SIGLTA meeting on Thursday 23rd May: Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Changing the Face of Formative and Summative Assessment

SIGLTAYou are cordially invited to attend the Special Interest Group in Language Testing and Assessment (SIGLTA) meeting. SIGLTA is a postgraduate student-led reading/research group within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

The meeting is at 17:00-18:30 on Thursday 23/05/2019 in room 1173, Avenue Campus (building 65), and will be led by Dr. Rose Clesham, the Director of Academic Standards and Measurement, Global Assessment, Pearson.

Abstract: Millions of English as a Second Language students are taught and assessed each year on both receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills for entry into English speaking universities or professions. These tests are high stakes and prospective candidates apply from across the world. So how can these skills be tested with high validity, reliability and lack of bias and obtain almost immediate feedback, accurate scoring and diagnostic information? This talk will describe and demonstrate how research and advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have changed the way one of these testing agencies assesses and measures oral, aural, reading and written skills, on a global scale, using large worldwide data sets. Artificial Intelligence as a concept is not new, dating back over seventy years. However, enormous computing power and algorithmic advances now available enables AI and automated machine decision-making to effortlessly process big data and it is applied to many areas of society, from banking to entertainment.

In an educational assessment context, these AI technologies can be used for formative or summative purposes, and may in time replace both national and international tests and assessments. Public perception in this area has often focused on the lack of human interaction and judgement when automated marking technologies are used. This talk will demonstrate that in many ways, the opposite is true. The use of artificial technologies allows the judgement of hundreds of human assessors to work in unison, increasing validity in terms of broader content representation, and removing bias and low reliability issues. These technologies also significantly reduce teacher workload in terms of marking student work, yet still allow teachers to benefit from diagnostic feedback on their students, and releases valuable time to facilitate personalised learning.

The speaker: Rose is the Director of Academic Standards and Measurement, working in Global Assessment at Pearson. Her career started in teaching, and teacher education, before moving on to Governmental positions, responsible for running national assessment programmes in the UK. Her roles in Pearson have included leading Assessment Design and Research teams, carrying out national and international alignment and benchmarking studies, and presenting at major international conferences. Rose has also worked extensively on OECD PISA assessments, co-writing the 2015 Scientific Literacy Framework.

If you require any further information please send an email to or or see the SIGLTA Facebook page.

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