September 28, 2022

How AI-powered independent practice can improve STEM student outcomes

Manjinder Kainth, PhD

In a time when institutions are under pressure to do more with less, innovative technologies that can improve outcomes while reducing costs are especially valuable. With AI-facilitated formative feedback, educators' workloads are reduced at scale. This not only improves their ability to provide timely and personalised guidance for each student but also helps them understand what areas need improvement for summative assessment.

Formative assessment is a powerful tool that can help educators to improve student outcomes. By providing continuous feedback and using assessments throughout the instructional process, educators can identify areas of weakness and tailor instruction to meet the needs of individual students. Numerous studies have shown that formative assessment can lead to improved test scores, higher grades, and increased motivation. Furthermore, it can help all students to succeed, regardless of background or ability level.

Quote from Bradley, a student from the University of Birmingham about his requirements for timely feedback: Getting feedback back instantly is important especially if you have exams coming up and you need to know the feedback because you need to improve on the topic.

Formative assessment is a key component of effective teaching, but it can also be time-consuming for lecturers. In order to provide meaningful feedback that helps students improve their learning, lecturers need to spend time carefully reviewing each piece of work. This is often a challenge given the large class sizes that are common in many institutions. In addition, it can also be labour-intensive when done manually. For example, if students are asked to submit handwritten work, this will need to be collated, distributed, gradebooks tabled, and moderated. As a result, formative assessment can require a significant investment of time and resources from lecturers. 

A quote from Dr Carl Anthony, a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham, about the difficulties with assessment and feedback: Marking has always been an issue: to complete it on time and to provide consistent feedback, particularly when you have different markers in a module because different people deliver different aspects of the course.

In addition to this, formative assessment can be awkward to manage. One of the challenges is that students need to have access to practise questions at any time, rather than only during specific windows of opportunity. This can be difficult to arrange, particularly if the questions are not readily available. Finally, formative assessment can be time-consuming for lecturers, who need to provide feedback on a regular basis. 

AI powered independent practice is growing in popularity due to its many benefits. One of the main advantages is that it is scalable. Lecturers can easily create large numbers of questions and test items, and the AI system can quickly assist in grading them. This saves a great deal of time, as lecturers no longer need to manually mark each answer. In addition, AI assessment is flexible, as students can take the test at any time and receive feedback much quicker than before. This allows them to identify their weaknesses and work on improving them. Finally, AI assessment provides lecturers with valuable data and insights. They can see how each student is progressing and where they need improvement. This helps to ensure that all students are achieving their potential. As a result, AI powered independent practice is a powerful tool that can save time, improve results and provide valuable data.

Graph showing the scaling of time required to grade assignments (10 questions). Light line is the raw data, and the thick line is a line of best fit. At submission 142 every question is automatically graded resulting in no time grading, but the same quality feedback to the responses.

Graide is an AI powered independent practice tool that can help teachers by automating the mundane components of formative feedback, such as summing up marks, collating and distributing work. Graide can also use AI to reduce the workload of providing feedback by learning how you give feedback. In the future, these questions could be used as practice questions for fast feedback.

The benefits of AI in education are clear. By providing formative feedback and revision support, AI can help improve student outcomes while also saving educators time. This scalable solution is perfect for managing large cohorts effectively. With pre-exam chances of practice and minimal allocation of staff time for marking and revision, AI is making a positive impact on STEM education.

To find out more and see how Graide can help provide independent practice and formative feedback for your cohort and their exams, schedule a demo today.

Manjinder Kainth, PhD
LinkedIn logo.
I’ve been intricately involved in teaching for many years. I have over 6 years of private tutoring experience, taught in higher education, and most recently worked on designing and delivering crash courses for a high school.