AI and assessment

Artificial intelligence in post-pandemic recovery

Every now and again a new product catches our eye that might be useful in international schools. We recently asked the people at UK edtech start-up Atom Learning to prepare an elevator pitch for ITM readers. This is what they sent us.

How an edtech platform is reducing inequities in attainment

In 2022, ‘catching up’ from the educational impact of the pandemic remains a key focus. With artificial intelligence (AI) an emerging trend, there are more educational technology (edtech) tools available than ever to support pupils and teachers with this task. Schools are turning to AI platforms which can analyse pupil data in real time and automatically provide each pupil with their ideal tailored learning journey.

A company at the leading edge of developing these tools is Atom Learning, a startup with a mission to allow all children access to a world-class education. Atom Learning was founded in 2018 by Jake O’Keeffe and Alex Hatvany, who had become frustrated by the inequality in education provision in the UK and globally. They see huge potential for technology to reduce the gap in attainment between the most and least privileged.

Algorithm-assisted learning

Atom Learning’s platforms are underpinned by an algorithm which allows them to offer tailored intra-practice adaptivity to each user. Pupils work through subjects that are broken down into their most granular form (‘Atoms’), and answer questions, watch video tutorials and interact with text-based resources.

The algorithm diagnoses attainment level and identifies how pupils answer questions, to determine the next question or resource best suited to their level of understanding. Pupils also have access to unlimited mock tests, which replicate key senior school entry exams in content, scoring and design. This allows them to familiarise themselves with computerised testing and iron out common exam technique issues.

Teacher-written content

While many education platforms use mass auto-generated questions, Atom is challenging preconceptions about algorithm-assisted learning. Content is hand-written by leading UK teachers, encompassing tens of thousands of questions, hundreds of video tutorials and text-based helpsheets, and detailed explanations for every question. The syllabuses are created with NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics) and White Rose maths teachers, as well as highly experienced English, literacy and reasoning specialists.

Most education platforms work by ‘retesting’, which allows pupils to get used to pattern-spotting, answering questions correctly without truly understanding them. Atom’s algorithms build individual, personalized learning journeys for each child. This does not allow them to pattern spot and instead builds complete understanding of each topic.

Atom Prime

Atom Prime is Atom Learning’s platform designed specifically for schools, which combines industry-leading, teacher-written content with adaptive technology. It aims to radically improve learner outcomes in Key Stage 2 and early Key Stage 3 English, Maths, Science, Verbal and Non-verbal Reasoning. Currently used by over 90,000 teachers, it is completely free of charge for teachers to use.

The data provided by AI tools such as Atom Prime will be key for boosting outcomes during the post-covid ‘catch-up’ and beyond. Clear performance insights are easily available through the platform, meaning that teachers don’t need to rely on manually spotting and tracking where students are struggling. The platform pinpoints strengths and areas for improvement on a granular level across year groups, classes, and individuals, so teachers know exactly where to focus their efforts.

AI can empower teachers to easily handle mixed-ability classes while helping to increase pupils’ confidence. By detecting the probability a student has of answering a question correctly, Atom delivers content optimized to each student’s difficulty level. The algorithm provides exactly the right balance of challenge and accessibility for every pupil, boosting their confidence in their own abilities while stretching them to meet their learning goals.

Supporting teachers’ wellbeing

While teacher stress was exacerbated during the pandemic, AI tools such as Atom Prime are helping to offset this by reducing workload. The platform allows teachers to quickly build and set lessons, homework and tests at the click of a button. The engaging, customisable lessons can be run both in the classroom and remotely. All marking is automated, and pupil progress is automatically tracked and monitored.

Edtech platforms are also being used to facilitate easier communication with parents. Atom Prime allows teachers to share pupils’ progress with parents automatically. Atom Prime also integrates with Atom Nucleus, an affordable alternative to a private tutor to which parents can optionally subscribe, and for which free subscriptions are available to any child on free school meals.

As the potential of edtech is unleashed beyond simply remote learning, more and more teachers are making use of AI as a powerful tool to manage their workload and help their pupils succeed.

Evidence of impact

We now building a bank of evidence to show the impact of the paltform. One school sent us these sets of data which they were pleased about – and so are we!

Learn more

Teachers can learn more about the free Atom Prime platform in this introduction video, or by booking an introductory call.

Follow Atom Learning on Twitter here:


FEATURE IMAGE: by D1_TheOne on Pixabay