Could AI Replace Student Testing?


Image: MOTHERBOARD
Image: MOTHERBOARD/Josh Davis/Flickr
Artificial intelligence-based systems could provide constant feedback to students and teachers.

By Michael Byrne | MOTHERBOARD

To call standardized testing a contentious issue would be an understatement. It’s more like political trench warfare, in which one group of parents laments the organic student-centered approaches of yore while another freaks out about math problems they think are too politically correct. Critics often bemoan standardized testing as fostering assembly line education and „teaching to the test“ while ignoring more abstract learning outcomes like creativity and critical thinking. Standardized testing is also expensive and time-consuming.

On the other hand, we should expect some sort of accountability in education, right? Schools are expensive, and, as new industries demand more educated workers, the stakes are higher than ever when it comes to the global economy and class mobility. Developed economies no longer have the safety net of middle-class manufacturing jobs. Whatever Trump says, that’s permanent.

In a commentary published this week in Nature Human Behavior, Rose Luckin, an education researcher at University College London, argues that we now have a realistic alternative to standardized testing „at our fingertips.“ Technology exists to build realistic education assessments based on artificial intelligence in which students can be evaluated individually and at deep, fine-grained scales. Luckin says that AI has the capability of opening up the „black box“ of learning.

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