Jill Barshay at The Hechinger Report shares a research study that compared feedback from ChatGPT and humans:

On a five-point scale that the researchers used to rate feedback quality, with a 5 being the highest quality feedback, ChatGPT averaged a 3.6 compared with a 4.0 average from a team of 16 expert human evaluators. It was a tough challenge. Most of these humans had taught writing for more than 15 years or they had considerable experience in writing instruction. All received three hours of training for this exercise plus extra pay for providing the feedback.

ChatGPT even beat these experts in one aspect; it was slightly better at giving feedback on students’ reasoning, argumentation and use of evidence from source materials – the features that the researchers had wanted the writing evaluators to focus on.

Barshay goes on to discuss the studies implications:

One of the biggest problems in writing instruction in U.S. schools is that teachers assign too little writing, Graham said, often because teachers feel that they don’t have the time to give personalized feedback to each student. That leaves students without sufficient practice to become good writers. In theory, teachers might be willing to assign more writing or insist on revisions for each paper if students (or teachers) could use ChatGPT to provide feedback between drafts.

There’s also the risk that students may not be interested in heeding AI feedback. Students often ignore the painstaking feedback that their teachers already give on their essays. Why should we think students will pay attention to feedback if they start getting more of it from a machine?

AI tools can help provide students with timely feedback, but the challenge for educators is encouraging students to engage and act on the feedback to improve their writing. Educators can use strategies like iterative grading where the writing isn’t graded until students submit a revision or self-assessment to empower students to evaluate their own writing.