Indian American’s online grading system business raises $2.75 million


Arjun Singh, an Indian American, who’s graduate student life went into grading hundreds of computer science exams every semester while he was earning his PhD in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, has come up with an easier way to grade student exams.

According to an Edsurge report, Gradescope, a prototype for an automated online grading tool, has raised $2.75 million in a funding round led by Reach Capital, GSV AcceleraTE, Ironfire Ventures, K9 Ventures, Freestyle Capital and Bloomberg Beta.

But Gradescope is not the first platform to make grading exams easy.

MOOC platform edX’s Enhanced AI Scoring Engine amongst others have done something similar but many have faced a debate of whether such tools can provide accurate or personal feedback as much as a human.

Singh’s company though, takes a slightly different approach.

Gradescope is not grading essays currently and is focusing on grading responses that include numbers, a line of code or short text responses.

Gradescope is not designed to fully-automate grading which allows instructors to put in their input if they want.

According to Edsurge, to use Gradescope, a grader scans exams or assignments into the platform and each question is given a rubric.

The grader then makes a note of what the correct answer is, and the tool groups together what it thinks are also correct answers.

The same is then done for common incorrect answers, and the grader can assign feedback to go out to multiple exams at once.

But Gradescope doesn’t catch everything and it is definitely not trying to replace the human element in the grading process, Phillip Conrad, a lecturer in computer science at UC Santa Barbara, told Edsurge.

Although, Gradescope allows Conrad to quickly scan through the correct answers that it identifies, give partial credit to questions that were commonly missed and spend more time on the exams where students showed signs of struggle, he adds that he has run into the problem of the system marking answers correct when they were not or vice versa.

However, he feels that the system is still worth it as cuts down time on grading student exams.

Gradescope has a free version for educators as well as paid plans which would give access to analytics and the AI grading features.