Some schools in China have incorporated paper-grading artificial intelligence into their classrooms, according to the South China Morning Post. One in every four schools, or about 60,000 institutions, are quietly testing a machine learning-powered system that can score students’ work automatically, and even offer suggestions where appropriate.
The AI, which can be accessed through various online portals, and which the report describes as similar to the system used by the Education Testing Service in the U.S., uses an evolving “knowledge base” to interpret the “general logic” and “meaning” of pupils’ essays and to highlight stylistic, structural, and thematic areas that need improvement. It can read both English and Chinese, and it’s reportedly perceptive enough to notice when paragraphs veer too far off topic.
It is also self-improving. The 10-year-old grading software leverages deep learning algorithms to “compare notes” with human teachers’ scores, suggestions, and comments. An engineer involved in the project compared its capabilities to those of AlphaGo, the record-breaking AI Go player developed by Google subsidiary DeepMind.
In a test involving 120 million people, the South China Morning Post claims, the AI agreed with human graders about 92 percent of the time. But it isn’t perfect. A user on Chinese question-and-answer website Zhihu posted a screenshot showing the AI’s evaluation of a 2015 article from the Washington Post, “Why is Obama sticking it to stay-at-home moms?” The op-ed scored a 71.5 out of 100, with major point deductions for “flow,”…