top of page

Algorithms and the problem of educational equity

Max Gruber / Better Images of AI / Clickworker Abyss / CC-BY 4.0

The possible use of artificial intelligence (AI) in everyday school life comes with many uncertainties. In addition to didactic and pedagogical challenges, crucial questions arise regarding educational equity. The far-reaching promises of fairer (because radically personalized) educational processes are countered by warnings about the risks of algorithmic discrimination.


Both positive and negative potentials of artificial intelligence are linked to the very ways in which AI works: AI identifies patterns in existing data and is therefore prone to reproducing existing patterns of disadvantaging. The rules according to which AI proceeds are mostly unknown and can often not be explicated – they hence also cannot be justified and evade critical reflection.


In the project "Algorithmic Sorting in Education" (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation/ SNSF), we inquire into the relationship between digital technologies and educational inequalities from a sociological perspective. The focus is on the question of how AI-supported technologies are given a concrete form in the interplay of technological, pedagogical, administrative, and political processes and logics and how certain modes of use are established.


Our project benefits from the cooperation with our project partners - colleagues from technology development, from educational administration, and from other universities.


The project is part of the broader efforts of the Zurich University of Tacher Education to create a space for empirically based reflection, critical analysis and the collaborative design of digital learning environments.

bottom of page