TeztUs | Recognizing a need in the market, and meeting it

Team: Jackson Labell Nevard (NYU CAS ‘23), Helen Zhang

About the Venture: Teztus is an online platform that leverages AI to assist educators in grading assignments and exams of any format. For example, if a student answers a biology question incorrectly, our AI not only identifies the mistake but also generates tailored feedback, explaining the specific error and suggesting ways to improve. It saves teachers time and provides students with comprehensive, personalized feedback.

An NYU Computer Science student launched a small tutoring service that, in a matter of months, evolved into an ed-tech startup with multiple institutional customers, hundreds of onboarded students, and a system that has graded thousands of pages of work. Jackson’s goal as a tutor was simple: to help students excel academically, but as he expanded his customer base, he recognized a consistent pattern: students, regardless of their school, grade level, or background, wait weeks to receive feedback on their assessments. 

This delay wasn’t just a logistical issue; it represents a significant barrier to learning and progress. By the time students receive feedback, they’ve often moved on to new units, forgotten the reasoning behind their answers, and, in the worst scenarios, are already preparing for exams without reviewing their previously submitted work. 

The question was: Why does it take so long for students to receive feedback, which is proven to meaningfully impact performance? To find the answer, our team spoke with hundreds of teachers across the US and Canada. Teachers are overwhelmed with responsibility, but the primary goal is to educate, not spend countless hours grading worksheets. The consensus amongst teachers was clear: grading is by far the worst part of the job: it’s time-consuming, hard to remain consistent, and it, unfortunately, involves zero teacher-student interaction. Ultimately, when it comes to grading, the status quo isn’t just a problem for students; it’s a problem for teachers, too. 

There was a clear need for a system that could alleviate the teachers’ burden and enhance the student learning experience with timely, personalized feedback. As a result, we built version 1 of the Teztus system, an AI-powered platform to help educators grade assignments and exams of any kind.

A look at the TeztUs interface

Our journey from conception to execution has been anything but straightforward. However, with an entirely technical team, domain expertise, and a passion for solving a problem that impacts learners everywhere, our team refined the MVP, secured paid pilots with prestigious high schools, and started grading thousands of pages of student work. The swift adoption of our platform validated our mission, underscoring the market’s need for educational innovation. 

Our venture, Teztus, is more than just a business—it’s a testament to the power of identifying and addressing a genuine need in the market. It’s a story of how a simple part-time college job can evolve into a mission to improve educational experiences for teachers and students alike.

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