Increasingly, algorithms are being used in education, including allocating student grades. If you were in charge, what decisions would you make for a fairer grading system? How would you design an algorithm? Play our 'algorithm game' and we’ll guide you through some of the fairness challenges based on the 2020 UK exam controversy. An algorithm game invites you to learn and think about how algorithms work, such as how different inputs lead to different outputs. Our game also aims to provide insights into the complexity of fairness issues in using algorithms. Let's start.
1. What do you think?
The problem Ofqual faced
2. What would you do?
The algorithm game (an interpretation of the Ofqual algorithm)
What makes up our algorithm?
The actual Ofqual algorithm accounted for a multiple features (like how grades are distributed across the country, and how accurate teacher predictions tend to be), but in our algorithm game we’re just going to have two inputs:
Ranking of students by teacher
Using historical grades of a school
In this algorithm game, for our subject, 'Critical Data Studies' (CDS) we have created distributions for each of the the students' three schools, based on imaginary average data for the previous years. We can use this to see where our three students sit compared to those historic grade distributions.
3. We have two inputs. What do you think is most important?
The testing centre problem
But there's a further fairness issue. While there are a range of reasons that small testing centres exist, they are more likely to be private schools. As a result, there were concerns that private schools were being unfairly exempted from having their grades algorithmically moderated, and that this might benefit students who might already have various structural benefits.
4. So, what would you do?
5. What do you think now?