Flawed AI algorithms grade student essays in multiple US states

Occurred: August 2019

AI-powered systems used to score the essay portions of standardised tests in the US suffer from bias and other issues, according to a media investigation.

Citing research studies, Motherboard reported that so-called 'automated essay scoring engines' used by 21 US states demonstrated bias against certain demographic groups. 

These included e-rater, an engine developed and run by the nonprofit Educational Testing Service (ETS), which was found to have given  higher scores to some students, particularly those from mainland China, than did expert human graders.  

ACCUPLACER, a machine-scored test owned by the College Board, failed to reliably predict female, Asian, Hispanic, and African American students’ eventual writing grades.

Furthermore, some systems can be fooled by nonsense essays with 

Developer: ACCUPLACER; American Institutes for Research (AIR); Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Country: USA
Sector: Education
Purpose: Assess and score student essays
Technology: NLP/text analysis; Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - race, ethnicity; Ethics/values
Transparency: Governance

News, commentary, analysis 🗞️