The push for automation because it is cheaper, and the link to increased corporate influence, such as by Pearson Education and Pearson Knowledge Technologies, over the education sector, is of concern.
In 2015 ACARA produced a report An Evaluation of Automated Scoring of NAPLAN Persuasive Writing, which explained that “automated scoring of writing uses computer algorithms designed to emulate human scoring. This is achieved by extracting linguistic features from essays and then using machine learning and modelling to establish a correspondence between these features and essay scores based on a sample of essays that have been scored by human markers”.
University of Melbourne Professor and Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) board chair John Hattie told ABC Fact Checker that automated marking was “stunningly successful” with computers five or six
times more accurate than humans, and cheaper.
The report concluded that the marking system “provided satisfactory (equivalent or better) results relative to human marking” and that the “transition to online delivery will provide a better targeted assessment, more precise measurements and a faster turnaround of results to students and schools”.