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AI used to curb exam cheating as Japanese universities hold tests online amid pandemic

This image provided by Obunsha Co. explains the workings of Check Point Z, an AI-based monitoring system developed by EduLab to prevent cheating on online exams.
This image provided by Obunsha Co. explains the workings of Check Point Z, an AI-based monitoring system developed by EduLab to prevent cheating on online exams.

TOKYO -- While an increasing number of universities have been holding online entrance exams due to the novel coronavirus, moves have been advancing to implement artificial intelligence (AI)-based monitoring systems to prevent cheating.

    Examinees primarily undergo interviews and take tests with their own computers at home and other locations during the online screening process. Cases of cheating that are expected to arise include having others take exams in the test taker's place, making online searches or viewing reference material that is not allowed, and receiving help from others.

    Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba will introduce a monitoring system using AI technology for English tests that are part of several types of entry processes for those applying to the university's Faculty of Foreign Languages including: a type of exam formerly known as AO (admissions office) entrance tests that were based on the assessment of various skills; exams for candidates recommended by their high schools; and a special screening process.

    The online monitoring system was developed by Space Concept, a Tokyo-based venture company of Waseda University. AI technology determines whether the examinee is the same person pictured in photos registered in advance, and also checks for any suspicious activity during exams.

    Taisho University, also based in the capital, will incorporate the AI-monitored exam for online Japanese, English, and short reading comprehension tests for candidates recommended by their high schools who are applying to all faculties. The university uses the online monitoring system Check Point Z, developed by EduLab, a Tokyo-based company offering educational services. The system apparently has a control function that makes it impossible to boot other apps on computers, as well as a feature that records screens when examinees somehow find a way to boot apps while taking exams, in order to prevent cheating. Several universities have contacted Obunsha Co., which has been providing universities with services using the monitoring system, according to the company.

    However, AI, which also makes use of webcams to monitor examinees during tests, is not always errorless. It is difficult to determine what actions constitute cheating, as some examinees stare into space or lower their gaze while they are thinking. Atsushi Watanabe, a staff member of Taisho University's admission center, said, "Responsible staff members and others will make careful considerations regarding gestures that are difficult to judge as cheating."

    (Japanese original by Hitomi Maruyama, Educational Project Office)

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