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Confronting Structural Inequities in AI for Education

05/18/2021
by   Michael Madaio, et al.
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Educational technologies, and the systems of schooling in which they are deployed, enact particular ideologies about what is important to know and how learners should learn. As artificial intelligence technologies – in education and beyond – have led to inequitable outcomes for marginalized communities, various approaches have been developed to evaluate and mitigate AI systems' disparate impact. However, we argue in this paper that the dominant paradigm of evaluating fairness on the basis of performance disparities in AI models is inadequate for confronting the structural inequities that educational AI systems (re)produce. We draw on a lens of structural injustice informed by critical theory and Black feminist scholarship to critically interrogate several widely-studied and widely-adopted categories of educational AI systems and demonstrate how educational AI technologies are bound up in and reproduce historical legacies of structural injustice and inequity, regardless of the parity of their models' performance. We close with alternative visions for a more equitable future for educational AI research.

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