Pittsburgh, PA (PRWEB) February 4, 2006
Quantum Simulations, Inc., a developer of artificial intelligence (AI) tutoring and assessment software, has released the results of a Phase I research study funded by the National Science Foundation to evaluate the Quantum Assessment Advisors, a new AI-based automatic grading and formative assessment software for chemistry.
The research compares the grading effectiveness of the Quantum Assessment Advisors to high school chemistry teachers with classroom experience ranging from four to 25 years. To compare the performance of the Quantum Assessment Advisors with actual teacher grading, identical copies of student papers (250 problem attempts on the topic of oxidation numbers) were given to teachers to grade. The teachers were instructed to not only determine whether a solution was right or wrong, but to assign partial credit for correct problem-solving steps.
Since the student's own work rather than a multiple-choice answer was graded in this study, Quantum's patented consistency rules technology was used to handle unanticipated student errors. This is an important feature of Quantum's formative assessment tool since many student errors cannot be diagnosed by multiple-choice tests, which may force the student to pick an answer having nothing to do with their own solution attempt or thought process. By analyzing the student's actual work, a much more accurate and detailed evaluation of their knowledge and problem-solving skills is assessed. Though effective, this time-consuming process is often not practical for most teachers.
"This study is the first of its kind and demonstrates that the Quantum AI software can quickly and consistently assess student work, freeing teachers to use their time and talents more effectively," states Dr. Benny Johnson, Quantum's President and CEO. "With the Quantum Assessment Advisors, we have developed a robust and reliable assessment tool to help teachers increase their efficiency while providing practical, real-time feedback to students."
It is important to note that this comparison study is not intended as a criticism of the teachers' competency in grading. As most teachers agree, the grading process is prone to error and inconsistency because of the tedious conditions under which it usually must be done — a large number of papers must be analyzed in a limited time, assigning scores based only on brief inspection of each student's work, with the task often becoming dull and repetitive.
Key findings of the study include:
- The mean grading score for the Quantum Assessment Advisors was in agreement with those scores assigned by teachers.
- The Advisors were more accurate in identifying correct solutions and assigning full credit 100% of the time. One of the teachers failed to identify correct solutions 47% of the time because of an inaccurate answer key the teacher developed — a good example of how the human grading process can be prone to error.
- Quantum was more accurate, eliminating inconsistency in grading (i.e. assigning different scores for the same answer given by different students). Quantum also graded more consistently across all student work and problems.
- The Quantum Assessment Advisors graded all student work and provided feedback within 3 to 5 seconds. It took teachers over one hour to grade student work, a representative example of the administrative time required to grade papers. This did not include time to provide any comments on student work.
Note: For a complete copy of the published research results, please visit http://www.quantumsimulations.com/research.html.
Scheduled for release for the 2007 school year, the Quantum Assessment Advisors for Chemistry allow teachers to enter or upload ANY set of problems into the software or select from a database of pre-stored problems. The student enters their own work into the Advisors online, just as they would work a problem using pencil and paper. Upon submitting the assignment, the software automatically evaluates and grades every step of the student's work and provides immediate feedback and tutoring help on topics and concepts needed to improve future test scores. For the teacher, the software eliminates the administrative time, human error and fatigue associated with grading papers, while providing real-time data for analyzing how the class performed on the concepts tested with drill-down detail to each individual student's work.
Phase II research for the Quantum Assessment Advisors is underway on a national scale and focuses on the effectiveness of formative assessment feedback as a highly effective strategy for improving student learning and achievement. Results will be available later this year.
Quantum Simulations, Inc. develops artificial intelligence (AI) tutoring, assessment and professional development software that empowers teachers and inspires students from middle school through college to improve their knowledge and appreciation for the sciences. Teacher tested and approved by educators across the United States, Quantum's AI software is proven in research studies to improve comprehension, problem solving skills and test scores by as much as 50%. Quantum's intelligent tutoring engines are integrated with existing web-based learning products, providing a strong competitive edge for distributing partners. A "technology think tank," Quantum is funded and supported by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. For more information, visit http://www.quantumsimulations.com/assessment.html.
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