, the 2 tools have created algorithms to flag awkward passages as well as grammatical errors. In addition, Grammarly generates a numerical score to rate the quality of written work on a 100-point scale. A program such as Turnitin can be used to generate a similar objective rating, if numerical values are manually assigned and calculated during assessment. In using these software tools, student progress can be objectively tracked; however, software grammar checkers are not foolproof. They can miss some errors and flag perfectly acceptable sentences. As with all grading tools, instructor oversight is required.


Submitted by Miriam Bowers Abbott, MA, English Composition Instructor, Mount Carmel College of Nursing, 127 S Davis Ave, Columbus, OH 43222 ([email protected]).