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AI In Education Use Case #7: Gradescope

  • 10 July 2019
  • Sam Mire


This interview is part of our new AI in Education series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and education.

In this interview, we speak with Arjun Singh, who served as CEO and co-founder of Gradescope prior to its acquisition by Turnitin. He now serves as the Vice President of STEM products and technologies at Turnitin.  He helps us to understand how his company is using AI to transform education, and what the future of the education industry holds.

1. What's the story behind Gradescope? How and why did you get started?

AS: Gradescope was developed by myself, along with another computer science doctoral student, as we were experiencing the pain of hand-grading overwhelming numbers of handwritten papers and exams. Together with our professor, we created a platform that eliminates redundant work from the grading process. Gradescope combines instructor expertise with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline the digitization of paper-based work, accelerate consistent and unbiased grading, and present meaningful statistics on student performance.

2. Describe your use case and how Gradescope is using AI in education:

AS: Gradescope brings efficiency and consistency to the grading process in higher education, and artificial intelligence plays a small but meaningful role in fulfilling this purpose.  A computer isn’t grading a handwritten problem—AI is integrated into Gradescope to analyze the digital version of a student's handwritten work and form suggested answer groups. Ultimately, the grading is still done by a human: graders must review the groups for accuracy and score them using the digital rubric.

This methodical approach of reviewing similar answers by group delivers significant time savings to graders and much more consistent feedback to students. Additionally, the input from users strengthens future predictions so the AI is continually improving. AI-assisted grading, which uses deep neural network methods for few-shot learning and is a type of supervised machine learning, can help faculty and teaching assistants cut grading time by 80% or more.

3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has Gradescope done for them?

“Last spring, I graded 10 multiple choice questions for approximately
250 students in 15 minutes. The grouping feature can also be used manually,
allowing the grader to group exam questions depending on what mistakes have been made. Once the answers are grouped, you only have to check off the rubric items once to grade all the answers.” – Anna Victoria Martinez-Saltzberg, Chemistry, San Francisco State University

“The ease of applying a consistent grading scheme with detailed feedback was the most useful feature. I was also impressed with how easy it is to set up
assignments for grading. And I love not having to shuffle papers.” – Michael
Thompson, Engineering, Baylor University

“Gradescope helps me to be a more uniform grader and to adjust scoring even
after most of the exams have been graded. It gives me quick per question, or
even per mistake, statistics to better assess how my students are doing on
particular topics.” – Joanna Klukowska, computer science, New York

About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.