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Computers to mark exam papers

The owner of Edexcel, one of England's three big exam boards, will use artificial intelligence to automatically mark exam essays in the UK from next month.

Pearson,...

The owner of Edexcel, one of England's three big exam boards, will use artificial intelligence to automatically mark exam essays in the UK from next month.

Pearson, the parent of Edexcel, plans to use computers for reading and assessing English tests, according to the Times Educational Supplement (TES).

Pearson plans to use introduce the technology to mark examination essays as part of the new Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) from 6 October.

The company told the TES that the system had the same accuracy as human markers, but eliminated human elements such as tiredness and subjectivity.

Tim Oates, research director of Cambridge Assessment, which owns the OCR examination board, said that it was only a matter of time before automated systems would be deployed extensively in education.

But teachers have raised concerns that automated marking will not pick up the subtleties of English, and could put pressure on students to write for the computer, rather than for human readers.

The Pearson system uses computers that are trained to mark from scripts marked by humans so they can learn to achieve the same results on their own.

The PTE Academic, which is being rolled out in 20 countries, is designed to help English-speaking universities assess the English skills of potential students.

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