Les Perelman retired in 2012 from twenty-six years of teaching and administration at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, serving as an Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Director of Writing Across the Curriculum. He is still active in scholarship and professional organizations, having recently served on the Executive Committee of Conference on College Composition and Communication and has co-chaired its Committee on Assessment.
Les has spent the past twelve years actively researching writing assessments at the primary, secondary, and university levels. His particular interest is determining the validity of Automated Essay Scoring (AES) AKA Robo-Grading for both large-scale assessments and as part of classroom instruction. He has acquired an international reputation in this field and has been interviewed on radio, television, and the press frequently in the United States as well as in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Les has consulted with schools, universities, teachers unions, and other educational bodies, both in the United States and elsewhere, on program evaluation, writing assessment, and curriculum design.
Recently, Les has been involved in efforts to reform Australia’s national primary and secondary school assessments, NAPLAN. His work was a major factor in the decision of the National Education Council to overrule the Federal Education Minister and prevent the use of Automated Essay Scoring for the NAPLAN tests.
In July 2019, Les received the Champion of Public Education award from the New South Wales Teachers Federation for his work in debunking the writing portion of the Australian national K-12 educational assessment.
The award is not given out every year but only to non-members of the Teachers Federation who:
-Made a significant contribution to Federation campaigns in support of public education
-Closely collaborated with Federation members in support of the union’s campaigns
-Provided support, advice. and research to Federation in support of campaigns
-Used a public profile to protect, defend, and advance the cause of public education.
Here is the acceptance speech