Due to concerns that students are using emerging artificial intelligence software to write essays, Australian universities have been forced to change the way exams and other assessments are administered.
Major universities have added new rules that state that using AI is cheating, and some students have already been caught using the software. However, one AI expert has warned that universities are engaged in a “arms race” that they will never win.
OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November, which generates text on any subject in response to a prompt or query, and it has already been banned across all devices in New York’s public schools due to concerns about its “negative impact on student learning” and potential for plagiarism.
In London, one academic tested it against a 2022 exam question and found the AI’s response to be “coherent, comprehensive, and sticks to the points, something students frequently fail to do,” adding that he would have to “set a different kind of exam” or deny students internet access in the future.
Universities in Australia have expressed concern about ChatGPT and similar technology’s ability to avoid anti-plagiarism software while providing quick and credible academic writing.
Because of emerging technology, the Group of Eight leading universities – the country’s leading research-intensive universities – have revised how they will conduct assessments this year.
“Our universities have revised how assessments will be administered in 2023, including supervised exams… increased use of pen and paper exams and tests… and only tests units with low integrity risks.
“Assessment redesign is critical, and our universities are working hard to stay ahead of AI developments.”
The latest academic integrity policy from the University of Sydney specifically mentions “generating content using artificial intelligence” as a form of cheating.
According to a university spokesperson, while few instances of cheating were observed and cases were generally of low quality, the university was preparing for change by redesigning assessments and improving detection strategies.
“We also know AI can help students learn and will be part of the tools we use at work in the future – so we need to teach our students how to use it legally,” they added.
The Australian National University has altered its assessment designs to emphasize laboratory activities and fieldwork, will time exams, and will include more oral presentations.