AI technology looks for cheaters during college entrance exams in Northeast China

By Ji Yuqiao and Chen Xi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/8 23:48:10

Visitors communicate with a robot displayed in the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai in October. File Photo: Xinhua

For the first time, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province has incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) technology into its national college entrance examinations, or gaokao, to monitor candidates for illegal behavior such as cheating.

The AI system introduced in the province and put into use on Tuesday is able to analyze video files sent back from examination halls to detect suspected violations, according to a report from the China News Service. 

The AI bases its analysis on the behavior and facial expressions of candidates recorded by cameras installed in examination rooms. 

“The system can basically recognize typical cheating behavior and sharply increase the efficiency of supervision work,” Liu Jian, an technician in charge of data work in the province’s Education Department, told the China News Service.

Liu said that after examinations, each test site will upload the surveillance videos, which the provincial Admissions and Examination Office will then download and analyze.

“For example, for the exams held in the morning [on Tuesday], the surveillance videos were uploaded to the cloud that afternoon. The entire analysis process will be completed by around July 15 or 16,” he added. As a single city in the province can have more than 1,500 exam sites, the system is meant to increase efficiency.

Using AI technology to detect cheating has the approval of education experts and teachers.

“It is the right way to use AI technology in education as it can maintain discipline and fairness during examinations,” Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the Shanghai-based 21st Century Education Research Institute, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Two teachers from Beijing and Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality said they are in favor of using AI technology to help supervise examinations.

Chen Jing, an English teacher at the Experimental High School under Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times that AI technology can be very helpful for supervisors since they cannot possibly keep an eye on an entire classroom of students all at once. Pu Huilin, a teacher at Chongqing Nankai Middle School, agrees.

The teachers, however, showed some concern about the psychological pressure that this high-tech monitoring system could bring students.
“I worry that some students will be so afraid that the AI will suspect them of cheating that they won’t dare to even move during exams, which will divert their attention away from answering questions,” Chen said.

Outside of supervising examination rooms, Xiong said he disapproved of the use of AI technology to monitor students in class.

Some schools have installed AI systems in classrooms to ensure students behave well in class, a move which has sparked huge controversy in China. Xiong said doing so should be considered a violation of students’ privacy. 


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