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posted by hubie on Monday March 11, @03:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the complaints-department-5000-miles-> dept.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2024/03/some-teachers-are-now-using-chatgpt-to-grade-papers/

In a notable shift toward sanctioned use of AI in schools, some educators in grades 3–12 are now using a ChatGPT-powered grading tool called Writable, reports Axios. The tool, acquired last summer by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is designed to streamline the grading process, potentially offering time-saving benefits for teachers. But is it a good idea to outsource critical feedback to a machine?
[...]
"Make feedback more actionable with AI suggestions delivered to teachers as the writing happens," Writable promises on its AI website. "Target specific areas for improvement with powerful, rubric-aligned comments, and save grading time with AI-generated draft scores." The service also provides AI-written writing-prompt suggestions: "Input any topic and instantly receive unique prompts that engage students and are tailored to your classroom needs."
[...]
The reliance on AI for grading will likely have drawbacks. Automated grading might encourage some educators to take shortcuts, diminishing the value of personalized feedback. Over time, the augmentation from AI may allow teachers to be less familiar with the material they are teaching. The use of cloud-based AI tools may have privacy implications for teachers and students. Also, ChatGPT isn't a perfect analyst. It can get things wrong and potentially confabulate (make up) false information, possibly misinterpret a student's work, or provide erroneous information in lesson plans.
[...]
there's a divide among parents regarding the use of AI in evaluating students' academic performance. A recent poll of parents revealed mixed opinions, with nearly half of the respondents open to the idea of AI-assisted grading.

As the generative AI craze permeates every space, it's no surprise that Writable isn't the only AI-powered grading tool on the market. Others include Crowdmark, Gradescope, and EssayGrader. McGraw Hill is reportedly developing similar technology aimed at enhancing teacher assessment and feedback.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Monday March 11, @03:58PM (26 children)

    by Freeman (732) on Monday March 11, @03:58PM (#1348256) Journal

    Adults like to be lazy too. Teachers are no exception to the rule. Still, this seems like a bridge too far. The students are required to do the work. Assuming you do use a tool for grading. Please make sure it's a lot more reliable than the likes of ChatGPT.

    --
    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Monday March 11, @06:05PM (3 children)

    by tangomargarine (667) on Monday March 11, @06:05PM (#1348275)

    Adults like to be lazy too. Teachers are no exception to the rule. Still, this seems like a bridge too far. The students are required to do the work.

    If the teacher isn't grading it themself, why should the student be required to write it themself? An actual reason, not "because I said so".

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday March 11, @08:20PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday March 11, @08:20PM (#1348302) Journal

      The teacher or a teacher's aide should be grading it themselves. Though with the likes of standardized tests, the answer is that there's already a system in place for grading. Probably an extremely awful one. Kids still manage to learn, despite the systems best efforts, though.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Tuesday March 12, @09:38AM (1 child)

      by acid andy (1683) on Tuesday March 12, @09:38AM (#1348386) Homepage Journal

      Exactly. It's do as I say, not as I do. It sets a terrible example and will make it look like the teachers are too dumb to understand their own course material, IMNSHO.

      --
      Consumerism is poison.
      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Tuesday March 12, @02:28PM

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 12, @02:28PM (#1348409) Homepage Journal

        Teachers may indeed be too dumb to understand their own course material.
        There's a lot of variation in ability among teachers.
        Especially math teachers often do not understand mathematics, perhaps because long ago *their* teachers didn't either. Or because they're really literature teachers pressed into service in math because of a math teacher shortage.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mcgrew on Monday March 11, @06:07PM (11 children)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday March 11, @06:07PM (#1348276) Homepage Journal

    Lazy, my ass. Teachers are overworked and underpaid, at least American public school teachers. ChatGPT shouldn't be used in a college setting, but primary and high school grades, why not take some of the burden off of that poor, overworked soul?

    --
    mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Freeman on Monday March 11, @08:00PM (2 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Monday March 11, @08:00PM (#1348297) Journal

      I get that a lot of teachers are overworked and underpaid. Introducing a wildly inaccurate tool to do a job that can permanently affect young kids, sounds like a bad idea. Teachers have teacher's aides for a reason. When you note that doing things X way are hard and it's taking too long. Using a wildly inaccurate tool to get the job "done" isn't going to make things better.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by aafcac on Monday March 11, @10:12PM

        by aafcac (17646) on Monday March 11, @10:12PM (#1348325)

        Yes, the solution to the problem isn't using an ML tool that may have unknown issues. It reminds me of the ML program that rated rulers as a risk factor for cancer because it appeared in so many photos that turned out to be of skin cancers.

        I remember decades ago being warned not to let Bill Gates correct my work. Spelling and grammar checks at the time were rather primitive, but the situation hasn't necessarily improved enough to even consider using ML for this.

        That being said, not every teacher gets an aid, but there are other ways of getting students timely feedback other than farming it out to ML. Things like peer review and discussing each other's work can be just as effective when done properly as grading the paper.

      • (Score: 5, Touché) by acid andy on Tuesday March 12, @09:35AM

        by acid andy (1683) on Tuesday March 12, @09:35AM (#1348385) Homepage Journal

        Well I guess the kids will learn early that the system is highly unjust and to be highly critical of anything someone in authority tells you. At least, the ones smart enough to notice will. Seems like a better lesson than the regular programming.

        --
        Consumerism is poison.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Reziac on Tuesday March 12, @03:05AM (7 children)

      by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 12, @03:05AM (#1348358) Homepage

      What is your definition of overworked and underpaid? Serious question. Because while I don't claim to know what's fair, I'm tired of "overworked and underpaid" being stated with no attached evidence.

      Should they be paid for results, like everyone else who is supposed to produce a product (in this case an educated child)??

      I recently had cause to look up teacher salaries in California (admittedly an expensive place to live, but not THAT much more than everywhere else -- having lived both there and here, the diff is about 20%) and it was running around $100k/year, for 9 working months.

      In many systems the number of administrators has exploded. When I was in school the ratio of teachers to admin was about 50:1; last I looked in CA it was 4:1. How may of those do real work, why are they paid as much as $600k/year, and how much more of that money should be going to teachers? (And however did we get along without so much admin until relatively recently??)

      --
      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Common Joe on Tuesday March 12, @03:21AM (2 children)

        What is your definition of overworked and underpaid?

        Valid question which I won't answer in details because it's pretty much a cliche that 90+% of the population is overworked and underpaid. However, I will say my friend works three jobs to make ends meet, and only one of those jobs is teacher. To me, that is the epitome of overworked and underpaid.

        Your point about administrators is spot on, though. We are too top heavy. In fact, I rather believe a large part of all of our problems (not just education) is simply because of bureaucratic incompetence and chaos.

        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Tuesday March 12, @03:29AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 12, @03:29AM (#1348367) Homepage

          "I rather believe a large part of all of our problems (not just education) is simply because of bureaucratic incompetence and chaos."

          There ya go. Bureaucracy has become Junk Fills the Space Allotted. And they're doing the allotting.

          Pournelle's Iron Law in action.

          --
          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday March 12, @02:26PM

          by Freeman (732) on Tuesday March 12, @02:26PM (#1348408) Journal

          How are you supposed to be able to hold a job while incompetent without a little (or a lot) of chaos?

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by VLM on Tuesday March 12, @07:48PM (1 child)

        by VLM (445) on Tuesday March 12, @07:48PM (#1348446)

        last I looked in CA it was 4:1

        You're pretty far behind the times. Here's a nice federal website

        https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/districtsearch/ [ed.gov]

        I live in a civilized area, aka far away from the coasts. The school district my kids attended has approx 800 licensed teachers, oddly more secondary than elementary although not by much (I always thought when I was a kid secondary had larger classes than primary, but they have more secondary teachers total than primary, weird). The "Other Staff" is 650 FTE so your ratio is rapidly nearing 1:1 now. About 125 are instructional aides making about $11/hr. That has a high paying pyramid of supervisors of course (they don't directly report to teachers, they have 15 supervisors for the 125 aides to report to). There's about two dozen guidance counselors, they do approximately nothing AFAIK. Roughly one psych and one librarian per building and 0.5 assistant librarians per building (Used to have three minimum wage assistants per secondary library when I was a kid and people still read books; not entirely clear what the library does in this era of all kids having an iPad...) Each building has roughly one district level admin, two district level admin support, two local admins (principals and asst principals) and two local admin support (school secretary type ladies). About 250 are in support services which includes everyone from janitors to groundskeepers to lunch ladies, essentially the blue collar people who make the school "go" but do not teach or "administer".

        Schools in my state contract out for bus service but have W2 employee lunch ladies, it seems every district in the country is randomly different so ratios will vary a little.

        I would hazard a guess that employment patterns aside from firing two library aides per school has not changed since I attended gen-x schools, but allocation has changed such that lunch ladies, teachers aides, and janitors are now budgeted as admin staff, resulting in the new era of roughly 1:1 ratio of licensed classroom teachers vs admin staff.

        Note that the two fired library aides make $18.48 today per an independent Google search. So, more than McDonalds, but less than Panda Express that pays $25/hr. And $18.48 sounds bad but it comes with benefits in this district. Bus drivers make $22.50 no bennies off an independent-ish contractor and it's kind of an indentured servant or slavery scam where they pay for 'free' CDL but you are their slave if you don't work for more than, I believe, two years at $22.50, I am told they "claim" the CDL training is worth $15K or something like that if you want to quit early. Your typical CDL makes $35/hr in my town according to Google (not max or min, average) so essentially all bus drivers quit every other year. They're having severe bus staffing problems in this district. If they just paid $35 they wouldn't have staffing and training problems, but the usual penny wise pound foolish stuff...

        In my district the feds provide pocket change, state income tax provides about 40% and local property tax provides about 60% of funding. They pay about $17K per student per year, which isn't that much compared to college tuition (and this includes lunch which somehow costs damn near $2K/kid/year AFTER the parents partial pay for lunch) As a point of comparison in my district they spend about the same amount per year per kid on capex (mostly construction) as they do on 'non-instructional support and admin'

        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday March 13, @01:14AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday March 13, @01:14AM (#1348483) Homepage

          Behind, indeed (probably been ten years since I looked). I knew some universities had more administrators than professors, but didn't know the infection had penetrated down to lowly public schools!

          I expect a good half of the staff bloat is trying to keep up with Dept of Edu BS... how about we abolish that and see how it goes??

          --
          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday March 14, @08:22PM (1 child)

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday March 14, @08:22PM (#1348796) Homepage Journal

        Overworked is spending eight hours on the job, six teaching classes and two performing other duties, then spending a few hours at home grading papers. Underpaid? What other profession requiring a bachelor's degree pays so little? Before Carrie was published, Stephen King was a high school English teacher whose wife worked in a laundromat. This was around 1970 when one paycheck usually raised a family. They lived in a house trailer and drove an old junker and couldn't afford a telephone. Citation: two of his books, On Writing and Secret Windows.

        That's typical, and it's being underpaid.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday March 14, @08:46PM

          by Reziac (2489) on Thursday March 14, @08:46PM (#1348806) Homepage

          Consider: if teachers didn't assign so much homework, there wouldn't be so much to grade.

          There's the problem my friend ran into with his sixth grader -- six hours of homework every damn day, because every teacher assigned it like theirs was the kid's only class. That's nuts, and it doesn't teach, it just exhausts everyone.

          When I was in school, we had little to no homework until high school (none of any sort before 7th grade) and not much then. One page worth for about half our classes was a typical high school day. And we were demonstrably better-educated than what comes out of schools today.

          As I said I don't claim to know what's fair. But seems to me they're making their own beds here. If you don't want six hours of grading after hours, don't assign so damned much makework.

          As to degrees vs...
          https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/average-salary-for-college-graduates [indeed.com]

          CA average teacher's salary, when I looked it up a couple years ago, was $100k/yr.

          And I'm sure the union looks out for their best interests. /sarc

          --
          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by looorg on Monday March 11, @06:28PM (4 children)

    by looorg (578) on Monday March 11, @06:28PM (#1348283)

    Teachers use ChatGPT to create the assignments, the students use ChatGPT so "solve" the assignments, teachers use ChatGPT to grade the assignments. Why not just cut out the teachers and the students, seems to me that it's ChatGPT doing all the "work". In some regard students and teachers have become involuntary, unpaid, beta testers or for ChatGPT.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Opportunist on Monday March 11, @07:08PM (2 children)

      by Opportunist (5545) on Monday March 11, @07:08PM (#1348288)

      Hmm... if you cut out teachers and kids, all that remains is ChatGPT, with no humans required in the whole process.

      It's nice to see our schools finally get back to teaching closer to real life reality.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday March 12, @07:56PM (1 child)

        by VLM (445) on Tuesday March 12, @07:56PM (#1348447)

        all that remains is ChatGPT, with no humans required in the whole process

        This is Dead Internet Theory in a nutshell. Most of the internet is bots paid for by various corporations and governments trying to shill to ever fewer actual humans.

        I think "mass internet" will never go away as its too convenient to pay your electric bill, etc, but I think we're already at the point where social media and advertising as a business model already involves remarkably few humans. Certainly not the 100% human that was the rule in the early 2000s or late 1990s.

        Dead Internet will be the next dotcom-style collapse, when everyone realizes most of legacy social media is not human so why bother funding it?

        • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Wednesday March 13, @01:29PM

          by Opportunist (5545) on Wednesday March 13, @01:29PM (#1348541)

          Bots are working for both sides now. And probably even sold by the same bot herders. Bots work as astroturfers, pretending to be real people telling you just how awesome products are, and they are employed by social media companies, pretending to be real people watching the ads that are being shown on those social media sites. Add some more bots employed by people who get free goodies out of "watching" ads like some bonus points in the "free" game they play and you realize that advertising is mostly done by bots and mostly consumed by bots.

          I think you're dead on here, the whole house of cards will come crashing down as soon as companies paying for these ads realize that the bots they use to peddle them are also the only ones really watching them.

    • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Monday March 11, @09:53PM

      by Mykl (1112) on Monday March 11, @09:53PM (#1348320)

      I, for one, look forward to welcoming our WALL-E overlords.

  • (Score: 5, Touché) by epitaxial on Monday March 11, @07:13PM (4 children)

    by epitaxial (3165) on Monday March 11, @07:13PM (#1348290)

    Almost as if teaching is a difficult career and they should be better compensated.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by darkfeline on Monday March 11, @07:36PM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Monday March 11, @07:36PM (#1348293) Homepage

      Teaching well is difficult, which is why most teachers do not meet the qualifications. High quality private schools pay a lot, but the teachers also work harder (and smarter; no point working harder if you don't produce results) and can be fired; "lay back and relax" tenure/union does not exist.

      Honestly, ChatGPT would probably do better or at least neutral compared to the average teacher.

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday March 11, @08:16PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday March 11, @08:16PM (#1348301) Journal

      Very much this!

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by anubi on Tuesday March 12, @02:11AM (1 child)

      by anubi (2828) on Tuesday March 12, @02:11AM (#1348350) Journal

      My brother taught science to Jr. High school students for years. For a long time, he considered himself successful if he could ignite a curiosity in his students to seek out how things work. It's how I was taught too.

      He was ordered to teach to standardized tests.

      The classroom became hell. For both him and his students. He knew the students would have been better off if he was just there for them. He was there to show them how stuff works. Demonstrated by fixing things. Sure, he would go onto the math of it a little...and discuss what "sciencey" words are used to describe our world.

      He would go out of his way to tailor his class to discuss things the kids brought up, even if out of sequence. A class question on dead car batteries would result in the students being shown generators, batteries, motors, use of measuring instruments. He was trying to prepare them for the real world they would encounter. Like why a bad connection at the battery would heat up, or the lights go dim on a car when starting it. He did not want Science to be boring.

      I thoroughly understood. I absolutely HATED English Literature in High School. I'd much rather fix a car. The English Teacher couldn't fix a car, so why is her taking it to a mechanic not considered cheating, but my seeking answers from others considered such?

      My brother quit teaching. He was not going to ruin a bunch of kids teaching them to hate science. If they ran PE that way, only the sports people would graduate, everyone else condemned to a life of filling out welfare forms.

      The "cancer" of craftsmanship seems to have ignited in the '70s and '80s as hordes of new graduates sporting "leadership" credentials entered the workforce, slowly but surely displacing the "manufacturing" raw engineering talent. Things became profit-centered on a quarterly timeframe. Lay off artisans. Hire more marketeers. Outsource. Arrange for others to do the work ( and acquire the experience of making the product ) on a Global scale. It's all in Cash Flow, Time to Market, and Cutting Corners.

      We used to make things for the world. Now we have become a parasite, just owning stuff and seeking rents. We seem to throw away everything our ancestors built, thinking the World owes us a comfortable lifestyle. I await our realization that it doesn't.

      I don't think people realize how important good teachers are. Just as we fail to realize how valuable any good craftsman is. We are so concerned with credentials. People who have finally found a good mechanic will know exactly what I am trying to say.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Reziac on Tuesday March 12, @03:14AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 12, @03:14AM (#1348361) Homepage

        I had wonderful teachers all through school. I only had one I remember as "bad" and in hindsight, he was probably just 1800s-style old-fashioned, with more of a deep passion for history than anyone can impart to 8th graders.

        But I was in school before all the nonsense of teaching to the test.

        If the test says you've learned something, but you patently do not know the subject, then the test is wrong.

        [Also, +1M Most Insightful Of The Day.]

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.