It has been reported by the Times Higher Education that Pearson, who are responsible for supporting BTEC qualifications, have developed an artificial intelligence tool which could mark and grade student essays.
The artificial intelligence tool will be tested in US higher education system before coming to the UK.
Pearson has developed this tool using IBM’s Watson technology, another tool which is currently used in universities. It will be able to examine large amounts of text and answer any questions in a more natural style.
How will it be able to decide on a student’s grade?
It has been explained that the tool will actually learn how to grade essays by following the example of the teacher. Milena Marinova, the lead developer of the tool, has said that “in the first 10 essays, for example, the professor can teach the way they grade to the system, until there is enough accuracy, and confidence, that the algorithm can work to the level the professor has approved.”
What are the benefits of this new artificial intelligence tool?
One huge benefit is that teacher’s workload will be lessened and they can spend more time with their students. It will also help students, as they will be able to get their essay feedback quicker and improve before their final exams.
Pearson are also planning on developing a feedback capability for marking maths questions. As some students can make a mistake in their working but can still get some marks, the tool will be able to recognise this in the same way a human examiner can – very clever!
If you would like to read a previous blog on artificial intelligence, please click here.