Testing experts predict that machines eventually will help grade the SAT and the ACT, which will add writing sections in their 2005 college admissions tests, because computers cost less money and work faster than humans. Before technology entered the picture, teams of people graded each GMAT essay. Now one person's judgment is compared with the machine's conclusion.
"It is sort of inevitable," said Jeff Rubenstein, vice president for technology at the test-preparation company Princeton Review, "but it is also sort of regrettable." He said he knows test takers "who are brilliant writers, but they write very subtly," and when a machine is grading them, "they score terribly."