If your family is anything like mine, you spent several hours over the holidays playing with a new technology called ChatGPT. For those of you not familiar with ChatGPT, it’s an OpenAI program that can write…well, anything. I’ve asked it to write a sonnet comparing Bali and Mars, a narrative essay about a one-eyed dog that goes back in time and meets Leonardo da Vinci, and an answer to the question, “Do you think Star Trek: Discovery should be considered Star Trek canon, and why or why not?”
And yes, I’ve also asked it to write answers to several of the writing prompts in Imagine Edgenuity courses. Which it does exceedingly well.
As ChatGPT is now broadly (and freely) available to anyone, we know that students have already started using it to “help” them with their work in Imagine Edgenuity. We know that educators are concerned. So are we. We’ve already begun the conversations internally about what steps we can and should be taking to help teachers determine when AI was used to generate a written response.
What We Can Do Now
Along with ChatGPT, OpenAI also created a tool that can analyze a piece of writing and predict the likelihood that it was created by artificial intelligence. Teachers can access this tool for free here. In our testing, we’ve found it to be remarkably accurate. We highly recommend using this tool if a student has submitted work that seems out of character — more formally written than usual, slightly robotic, or with details that don’t match what you know about the student. For example, one of our teachers read an essay from a sixth grader that talked about the difficulties he had fitting in on his first day at a large, public high school; something was clearly off, and the AI detector confirmed it.
What We’re Working on for the Future
We will be incorporating this kind of detection within the Academic Integrity toolset available now in Imagine Edgenuity. Just as we can currently report on the percentage of a written response that appears online or has already been submitted by another student, we will provide information to teachers on whether AI was likely involved in crafting the text. We are working to have this feature available before the end of the current school year.
What Can Teachers Do to Promote Academic Integrity in Schools?
There are several things that teachers can do to ensure academic integrity in schools:
1. Clearly communicate expectations.
Teachers should make sure that students understand what is expected of them in terms of academic integrity. This can include guidelines for proper citation of sources, rules for collaboration on assignments, and consequences for academic dishonesty.
2. Use plagiarism detection tools.
There are a number of software tools available that can help teachers identify instances of plagiarism in students’ work. These tools can be especially helpful for detecting copied content from online sources.
3. Encourage responsible research practices.
Teachers can teach students how to properly research and cite sources and encourage them to ask for help if they are unsure how to do so.
4. Monitor for academic misconduct.
Teachers should be vigilant in looking for signs of academic misconduct, such as copied assignments or cheating on exams. If misconduct is suspected, teachers should follow the school’s policies for addressing it.
5. Promote a culture of academic integrity.
Teachers can set a positive example for students by demonstrating integrity in their own work and by stressing the importance of honesty in academic pursuits.
By taking these steps, teachers can help create a culture of academic integrity in their schools and ensure that all students are held to high standards of honesty and professionalism.
And, in case you didn’t notice: that entire last section was written by ChatGPT. Told you it was good.
About the author
Imagine Learning’s Vice President of Product Management, Courseware
A former classroom teacher, Deborah has also previously worked with an array of educational publishers and consulting organizations, including Scholastic Education, Kaplan K12 Learning Services, and the New York Times Learning Network. Her expertise includes curriculum planning and professional development, online and hybrid learning, instructional design, and product management/development.
Deborah holds a B.A. in Child Development from Tufts University and a master’s degree in Mathematics Education from Rutgers University. Her areas of academic focus have included early literacy, problem-based learning, and comparative studies in mathematics instruction.