AI ChatGPT raises schools’ concerns of cheating


Advanced AI: OpenAI launched ChatGPT as a developmental AI model on Nov. 30 of last year.

Theoden Melgar, Sports Editor

ChatGPT (Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) released at the end of last November, quickly drawing attention as a cheat code for high school and college students. Users can type a prompt into the ChatGPT website and receive a detailed AI-generated response. The current model has the ability to generate essays and hold conversations during queries. Open AI, a company specializing in artificial intelligence research, debuted the product while researching AI.

Most plagiarism detectors also don’t work on AI generated text yet, so teachers can’t prove whether students completed written assignments themselves or if it was the handiwork of ChatGPT. With how advanced and yet highly accessible the technology is for students, AI’s role in education is uncertain.

“The way that the AI writing tool gets better is it gets more human… and I think it’s going to figure that out, how to sound more and more human,” Todd Finley, an associate English professor at East Carolina University, said via NBC News. “And it seems to be that that’s also going to make it more difficult to spot.”

Los Angeles Unified High School District (LAUSD) temporarily blocked access to ChatGPT and the OpenAI website in December “to protect academic dishonesty, while a risk/benefit assessment is conducted.” Oakland Unified in California and Seattle Public Schools have also opted to block ChatGPT for now, in part because it creates human-like responses that can be difficult to detect.

Superintendent Michael Matsuda said in a video on the AUHSD youtube channel, AUHSD communications, that the district doesn’t have a policy yet, but he hinted one is under pending review. Not many schools have definitively banned ChatGPT yet, leaving it up to individual teachers to decide how to proceed.

Counter arguments in support of ChatGPT argue that it helps students learn more rapidly, through the bot’s ability to hold a conversation. Adam Stevens, a high school history teacher interviewed by nonprofit newspaper ChalkBeat New York, sees it as a valuable tool to promote — not limit — critical thinking. Students can evaluate the program’s initial response to a prompt, then consider how to improve it through revision. ChatGPT also lacks the nuance and complexity in reasoning often associated with human-written essays, and other teachers say it shows how students’ honest work in certain aspects can’t be replaced by a bot.

As for now, counter measures and guidelines are being discussed to prevent students from cheating by using theAI. OpenAI recently released a new tool to detect AI generated text, and other similar softwares have also been developed to catch AI written text. Although countermeasures are already on the way for educators to maintain appropriate use of the AI, the tool still has its fair share of faults.

“We really don’t recommend taking this tool in isolation because we know that it can be wrong and will be wrong at times – much like using AI for any kind of assessment purposes,” Lama Ahmad, policy research director at OpenAI, told CNN. “We are emphasizing how important it is to keep a human in the loop.”