The decision by the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to introduce computer- robots to mark the 2018 NAPLAN tests must not compromise the validity and authenticity of the data and testing process.
As the NSW SPC President, Chris Presland, explains:
“The SPC is not against online testing or computerised marking for multiple choice or true/false style answers. Following ACARA’s announcement there has obviously been a particular interest in the emergence of robot-marking, however I think this focus actually detracts from what we should be concerned about and that is ensuring there is a level playing field for all students and that we trust the testing process.”
Mr. Presland said that ultimately any changes to marking processes must be about ensuring the reliability of the data is maintained:
“Whether it’s about a robot marking tests, access to high speed broadband or having the appropriate hardware and technological equipment, what we’re actually looking for is reliable and consistent testing and marking. Standardised tests such as NAPLAN are generating enormous media and political interest and so it is crucial that we have total confidence in the process.
Given the high stakes culture that has developed around standardised testing in Australia, any move towards expanding the role of artificial intelligence in educational testing must be balanced with a commitment to ensuring the integrity, validity and reliability of the testing and marking environment.”
President, NSW Secondary Principals’ Council