ACS (Independent) exploring the use of artificial intelligence to invigilate exams, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

ACS (Independent) exploring the use of artificial intelligence to invigilate exams

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Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) is exploring the possibility of using artificial intelligence (AI) for invigilation during examinations.

It will be able to detect irregular behaviour among students and help reduce the manpower needed for school-based examinations, the school said.

It launched a tender in August on government procurement website GeBiz to develop and operate such a system, Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported on Sept 26.

In response to queries, ACS (I) principal Arene Koh said it had come up with the idea of e-invigilation for school-based exams through the use of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in 2019.

It was an in-house project with the aim of reducing the administrative workload of staff.

Cameras were placed strategically to ensure all areas and angles of the exam hall were captured during the trial.

He said live feed from the CCTVs was streamed to a screen inconspicuously positioned at the front of the hall through which designated invigilators could monitor students.

The invigilators were able to zoom in closer on screen if they spotted anything suspicious and observe the candidates with minimal disruption to the exams.

And if further action was needed, an invigilator will approach the candidate, he added.

The video footage from all cameras was recorded so that evidence could be presented in case of investigations.

Mr Koh said there was manpower savings of about 30 per cent during the exams, as invigilators did not have to spend as much time roving the hall.

ACS (I) deputy principal Terence Chiew, who had previously been teaching and invigilating, said the system has since been used for school-based exams held at the auditorium, where it is installed. It was also designed to ensure effective monitoring of all students in a way that would not affect their focus during exams.

Mr Koh said a review after the first trial identified the resolution of the CCTVs as a key area for improvement. They were later replaced with higher-resolution cameras, enabling invigilators a much clearer and accurate view of students taking the exams.

"Driven by the successful trials of this system and the advancement of image recognition algorithms available in the industry, ACS (I) is now exploring the possibility of leveraging AI technology, to further enhance our e-invigilation system," he added.

The AI system will analyse and identify anomalous actions like frequent head movements to the left or right, constant dropping of objects or frequent movement of hands from the table top to under the table.

In response to queries, a spokesman for the Ministry of Education said the trial conducted by ACS (I) will provide insights on the effectiveness of cameras and AI for invigilation during school-based examinations.

"Our schools adopt robust protocols in the conduct of school-based examinations including the invigilation process," he said.

"They have the autonomy to conduct trials that leverage technology to improve existing processes while upholding the integrity of school-based examinations."