In the early 2000’s, IAT pioneered computerised marking of short-answer free-text questions. We developed proprietary technology which employs state-of-the-art natural language tools to intelligently mark free-form text answers (i.e. consisting of one or more English language sentences) against a free-form text mark scheme. The software is modelled on the way teachers mark, and includes a number of modules specifically developed to increase the robustness of marking when faced with errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Computerised marking of short-answer free-text questions is a specialist area, providing a more realistic test of knowledge than multiple choice questions. However it takes significantly more time to create and moderate an automatically marked short answer question that a multiple choice question. They are therefore most suitable for assessments where there are large numbers of candidates, and questions in the question bank can be re-used in subsequent years. You can read more about the technology here.