Technology in education, or Edtech, is not only about technology designed to help facilitate the learning process. The other side of Edtech is technology that aids teachers and the administrators of educational facilities. A Danish startup is making waves with a new technology platform that combines both and helps relieve some of the strain on teachers while also helping to educate their pupils at the same time.
Peergrade is a platform that facilitates the grading of papers and other course or class work by other students or pupils. Peer assessment is not a new concept and has been used as an approved methodology for grading papers for almost 70 years. However, to be effective the process needs to be systemised.
Almost three years ago now, Peergrade’s CEO and co-founder David Kofoed Wind, then 26, was teaching at the Technical University of Denmark as part of his Ph.D. in machine learning. With a class of 150 students he was struggling with the practicality of given the class written assignments that he would then have to grade. He decided to opt for peer grading and set about building a technology platform that would help to facilitate that. Less than 3 years late, Peergrade has over 100,000 users internationally and that number is now doubling every six months.
Educators create assignments on the platform, and include evaluation criteria. Pupils or students upload their completed assignments, which are then distributed to their peers for grading and feedback, which is anonymous. The platform also provides data analyses that allows educators to see which evaluation criteria are working and the time students have spent on giving feedback.
Of course, peer grading can’t be used for all assignments students are set and the educator still has to have an overview. However, even taking a part of the grading responsibility away from educators can have a huge impact on their time. Peer grading is also an educational process for the graders. They both learn about things their own work may not have covered as well as how to think critically about the work of their peers, which subsequently has a positive impact on how they approach their own assignments.
In Wind’s own words:
”Firstly, the method works because students are actually pretty good at grading assignments. But it also gives the learning process a new dimension. By taking part in the process, the students gain new insights from the work of the others, and they learn to give feedback in a constructive manner.”
Peergrade is not the only Edtech product on the market focused on peer grading but it has quickly become the market leader as a result of its superior usability and intuitive design.
The company started selling Peergrade licenses to school and university teachers in Scandinavia but the platform has proven to be particularly popular in the USA, which is currently the market most driving growth. A recent financing round, Peergrade’s second, has raised $1.5 million of investment.