AI has made exams even more important

AI has made exams even more important

The advance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already causing headaches for teachers, with students able to utilise the tech to complete homework and assignments.

While AI could bring astonishing benefits to society, we must be aware of the problems it can cause.

I have long advocated the importance of tests and exams for students so their progress can be monitored.

Exams allow parents, schools and higher education establishments to know where students stand academically. And the results are valuable for the students themselves.

They enable children to be judged against each other across the country. The information is invaluable.

There have been moves recently to try and reduce the number of exams or remove them completely. This becomes more absurd with the march of AI.

Without exams, assignments and coursework become more important, but with AI the results cannot be relied upon.

Therefore, work taken under supervision becomes that much more valuable.

What is happening in Scotland – the abolition of exams for 15 and 16-year-olds – will be disastrous.

Examinations are not perfect but they are the best available measure we have. This is why they have been in place for thousands of years.

Even without AI, there are difficulties with students doing coursework or assignments at home.

Middle-class students are at a huge advantage as they often have parents who have been to university.

How do we know the coursework that is being produced really comes from the student? Poorer students would not have access to this kind of support.

Tutors can also be employed by wealthier parents to help children complete coursework.

If there is any coursework to be done by schoolchildren, I would stipulate that it must be done under controlled circumstances in school, and under strict supervision.

Children would be allowed to bring a few notes and some planning and books to work from, but the coursework would be written and completed under timed conditions.

There would have to be very strict conditions to ensure that all the students were treated fairly and no advantages were had by anyone.

With students able to utilise AI, it necessarily follows that to assess their ability in the best possible way is through exams or work done under exam conditions.