Some students at the University of Houston now have their papers graded overseas. A growing number of US colleges and universities have begun to outsource their grading to Virtual-TA, a grading service provided by the Virginia-based company EduMetry established in 2005.
With graders in India, Singapore, and Malaysia, as well as the United States and other locations, Virtual-TA turns papers around within three to four days of submission with electronic feedback, based on a rubric provided by professors. Dubbed “Your expert teaching assistants” by the company slogan, Virtual-TA graders, or “assessors,” as they’re called, all hold at least Master’s degrees.
The company—and the professors who use it—contest that it frees faculty up to focus on their teaching and their research, without overburdening inexperienced grad students. Its detractors highlight the graders’ absence from class discussions as a problem, while also arguing that the cost of the service could be better spent hiring more teaching assistants.
The average cost of Virtual-TA—though variable depending on the nature of the assignment—is $12 per student per assignment.
By Jonathan Dec, staff writer for News