In massive open online courses (MOOCs), peer grading serves as a critical tool for scaling the grading of complex, open-ended assignments to courses with tens or hundreds of thousands of students. But despite promising initial trials, it does not always deliver accurate results compared to human experts. In this paper, we develop algorithms for estimating and correcting for grader biases and reliabilities, showing significant improvement in peer grading accuracy on real data with 63,199 peer grades from Coursera's HCI course offerings --- the largest peer grading networks analysed to date. We relate grader biases and reliabilities to other student factors such as student engagement, performance as well as commenting style. We also show that our model can lead to more intelligent assignment of graders to gradees.
A Chinese province plans to ban teachers from assigning homework to be completed on mobile phone apps as part of efforts to preserve students' eyesight. Zhejiang, in the east of the country, issued a draft regulation last week and sought public comment. It is one of several provinces considering such measures. Along with barring app-based homework assignments, the regulation would limit the use of electronic devices to 30% of total teaching time and encourage the issuing of paper homework to be completed by hand. Soaring rates of nearsightedness have been blamed partly on screen usage.
But in the 2015 study in Providence I mentioned earlier, researchers did attempt to answer this question. They had 1,173 parents fill out a homework-related survey at pediatricians' offices and found that the homework burden in early grades is quite high: Kindergarten and first-grade students do about three times as much homework as is recommended by the "10-minute rule." What's the 10-minute rule, you ask? It's a standard, adopted by most public schools around the country (more on this later), recommending that students spend roughly 10 times their grade level in minutes on homework each night--so first-graders should be spending 10 minutes on homework and fifth-graders 50. Considering these numbers in combination with their findings on how homework can increase family stress, the researchers concluded, "the disproportionate homework load for K–3 found in our study calls into question whether primary school children are being exposed to a positive learning experience or to a scenario that may promote negative attitudes toward learning."
Fifth-graders Christopher DeLeon and Niko Keelie at Farley Elementary School in Stony Point say they decided to petition for a homework ban due to stress from homework. WNBC-TV reports the district was already considering how to rethink homework for district students, saying they agreed with the students' points. Assistant Superintendent Kris Felicello said Wednesday that officials are trying to rethink homework to make it more beneficial for students. The district is considering several options, one of which would allow parents to ask for homework for their children. School officials hope to have a new homework policy ready to go for the next school year.