Only 25% of the STAAR Test is Graded by Humans, The Rest is Graded by AI

Reported By Giovani De La Torre

For the last 13 years, students enrolled in Texas public schools in grades 3-8 and certain high school levels have been required to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test. According to the Texas Education Agency, The tests purpose is to help to ensure that Texas students are competitive with other students both nationally and internationally, along with gauging how well schools and teachers prepare their students academically. After the test’s first years of being fully taken online, a change in the grading process was inevitable, now with 25 percent of written responses being graded by humans, while the rest is graded with an automatic scoring engine.

 As technology advances, AI is moving along with it, taking over online and tech jobs, acting as a homework tool, and answering questions that students ask it. According to Keaton Peters of The Texas Tribune “Students sitting for their STAAR exams this week will be part of a new method of evaluating Texas schools: Their written answers on the state’s standardized tests will be graded automatically by computers.”

This is a big difference from the traditional grading method and can have some drawbacks as AI can potentially have its flaws in the future. Some AI companies with a larger traction and user base, like OpenAI, may become vulnerable to hackers changing their code. We may not be sure about how to get around this issue but at least we know there will be humans reviewing the scores that the AI may not have covered. Peters explains, “This spring, as students complete their tests, the computer will first grade all the constructed responses. Then, a quarter of the responses will be rescored by humans.” This somewhat alleviates the fear of any miscalculations in the AI grading system as we know there will be humans involved in it. “When the computer has ‘low confidence’ in the score it assigned, those responses will be automatically reassigned to a human.” Keaton Peters adds.

In conclusion, I believe AI being implemented into the grading system for something as big a deal as the STAAR isn’t the best idea because there are many risks involved as I have previously mentioned. This can either be a massive success or a great negative impact. But I think in the long run, mistakes are bound to happen, very impactful mistakes.

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