His main motivation was to make high-quality and practice-oriented education accessible to people all around the world independent of their social background: I felt that if we could just build a new kind of university that could democratize education and really reach everybody, we could have a bigger impact on the world than just building a self-driving car.
In fact, Kraus, president of the German teacher union, estimates that teachers in Germany spend up to 1,000 hours every year on grading depending on the classes and subjects they are teaching.
Apart from teachers’ dissatisfaction with the status quo, also students criticize that the grades they receive are in part subjective, inconsistent, and opaque.
While Gradescope already works robustly for standardized test formats such as multiple choice tests, a further challenge lies in the grading of longer texts, a discipline also referred to as automated essay scoring (AES).
One approach to AES is finding objective measures such as the word length, the number of spelling mistakes, and the ratio of upper case to lower case letters.
Consequently, in every classroom there are a few students who become bored because they have understood a subject very fast and others who are discouraged quickly because they cannot follow the teacher’s explanations.
In other words, education has moved towards a one-size-fits-all solution.
However, these obvious and quantifiable measures are not insightful for evaluating crucial aspects of an essay such as the argument strength or conclusiveness.
To see how well machines would grade thousands of essays and replicate teachers’ gradings, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation started a competition in 2012.
Rochelle, head of product management at Google, expects that AI applications will soon personalize the learning experience of students by suggesting individual learning objectives, selecting instructional approaches and displaying exercises that are based on the interests and skill level of every student.
Just like Netflix shows us the film that we could also like, or Spotify creates a personal playlist based on our historical music choice, AI could suggest to students their most suitable educational setting.