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End of Semester AI Report: More college students say AI is helping them get better grades

New data from Pearson shows an increasing number of students turning to generative AI tools to build knowledge and optimize their study efforts. Pearson generative AI Study Tools are available in the Mastering study platform and Pearson+ eTextbooks, with 70,000 students at more than 1,000 higher ed institutions now using them. More than 2 million interactions with the tools have helped students benefit from personalized step-by-step guidance, content summarization, and explanations for challenging concepts.

“We’re seeing that students trust and enjoy AI that is embedded in their content. This is taking learning to a new level.” – Source: Pearson via PR Newswire

Use of the tools shows students are focusing on learning difficult topics instead of just getting quick answers:

  • Students who use the AI tools are spending more sessions in their eTextbooks than those who don’t use the tools. Students who use the tools are nearly doubling the number of sessions in their content, indicating that the tools are associated with increased engagement in quality learning materials.
  • Across eTextbooks and the Mastering study platform, students are asking for help on complex topics, suggesting a desire to build a true understanding of difficult concepts. The biology and chemistry topics students most frequently queried include: cells and cell structures, chemical reactions, combustion, osmosis and diffusion, and molecular shapes.
  • Usage of AI study tools in Tro Mastering Chemistry quadrupled in the Spring semester compared to Fall ’23.
  • Students are most frequently using the AI tools between 9 PM and 11 PM, when they need anywhere, anytime help and professors are out of reach. More than 60% of AI study tool usage happened outside the hours of 8 AM to 5 PM.

More broadly, a Pearson research survey of 800 nationally representative US college students, conducted with Morning Consult, shows an increasing interest in using AI tools for study.

  • 51% of spring semester students said gen AI has helped them get better grades, a 4-percentage point increase from Fall ’23.
  • 56% of spring semester students said gen AI has helped them be more efficient, a 7-percentage point increase from Fall ’23.
  • 44% of students are seeking tools to walk them through problems. For STEM majors, 51% want gen AI to walk them through problems.
  • Nearly 60% of students are interested in trying new gen AI tools.

“It is very encouraging that students are going deeper into their learning materials by using generative AI,” stated Tony Prentice, Pearson’s Chief Product Officer. “Their feedback on and usage of our study tools are helping us shape these AI experiences. We’re seeing that students trust and enjoy AI that is embedded in their content. This is taking learning to a new level.” 

Anthony Gonzalez, a student at Cerritos Community College who used the AI study tools in his General Chemistry class said, “I felt much more prepared for class, quizzes, and exams all around. Not to mention you could ask the AI study tool any question at any given time.”

To meet the growing demand, Pearson is expanding its AI study tools to 50 MyLab and Mastering study platform titles with integrated eTextbooks to reach millions of students in the US for the Fall 2024 semester. Pearson also recently announced the launch of AI tools in international editions. Pearson’s application of generative AI is backed by learning scientists, vetted by subject matter experts, and based on content from Pearson’s library of higher education content. With more than 80% of its products now digital or digitally enabled, Pearson is committed to investing in the responsible application of AI to advance product innovation and enhance the learning experience.

Source: PR Newswire