It's time to move beyond multiple choice questions for personalisation of learning journeys

As the digital learning and assessments landscape evolves, personalisation has taken centre stage in effective learning. The idea of a one-size-fits-all approach is becoming increasingly outdated as we recognise that each student has a unique learning style, pace, and strengths. Personalised learning journeys are essential for maximising students' potential and ensuring their academic success.

And, at sAInaptic, we are always thinking about what the foundation of this personalisation should be.

Our opinion is obviously biased, but we strongly believe that personalisation based on performance insights obtained from the marking of descriptive student work is more valuable than performance on multiple choice quizzes.

For example, using AI to personalise learning based on application & consolidation of knowledge, focusing on critical thinking, making connections between various concepts and putting all these thoughts into a coherent written response, will truly personalise how a child progresses through their learning.

The Limitations of Personalisation using Multiple Choice Quizzes

For obvious reasons, personalisation of learning has relied on automation in assessments, that could only be achieved with multiple choice quizzes and while they have served a purpose, they do have significant limitations when it comes to creating truly personalised learning journeys.

  1. Lack of Depth: Multiple choice quizzes do not capture the depth of a student's understanding or their critical thinking skills.
  2. Limited Insights: Performance on multiple choice quizzes primarily reflects a student's ability to recall facts. It doesn't provide insight into their analytical, problem-solving abilities.
  3. Redundant Approach: These quizzes often use a common set of questions, which become repetitive and may not align with the unique learning needs and goals of individual students.

Most importantly, it also removes the possibility of students getting answers correct, purely by chance! After all, one has a 25% chance of selecting the correct answer, from 4 choices in any multiple choice question.

AI-Assisted Marking of Descriptive Student Work: Breaking the Norm

In contrast, AI-assisted marking of descriptive student work offers a more comprehensive and insightful approach to assessing students' performance and tailoring their learning pathways.

  1. Deep Understanding: Open-ended questions look for deeper skills such as application of knowledge. With AI marking these responses, educators can not only automate the marking of such questions, but also quickly identify the quality of their explanations and the coherence of their arguments.
  2. Identifying Gaps in Knowledge: AI can pinpoint specific gaps in a student's knowledge by recognising concepts that are missing or inaccurately addressed in their responses. This targeted feedback is invaluable for personalising learning.
  3. Better Consolidation of Knowledge: Personalisation based on AI-assisted marking can recommend topics that are directly relevant to a student's current level of understanding. This ensures that they build a solid foundation before moving on to more complex concepts.
  4. Promotes Critical Thinking: Assessing descriptive student work challenges students to think critically, apply their knowledge, and communicate their ideas effectively, all of which are essential skills for success in the real world.

The Educational Impact of AI-Assisted Marking

  1. Effective Personalisation: Using AI to assess descriptive work allows educators to tailor learning paths to an individual's strengths and weaknesses, ensuring they receive content at the right level of challenge.
  2. Increased Engagement: Engaging with descriptive tasks encourages students to actively think and communicate their ideas, leading to deeper comprehension and engagement with the subject matter.
  3. Targeted Remediation: Identifying gaps in knowledge allows educators to provide targeted support or additional resources to help students overcome specific challenges.
  4. Holistic Skill Development: AI-assisted marking fosters the development of not only subject-specific knowledge but also critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication skills.

While multiple choice quizzes have their place in education, they fall short when it comes to personalisation. To truly tailor learning journeys to the unique needs of each student, AI-assisted marking of descriptive student work is the way forward. It provides deeper insights, identifies gaps in knowledge, and encourages critical thinking and effective communication. The goal of education is not just to pass exams but to prepare students for success in a complex, ever-changing world. AI-assisted assessment is a significant step towards achieving that goal, creating a more personalised and effective learning experience for all.

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