Gradeable launches mobile grading app as ed tech heats up

Parul Singh of Gradeable
Parul Singh of Gradeable

Two things that you should know before delving into the news today that Gradeable launched its mobile grading app.

1. Recently (very recently) I taught an unruly group of eighth grade boys at a nearby private school. Only one time over my nearly 10 years of teaching English did I do something that amazed the “we-know-cool-things-and-more-about-technology-than-you-ever-will” students.

That was beta-testing Gradeable during an exam.

2. Although ed tech is usually the easiest tech sector for everyone to beat up on (some for good reasons, like the near impossibility of breaking new, innovative tech into the world of standards and regulation loving school administrators), it is having a bit of a “hot” moment right now.

A lot of buzz from the ed tech world surrounds the recent news that Renaissance Learning is being acquired for $1.1 billion and that 2U recently filed for a $100 million IPO.

So now that you have those little tidbits of information, let’s get to Gradeable.

Gradeable, a test grading tool with MIT roots and one of the companies in LearnLaunch’s first cohort, launched its new mobile app today after a successful period of testing the product with various teachers and schools.

Gradeable does two things that schools and educators have long struggled to improve: trying to get teachers more time to work individually with students and to quickly be able to gain a better understanding of students’ strengths and weaknesses.

The Greadeable app uses a mobile device’s camera to scan and instantly grade student assessments, whether they are fill-in-the-blank or short answer. Scores are then compiled, and data from the tests are analyzed to give immediate insight to classroom teacher’s on a student’s success or difficulty on a certain test or a specific type of assessment question.

Not only does it often take a week (if not more) to get a graded test back to students, but being able to track specific areas of strength and weakness is something that only exists in larger format standardized tests, and there, for only the broadest and most all-encompassing fields of data.

As one middle school reading teacher who tested the app said, “The best thing about Gradeable is that it automatically grades, so that I don’t have to do that—but it also gives me data. I can actually click and look to see how my students did on each question and then use that data the next class—immediately.”

Gradeable founder and chief executive Parul Singh said, “We created the mobile app so teachers could give immediate feedback on student work, right in their own classroom.

“Intuitively,” she added, “we know that there is value in a student creating and getting feedback on a geometry proof, or a literature essay.  The question we’ve been attacking is how to cut down the paperwork for teachers and make it possible to extract meaningful metadata from those types of assignments as well.”

“We’re excited to get this out into classrooms,” Singh said of the launch.

“There is a proven link between better feedback and increased student learning, so getting teachers tools to do this more effectively should affect schools’ bottom line: learning.”

With the ability to awe students and the opportunity to make classroom life easier and more data-driven for teachers, Gradeable has the chance to make a very quick impact in education.

As Boston becomes more of hub for ed tech and as the education sector becomes more appealing to investors, Gradeable could also be on the cusp of something much, much bigger.

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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