The Computer Aided Assessment Centre wrote to the Data Protection Commissioner (now Information Commissioner) to clarify to what extent computer aided assessment (CAA) came under the definition of automated decision making (under Section 12 of the Act). The Centre highlighted the possibility that contributing CAA marks could make a difference between a pass or a fail. The CAA Centre suggested that the following measures could be introduced in order to comply with the Act:
The response from the Data Protection Commissioner expressed doubts as to whether such a CAA system can be described as automated decision making, as the decision to pass or fail rests with human examiners. However, the response continued:
'On the basis that the system does involve automated decision making, I would suggest that two appropriate safeguards might be introduced. These would ensure that the students are aware before they sit exams of how marks will be conduced and allowing them to appeal against marks awarded. Provided that the appeal is considered by examiners and is not conducted in an automated way then it seems to me that the safeguards required by the Act will have been put in place.'
(Phil Boyd, Senior Compilance Manager, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, February 2000)
JISC has a Senior Management Briefing Paper about the Data Protection Act 1998 aimed at higher education.
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