What will edtech mean for our exam system?

Last month, the House of Commons Education Select Committee heard evidence from Duncan Baldwin, of the Association of School and College Leaders, that technology, and, in particular, online when-ready testing, could spell the end of the summer exam season, and release the financial stranglehold of exam boards on schools.This otherwise very welcome intervention needs to be seen in the context of the wider debate. We must remember the relevance of formal examinations in a world in which the regurgitation of facts cuts less and less ice in terms of future portfolio careers and lifelong learning. Employers are thinking of new ways of filtering applicants using online tests of aptitude and intelligence.The prognosis involves less testing spread over a longer period, which, on the face of it, would be welcome from an educational standpoint. But it begs a more fundamental question.It is assumed that assessment using AI would streamline the process, but if, in fact, it leads to greater dependence on banks of pre-tested items based on multiple-choice, true/false or fill-in-the-missing-item answers, then we have to ask: what will be lost?

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