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

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: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 12, @02:36AM (3 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday March 12, @02:36AM (#1348354)

    It's not universal, but there are studies [] out there suggesting that testing is a demotivator. What's certainly true is that testing means that the kid is learning whatever the test says is important, rather than what might actually be critical or exciting for that student.

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
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  • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Tuesday March 12, @02:55AM (1 child)

    by Mykl (1112) on Tuesday March 12, @02:55AM (#1348356)

    Let's say that we want to do away with testing as it de-motivates. How else do we determine whether a child has learned what they need to know? Any sort of exercise that checks that they have learned something is in effect a test.

    I don't think you are saying that we should abandon all checks to confirm that kids know what they need to know. But what is the alternative?

    Specific scenarios: Qualifying as an Engineer. Being a surf lifesaver. Obtaining a drivers license. Earning an academic scholarship to a prestigious school

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 12, @11:57AM

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday March 12, @11:57AM (#1348392)

      There was a time not that long ago when all of this stuff was extremely informal. As in, your teacher would evaluate your work as a whole and at some point tell you you were ready for the next class or next level of work. For university degrees, that would probably be a council of all the faculty in the subject you were studying who would decide to grant you a degree (or not). Letter grades and later numeric grading were experimented with in the 1800's and only became widely adopted in the early 1900's, and then as now the primary purpose was to figure out things like who got their tuition paid for and who had to chip in money that they might not have to get an education. So more-or-less coinciding with the Industrial Revolution, and more-or-less attempting to apply industrial factory thinking to the process of learning because standardization was considered the most important thing.

      Final exams were apparently an earlier phenomenon, and I don't think we should get away from, say, professional licensure exams that exist today. But I do think that learning is one of those areas where trying to reduce everything to conveniently spreadsheetable metrics is at best unhelpful and at worst counterproductive. The fact is that if you handed a good teacher a list of students in their class(es) and asked them to rank their understanding of the material from "grokked it" to "complete know-nothing", they all could do so without needing to look at test scores.

      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by anubi on Tuesday March 12, @02:57AM

    by anubi (2828) on Tuesday March 12, @02:57AM (#1348357) Journal

    The most destructive thing I have seen ranking/ grading people do is plant in them the idea that they are better than everyone else.

    Once they get that "superiority" meme planted in them, the "Stanford Prison Experiment" mentality comes into play, and the "teamwork" meme of the group rapidly disintegrates into a "dog-eat-dog" situation, everybody trying to compete to be the lead dog, everyone trying to delegate, no one's doing the work.

    I've seen this happen. I consider this relentless ranking one of the main tools used by management to absolutely ruin an organization.

    It turns the workplace back to grade-school where everyone hates the "teacher's pet".

    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]