Automated Essay Scoring

MI’s industry-leading automated essay scoring system is able to automatically score a variety of constructed response items and can work with any number of predefined score-point ranges and rubric definitions. PEG® is currently being used to provide scores in both summative assessments and formative assessments.

Project Essay Grade (PEG®)

Since its acquisition of the legacy PEG system from Dr. Ellis Batten Page and his associates in 2002, MI has been an active force in AI scoring, also known as automated essay scoring. PEG is the industry's most researched AI system and has been used by MI to provide over two million scores to students over the past five years. PEG is currently being used by one state as the sole scoring method on the state summative writing assessment, and we have conducted pilot studies with three other states. In addition, PEG is currently being used in 1,000 schools and 3,000 public libraries as a formative assessment tool. Using advanced, proven statistical techniques, PEG analyzes written prose, calculates more than 300 measures that reflect the intrinsic characteristics of writing (fluency, diction, grammar, construction, etc.), and achieves results that are comparable to the human scorers in terms of reliability and validity.

Student writing responses are scored by MI’s automated essay scoring engine, Project Essay Grade (PEG®).  Since acquiring the PEG technology from Dr. Ellis Batten Page in 2003, MI has focused on incorporating the latest advances in natural language processing, semantic and syntactic analysis, and classification methods to produce a state-of-the art automated scoring engine. Today’s PEG software delivers valid and reliable scoring that is unrivaled in the industry.

As with most automated scoring software, PEG utilizes a set of human-scored training essays to build a model with which to assess the writing of unscored essays. Using advanced statistical techniques, PEG analyzes the training essays and calculates more than 500 features that reflect the intrinsic characteristics of writing, such as fluency, diction, grammar, and construction. Once the features have been calculated, PEG uses them to build statistical and linguistic models for the accurate prediction of essay scores. MI enhances scoring accuracy by using extensive custom dictionaries and word lists, producing results that are comparable to MI’s well-trained and expert human readers.

For more information about Project Essay Grade (PEG), please contact us at

MI’s scoring engine has been used to provide over three million scores to students in formative and summative writing assessments over the past six years. Our results have been validated in independent third party studies and in research that we have conducted on behalf of our clients. In 2012, MI achieved the highest agreement index of the nine vendors participating in the Automated Scoring Assessment Prize (ASAP) competition sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation.

PEG Writing®

PEG Writing® is a web-based learning environment and formative assessment system that allows students to improve their writing through frequent practice and guided instructional support. Available anywhere, on any device, PEG Writing combines more opportunities to write with immediate scoring and feedback to help students develop effective writing skills. Student writing is instantly evaluated by MI’s award-winning automated scoring technology, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By streamlining the grading process, PEG Writing makes it easier for teachers to focus more on developing learning strategies and interacting with students. 

An Anytime/Anywhere Writing Practice Tool for Students

PEG Writing promotes writing improvement while engaging students’ interest. PEG Writing enables students to:

  • Submit responses to stimulating grade-appropriate prompts at school or at home, 24/7.
  • Instantly receive scores aligned to six traits of effective writing.
  • Receive immediate, meaningful diagnostic feedback, along with recommended activities designed to help students improve their scores.
  • Explore a variety of instructional tools such as graphic organizers and engaging, interactive tutorials.
  • Chart their own progress toward grade-level proficiency through student portfolios.
  • Utilize peer review to exchange feedback with their classmates.
  • Customize their usage experience with accessibilty options, including adaptable font size, background color, and highlighting.

A Teacher’s Classroom Partner

Because PEG Writing provides students feedback on the Six Traits of Writing with every draft, as well as tracking each student’s progress, it allows teachers to focus on instruction, gearing it to individual needs. Teachers can also:

  • Choose from a variety of pre-packaged writing prompts with stimulus material for a variety of content areas.
  • Create custom prompts, with or without stimulus material, aligned to classroom instructional units.
  • Assign tutorial exercises based on classroom instructional units or individual student needs.
  • Add personalized direct feedback through “electronic sticky notes” or the text/chat feature.
  • Give students practice in giving and receiving peer feedback using the peer editing tool.
  • Score student essays on content and text evidence.
  • Track student progress on an individual or class basis and report proficiency on the traits or across demographic groups.
  • Manage student enrollment and monitor student use of the instructional supports. 
  • Assign lessons to encourage even more individualized, targeted practice.
  • Differentiate learning for each student through prompt recommendations, grade level scoring options, and personalized feedback.


For more information about PEG Writing, please contact us at

PEG Writing Scholar

PEG Writing Scholar is a cloud-based formative assessment practice writing tool for higher education that allows students to submit an essay and get immediate feedback based on the Six Traits of Writing. Available anytime, anywhere, PEG Writing Scholar provides instant, accurate feedback on submitted essays, enabling students to take ownership of the writing process.

PEG Writing Scholar is designed to help adult learners focus on writing development that applies to all topics and genres of college- and career-level writing. 

  • Peer review enhances collaboration among student writers.
  • Graphic organizers, automatic and manual feedback options, and interactive tutorials provide support to students in all steps of the writing process.
  • Prepackaged prompts can be used as benchmarks to gauge student writing levels. Custom prompts can be developed and enhanced with course-appropriate readings and multimedia stimulus material.
  • Revision opportunities allow students to work independently on essay drafts and improve their writing before they ever turn it in to their instructors.

Research has shown that almost a third of entry-level college students are not ready for college-level writing. PEG Writing Scholar can help them reach a higher level of writing proficiency.


For more information about PEG Writing Scholar, please contact us at

Many of the elements of PEG Writing® can be tailored to meet client specific needs. MI has developed several state-specific programs that incorporate the central features and elements of PEG Writing. Although the included prompts and the scoring rubrics may have been modified to meet state-specific needs, these state-specific programs comprise the core features of PEG Writing, thereby meeting more focused requirements, while still including those elements that set PEG Writing apart from other, similar programs.

Utah Compose

Utah Compose  is another “state-branded” online formative writing assessment program created by MI. Utah is provided free of charge at the fifth- and eighth-grade levels to all Utah public schools through a contract with the Utah State Office of Education, and  local districts and schools may opt to purchase access to prompts and activities for all other grades from 3-12.   The Utah Compose system provides teachers and students password-protected access to an easy-to-use, web-based program, complete with video guides, that is available at all times. Students can engage in unlimited writing practice opportunities with immediate automated scoring feedback, follow grade-appropriate tutorials, and participate in relevant learning exercises. Teachers can administer as many writing prompts of varying genres as they like, using any of the over 300 prepackaged prompts, many with stimulus material, or generate their own prompts. Teachers can also upload additional stimulus materials, such as reading passages, website links, and images to their custom prompts, to help students practice research skills and the use of textual evidence in their writing.

MI’s automated scoring engine, PEG, can immediately score essays of any length and on any topic.  These scores are based on the Six Traits of Writing: development of ideas, organization, style, word choice, sentence structure, and conventions, and specific feedback based on each individual score. Students also are directed to lessons tied to the traits to help them improve their scores.  These interactive animated tutorials can also be assigned by the teacher to individual students, groups, or whole classes for review and intervention.   Exemplar essays are also available for students to use as guides in improving their writing. Student work is kept in electronic portfolios, which, in addition to progress and proficiency reports, allow teachers to track individual student and classroom-level progress and encourage students to be advocates for their own learning.


For more information about Utah Compose, please contact us at