This is how students cheat online exams: “He went from failing to outstanding without learning anything”

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Automatic tools that use algorithms to correct online homework and exams from schools with virtual teaching allow students to use techniques to trick them into obtaining the highest marks by only entering keywords at the end of the answer, without actually learning anything .

He went from Failure to Outstanding without learning anything
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Edgenuity is an American company specialized in solutions for the education sector, including a tool that through an algorithm is capable of evaluating written tests automatically. History professor at the University of Riverside (United States) Dana Simmons has posted on her Twitter account how her 12-year-old son Lazare was evaluated by the Edgnuity algorithm in a short answer task for the history course in high school.

Obtaining a grade of 50 out of 100, Simmons and his son, “overcome by stress and doubts” according to his mother, tried different methods to improve their results with the Edgenuity evaluating algorithm. First, they tried filling in long answers simply by modeling other questions in the test. This technique allowed them to obtain grades of 80 points out of 100.

Later, Lazare discovered that by writing two complete sentences followed by an indiscriminate list of “all possible keywords”, the Edgenuity algorithm always scored the task with 100 points out of 100. “It went from failure to excellent without learning anything”, has assured Simmons.

For its part, the company that developed the evaluation technology has defended itself on Twitter arguing that “Edgenuity does not use algorithms to replace the evaluation of teachers, but only to assist them with grades”. “Teachers have the ability to accept or modify the suggested grades,” said Edgenuity, who added that “the tests are never evaluated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and students’ grades are never determined by AI.

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