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Streamlining the grading process through AI - Interview with Manjinder Kainth, CEO of 6 Bit Education

We are living in a world which had to rapidly adopt technology into the classroom. The attitude has dramatically changed and this is in 6 Bit Education’s favor.

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Manjinder Kainth, CEO & Co-founder of 6 Bit Education has been intricately involved in teaching for many years and is listed in the top 600 early-career physics researchers in the world (Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings). He has over 6 years of private tutoring experience, most recently working on designing and delivering crash courses for a Birmingham high school A-level class. He has over 7 years of programming experience, and has witnessed and learned from the flaws of competitors.

What’s the story behind 6 Bit Education?

6 Bit Education was founded by former post-graduate students and current staff at the University of Birmingham. We were all teaching undergraduate students, helping with the assessment, and providing feedback for their work.

Really quickly, we realised that the outdated processes could be augmented by technology to make feedback faster and more consistent for students.

Fortunately, our team had a lot of experience with automated assessment (think multiple choice or final answer grading), extensive knowledge of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and experience selling and supporting education technology in higher education.

We were in the perfect position to build something that could help; so we did.

What problem does 6 Bit Education solve and how would you say it relieves your customers’ “pain”?

We are letting educators down. In addition to the pressures of planning and delivering high-quality lessons, a significant proportion of STEM teachers’ time is spent grading students’ work. This contributes to high levels of stress, burnout, and job dissatisfaction, causing many teachers to consider leaving the profession. 47% of teachers reported depression, anxiety, and panic attacks due to work-related stress (Mark in Style, 2021), while 81% considered leaving the profession due to workload-related pressures (National Education Union, 2018).

The burdens of grading contribute to additional working hours; in 2020, 31% of UK teachers worked more than 51 hours/week (ONS, 2020) 11 of which were spent on grading (TES, 2016). 38% of teachers said that addressing grading would have the biggest impact on their workload, improve their well-being, and would allow them to spend more active time in the classroom (GL Assessment, 2019).

In higher education, this workload is managed through externalised, casual hourly work. Universities spend an estimated £132 per student per year on grading and feedback. In spite of this, the quality and timeliness of feedback are consistently one of the lowest scoring questions in the National Student Survey.

6 Bit Education solves this pain with Graide – an artificial intelligence enhanced platform which learns how teachers give feedback, so they don’t have to grade the same solving method twice.

It has been proven to reduce grading times by 74% on average and increase feedback for students by 7.2 times when comparing grading on paper, versus digitally on Graide. This saves teachers up to 8 hours a week and up to £97 per student per year for universities!

Who would benefit the most from your platform? Who are your customers?

Our initial customers are university STEM departments. The value proposition is very clear in higher education: if they spend money on grading, we can save them money while also improving the consistency and quantity of feedback their students receive.

Over time we will start targeting the schools focused on using technology to become more effective.

What's happening in the industry you are activating? What are the key trends?

During the pandemic, education systems around the world had to add technology to their teaching, overnight. The focus has been on delivering content. Can now educators give their lessons and lectures online?

The natural progression is adding technology into the assessment workflow.

How did your past experience impact the traction of 6 Bit Education?

The core team has experience in education and has experienced the pain which Graide is designed to solve. In addition to this, we have built a strong network over time – which includes also early adopters and innovators – to aid with sales traction.

Where do you see 6 Bit Education and your business in 3-5 years? Any potential exit scenario in mind?

In 3 years we expect to launch a subscription service for students, offering access to a large content bank of AI graded questions and high-quality feedback. It will be a much more cost-effective way to revise for exams.

In 5-6 years we anticipate an IPO or sale of the company to fuel further growth and offer liquidity to investors. Education technology is a ‘hot sector’ with companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple acquiring smaller companies.

What makes 6 Bit Education special? Why should investors choose you?

In our experience the success of an early-stage company is dependent on three things:

- The founding team

- The quality of the product

- The timing

6 Bit Education’s founding team built Graide to solve the problems they experienced; they have university lecturing and school teaching experience and have sold and supported commercial EdTech before.

Graide’s AI is game-changing fast. It can provide suggestions on the scale of 10-100 responses i.e., up to 100x faster than other algorithms. This means it can provide value right from the start and over time.

We are living in a world which had to rapidly adopt technology into the classroom. The attitude has dramatically changed and this is in 6 Bit Education’s favor.

So, because of the founding team, the quality of the product, and the perfect timing, it is the best time to invest in us. Let’s build the future of education together!

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The EdTech investment opportunity is open for ELITE members until 23rd of November, going public on 24th of November.

By Bianca Iulia Simion

PublishedNovember 19, 2021


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