Students could use AI to cheat, but it’s a chance to rethink assessment entirely

Students could use AI to cheat, but it’s a chance to rethink assessment entirely


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ChatGPT is a powerful language model developed by OpenAI that has the ability to generate human-like text, making it capable of engaging in natural language conversations. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with computers and has already begun to be embedded in various industries.

However, the implementation of ChatGPT in the UK higher education field poses a number of challenges that need to be carefully considered. If ChatGPT is used to grade assignments or tests, there is a chance that it may be biased against certain groups of students.

For example, ChatGPT is more likely to give higher marks to students who write in a style with which it is more familiar, which could lead to unfair grading practices. Additionally, if ChatGPT is used to replace human instructors, it could perpetuate existing inequities in the education system, such as the underrepresentation of certain demographic groups in certain fields of study.

There is also the possibility that ChatGPT is used to cheat on tests or assignments. Since it is capable of generating human-like text, ChatGPT could be used to write assignments or entire essays, making it difficult for educators to spot cheating.

For example, ChatGPT (which stands for “generative pretrained transformer”) might be asked to “write an essay on the challenges ChatGPT poses in higher education in the UK.” In fact, the first four paragraphs of this article were written by ChatGPT, in response to this exact request.

ChatGPT’s response (and this is its human author typing now) actually totaled over four paragraphs as it went on to articulate its inability to fully replicate the real-world expertise and experience that human teachers bring to the classroom. This particular line of inquiry made me appreciate both his concern for the safety of my job and something cynical about his Machiavellian designs to win me over.

In my research and teaching, I am involved in developing evaluation and feedback processes that enrich the student experience, while equipping them with the skills they need upon graduation.

The truth is, if you were looking at 200 papers submitted by undergraduate freshmen on this topic, you’d probably approve of ChatGPT’s efforts. But far from being concerned about the challenges this AI program might pose, I see it as an opportunity to improve the way we assess learning in higher education.

find opportunities

For me, the biggest challenge that ChatGPT presents is one that I should consider anyway: how can I make my reviews more authentic, meaningful, useful, and relevant? Authentic assessments are designed to measure students’ knowledge and skills in a way that is uniquely suited to their own lives and future careers.

These assessments often involve tasks or activities that closely mirror the challenges students may encounter in real life, requiring them to apply knowledge and skills in a problem-solving or practical context. Specific examples might include asking a group of engineering students to collaborate on a community problem as part of the Engineers Without Borders challenge, or inviting environmental science students to organize an art show at a local gallery exploring the local impact of the climate crisis.

While there will always be a need for essays and written assignments, especially in the humanities where they are essential to help students develop a critical voice, do we really need all students to write the same essays and answer the same questions? Could we instead give them autonomy and agency, and in doing so help make their assessments more engaging, inclusive, and ultimately authentic?

As educators, we can even use ChatGPT directly to help us develop such assessments. So instead of asking the question that sparked the beginning of this article, you could present students with ChatGPT’s answer along with some grading instructions and ask them to provide critique on what grade the autoresponder deserves and why.

Such an assessment would be much more difficult to plagiarize. I would also invite students to develop their critical thinking and feedback skills, which are essential when they graduate to enter the workforce, no matter what their profession. Alternatively, ChatGPT could be used to generate scenario-based tasks that require students to analyze and solve problems they may encounter in their future careers.

This feels like Pandora’s box time for assessment in higher education. Whether we decide to embrace ChatGPT in our quest for authentic assessment or passively acknowledge the ethical dilemmas it might present for academic integrity, there is real opportunity here. This might help us reflect on how we assess our students and why this might need to change. Or, in the AI’s own words:

“ChatGPT could be a useful tool for creating authentic assessments, but it would still be up to the instructor to design and implement the assessment in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their students.”

The sophistication and capability of AI technologies are accelerating. Instead of reacting in fear, we need to find and embrace the positives. Doing so will help us think about how we can specifically tailor student assessment and provide better and more creative support for their learning.

Provided by The Conversation

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Citation: ChatGPT: Students could use AI to cheat, but it’s a chance to rethink assessment entirely (2023, Jan 19) Retrieved Jan 19, 2023 from -chatgpt-students-ai-chance -rethink.html

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