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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: 3, Interesting) by Reziac on Tuesday March 12, @03:25AM (3 children)

    by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 12, @03:25AM (#1348365) Homepage

    Ya know, if there wasn't so much makework disguised as homework, maybe teachers would have more time for quality grading.

    Friend complained that his sixth grader was routinely sent home with SIX HOURS of homework. How is that anything but brain-numbing, for both teacher and child?

    When I was in school (and was manifestly better-educated than most today) we didn't get any sort of homework until high school, and then it was at worst a couple hours worth, and rarely that much. (In a school system that consistently made the top 1% in Iowa Basics.) That's already an 8 hour day. How much are kids supposed to work?? are they not aware that processing what's learned happens not during makework, but during downtime?

    And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
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  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday March 12, @02:40PM (1 child)

    by Freeman (732) on Tuesday March 12, @02:40PM (#1348413) Journal

    China's got an issue with homework as well.

    China seeks to lift homework pressures on schoolchildren [] - 20211023

    China has passed an education law aimed at reducing the pressures of excessive homework and intensive after-school tutoring, state media say.

    Parents are being asked to ensure their children have reasonable time for rest and exercise, and do not spend too much time online.

    In August China banned written exams for six and seven year olds.

    Officials warned at the time that students' physical and mental health was being harmed.
    "I work 996 [from 9am to 9pm, six days a week], and when I come home at night I still need to carry out family education?" one user asked, quoted by the South China Morning Post newspaper.

    "You can't exploit the workers and still ask them to have children."

    In July, Beijing stripped online tutoring firms operating in the country of the ability to make a profit from teaching core subjects.

    Study shows Chinese students spend three hours on homework per day [] - 20151126

    Students in China's primary and secondary schools spend an average of three hours poring over homework assignments every day, twice the global average, according to a report by a Chinese online education institution.
    The never-ending heaps of assignments also take a toll on parents. According to the report, more than 80 percent of parents said the homework makes them exhausted. About 45 percent of them admitted to asking their children to give up on their homework and 33 percent said they once talked to the teachers about this issue.

    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 Reziac on Tuesday March 12, @03:41PM

      by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 12, @03:41PM (#1348427) Homepage

      It's nuts. And what comes out isn't educated, it's just exhausted.

      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by aafcac on Wednesday March 13, @01:58PM

    by aafcac (17646) on Wednesday March 13, @01:58PM (#1348550)

    Teachers don't really want to assign homework. There was a period in the '90s when they thought that copying what they thought was going on in Asia was a good idea. Having lived and taught in China since, it's pretty clear that folks didn't understand the assignment as the Chinese educational system in particular is coping with the issue of too few teachers for the student population and too few university spots for those students. It leads to a situation where they need to weed a lot of students out for lack of abiilty to allow them to go to college and a lack of ability to have smaller classes in most cases. It was pretty common when I was there for there to be 60-80 students per class and for teachers to have so many students that even if they did nothing other than interact with students, they still wouldn't be able to give even 5 minutes to each student on a regular basis.

    Hence, other methods like ML get very attractive because time spent on grading and evaluation is time not being spent on developing a more inspiring curriculum and addressing the issues that are coming up in terms of what the students are actually doing.