Exams

Only public confidence stopping us from using AI in marking, says AQA

AQA's boss said artificial intelligence could be used 'pretty much tomorrow morning' to mark markers

AQA's boss said artificial intelligence could be used 'pretty much tomorrow morning' to mark markers

Artificial intelligence could quality-assure exam markers from “tomorrow morning”, but “public confidence” was holding it back, according to AQA’s chief executive.

Colin Hughes said while ChatGPT in particular had attracted a lot of attention, “it may even be materially not very important or interesting” compared with other technologies.

He told the Schools and Academies Show how his organisation was interested in the potential for AI to mark and generate exam questions.

Exam board AQA chief executive Colin Hughes
Hughes

“We could use AI pretty much tomorrow morning to mark markers. Machines marking human markers … it’s very easy to do that.

“Why aren’t we saying we’re doing it? Public confidence. That’s the only issue. It’s fundamentally the same issue as driverless cars – they don’t knock down and kill so many people as humans, but still we don’t seem to want them.”

Dr Jo Saxton, Ofqual’s chief regulator, has previously said she would not allow robots to take over marking pupils’ work.

But she said AI had a place to do things “like quality assurance of human marking, spotting errors. But it cannot and will not replace humans. Ofqual is going to make sure of that.

Last month, AQA set out its timetable to move some of its exams on-screen – with a large entry subject like English going digital by 2030.

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