Thinking Nation Explores Mock Exams, AI, Technology and More 

Thinking Nation Explores Mock Exams, AI, Technology and More 

It’s 2024, and the academic world has changed dramatically.

Automated tools have become a core part of schooling, making many doubt the veracity of anyone educated today. The situation has escalated even further, creating a dichotomy. On the one hand, there are the believers in AI tools and the progress they bring to the world of learning.

On the other hand, some skeptics believe that these innovations make students lazy and cause them to cheat, creating an entire world of ignorant students.

It’s crucial to strike a balance. While the potential of AI tools in education is undeniable, it’s equally important to set boundaries, ensuring their use has the best interests of students as guidance.

Regardless of the debate, one thing is clear-education will continue to evolve. Our focus should be on leveraging these innovations to enhance learning.

Halting the growth and development of AI tools in schools stifles student creativity and hinders societal development.

One great case of AI’s use in education is in mock exams.

We sat down with Zachary Coté, the Executive Director of Thinking Nation, a nonprofit that provides alternatives for children, teachers, and schools.

Their mock exam solution is helpful in an age when we are both excited and scared about the emergence of AI solutions in education.

Here’s what he had to say.


What is the main objective of Thinking Nation’s AI-powered mock AP exams? 

“Instantaneous and accurate feedback for students prepping for AP exams. Students will receive reports stating what eras they need to revisit before the big day. Instead of waiting two weeks for this report, students will wait seconds.” 


 How does Thinking Nation’s solution differ from traditional mock exams? 

“Thinking Nation’s Mock AP exam is aligned with AP standards and student feedback is generated through GenAI. This painstaking process took months of calibration between our developers and College Board-certified AP graders. When students complete this arduous exam, their results are instant. This provides students additional time to pivot their study strategies, instead of waiting for their results.”


What (potential) impact can these AI-powered mock exams have on student success?

“IMMENSE. Students need precise reporting during study crunch time. The accuracy and speed of our Mock APs can not be found anywhere else. This instant and granular student feedback is the “secret sauce” needed for students to have an advantage on these high-stakes exams.”


What subjects or topics do these mock exams cover? 

“APUSH, World, Euro, Gov .”


      What benefits do educators, schools, and other institutions gain from implementing this system? 

“This allows all stakeholders the opportunity to perform optimally on the actual exam. Teachers can pivot pedagogy to serve their students’ needs, and students receive detailed feedback outlining subject areas they are struggling with.” 


How can students access these mock exams? 

“This year, we are offering mock exams through partnering schools and districts. We plan to make this available to the public next year. This will be accessible through Thinking Nation’s website.”


What data analytics or insights are provided to educators? 

“Teachers are given a series of reports, organized by each component of the overall exam. The reports identify trends around key aspects of the exam in order to provide clear data to inform what needs to be focused on in the final weeks before the exam.”


What role does artificial intelligence play in grading and feedback? 

“GenAI is the bedrock of our Mock Exams. It is because of this technology that Thinking Nation can provide a normed and immediate data report, that is aligned to the AP standards. It is unlike any other.”


Can students take these mock exams remotely? 



What partnerships or collaborations has Thinking Nation established in the education sector? 

“As a thought leader, we aim to align ourselves with educational and civilly engaged associations. We currently partner with AASA, The Reagan Institute, Educating for American Democracy (EAD), and CiviX Now to name a few. As a nonprofit curriculum provider, we partner with schools and districts across the nation.”


How does this initiative align with broader trends in educational technology? 

“Similar to other Edtech trends, Thinking Nation is leveraging technology to support teachers and empower students. Through GenAI we have unburdened teachers’ time/resources and allow them precious time to plan daily lessons. GenAI allows students to have more frequent and optimal opportunities to interact with the skill-building curriculum that cultivates critical thinkers/engaged citizens.” 


Are there any accessibility and inclusivity options for students with disabilities? 

“The platform has embedded functionalities to assist students with disabilities.” 


What strategies are in place to prevent cheating during these exams? 

“We are working in-house on a proprietary plagiarism detector for our general curriculum. With regards to Thinking Nation’s Mock Exams, I’d like to pose the question, what benefit does a student have when cheating during test prep? The purpose of these exams is to show students where they need to improve. If they decide to cheat, this completely negates the purpose of taking this exam.”


How does Thinking Nation collaborate with educational institutions to gather feedback? 

“We work closely with our current partners to improve our curriculum while remaining true to our core principles. Feedback is received through the countless hours of PD we provide and the implementation of periodic stakeholder surveys.”


How do you ensure that your exams align with official AP standards? 

“Our AP exams are written by current AP readers who have multiple years of experience grading the exams. We ensured that all new standards, released in the summer of 2023, were followed to provide an exam experience that mirrored the AP expectations. Our team meticulously analyzes past exam questions, scoring guidelines, and curriculum frameworks to craft questions that authentically replicate the challenges, weighting, and expectations of the official AP exams.”


Is there a support system for students who struggle with the mock exams? How can they access it? How does it work? What are the benefits? 
We’ve built out the exam and the platform with various student accommodations in mind to support all learners when taking the exam.”

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