Chat GPT and Academic Honesty
Dr. Terry McAdams,
Director of Technology, Research, and Innovation
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in schools is a balance between the potential benefits and the need to maintain academic integrity. Most recently, the natural language application, ChatGPT, has threatened to disrupt education significantly. Few would argue that this machine learning application helps generate ideas and improve writing, but there is a risk that students will use it to plagiarize and cheat on assignments.
Branksome Hall Asia is a global leader in using emerging technologies to enhance the learning experience. In 2022, we were shortlisted for the ISC Digital Technology in Learning award for our machine-learning initiative. Several students went on to receive national and international recognition, while two of them presented their AI wellness research at the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools symposium.
The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program is designed to encourage students to reflect on the nature of knowledge and the process of acquiring it. ChatGPT, as an AI language model, can be used as a real-world example to explore several key concepts in TOK.
While some schools have banned the use of ChatGPT, we believe it provides an opportunity to develop an understanding of the ethical implications of emerging technologies. While our academic honesty policy prohibits the submission of content generated by ChatGPT, we encourage our students to develop an understanding of this software.
Students who understand the limitations of AI-generated text are less likely to rely on it. Since the algorithm focuses on patterns, this leads to repetitive or formulaic language. The text also lacks the subtleties and complexities of human writing, such as tone, style, and perspective.
Most importantly, our assessment protocols are robust enough to deal with this new development. Since the process of learning is more important than acquiring content knowledge, assessment is incremental and not merely outcome-focused. Even if language tools like ChatGPT became so sophisticated that the limitations were eliminated, we would still be confident that we would be aware of plagiarism and cheating.