A call to action: a systematic review of ethical and regulatory issues in using process data in educational assessment

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Analysis of user-generated data (for example process data from logfiles, learning analytics, and data mining) in computer-based environments has gained much attention in the last decade and is considered a promising evolving field in learning sciences. In the area of educational assessment, the benefits of such data and how to exploit them are increasingly emphasised. Even though the use of process data in assessment holds significant promise, the ethical and regulatory implications associated with it have not been sufficiently considered. To address this issue and to provide an overview of how ethical and regulatory requirements interface with process data from assessments in primary and secondary education (K-12), we conducted a systematic literature review. Initial results showed that few studies considered ethical, privacy and regulatory issues in K-12 assessment, prompting a widening of the search criteria to include research in higher education also, which identified 22 studies. The literature that was relevant to our research questions represented an approximate balance in the number of theoretical and empirical studies. The studies identified as relevant interpret issues of privacy largely in terms of informed consent and the research pays little attention to ethical and privacy issues in the use of process data in assessment. The implications for the field of educational assessment and the use of process data are discussed. This includes the need to develop a specific code of ethics to govern the use of process- and logfile data in educational assessment.




Murchan, D., & Siddiq, F. (2021). A call to action: a systematic review of ethical and regulatory issues in using process data in educational assessment. Large-Scale Assessments in Education, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40536-021-00115-3

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