Les Perelman

Les Perelman is an internationally recognised expert in writing assessment and the application of technologies to assess writing. He has written opinion pieces for The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers. Dr. Perelman has been interviewed on television by ABC, MSNBC, and NHK Japan Public Television and interviewed on radio by National Public Radio, various NPR local stations, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The President of the College Board has credited Dr. Perelman’s research as a major factor in his decision to remove and replace the Writing Section of the SAT. Dr. Perelman is a well-known critic of Automated Essay Scoring. To demonstrate the inability of Robo-graders to differentiate writing from gibberish, he and three undergraduates developed the BABEL Generator, which produces verbose and pretentious nonsense that consistently receives high marks from AES machines.

Dr. Perelman received his B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts.

After a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in Rhetoric and Linguistics at the University of Southern California, Dr. Perelman moved to Tulane University where he served as an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Linguistics, and Writing; Director of First-Year Writing; Director of the Writing Center; and a Member of the Graduate Faculty.

For the next twenty-five years Dr. Perelman was Director of Writing Across the Curriculum in Comparative Media Studies/Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as an Associate Dean in the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education. He was Project Director and co-Principal Investigator for a grant to MIT from the National Science Foundation to develop a model Communication-Intensive Undergraduate Program in Science and Engineering. He served as Principal Investigator for the development of the iMOAT Online Assessment Tool funded by the MIT/Microsoft iCampus Alliance.

Dr. Perelman has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the post-secondary organisation of the National Council of Teachers of English, and co-chaired the Committee on the Assessment of Writing. He is currently a member of the editorial board of Assessing Writing.

Dr. Perelman has been a consultant to over twenty colleges and universities on the assessment of writing, program evaluation, and writing-across-the-curriculum. Dr. Perelman has served as a consultant for writing program assessment and development for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education and for the Modern Language Association. In 2012–2013, he served as a consultant to Harvard College and as co-principal investigator in a major two-year study assessing the writing abilities of undergraduates at the college.

Dr. Perelman co-edited the volume Writing Assessment in the 21st Century and he is the primary author of the first web-based technical writing handbook, The Mayfield Handbook of Technical and Scientific Writing. He has published articles on writing assessment, technical communication, computers and writing, the history of rhetoric, sociolinguistic theory, and medieval literature, and he co-edited The Middle English Letter of Alexander to Aristotle.