Are your students taking a sneak peek into the world of Artificial Intelligence to ace their homework? We know how tech-savvy our kids can be! While technology can be beneficial for learning, it’s essential to maintain academic integrity and ensure that students are genuinely engaging with their coursework. Balancing technology’s advantages with responsible use is a crucial aspect of modern education. As educators, it’s a thrilling challenge to keep up with their ever-evolving ways. And now, another job got added to our overflowing plates – detecting AI use in homework. Here are 9 ways teachers can detect AI use in homework and identify if our clever students are getting a little AI assistance with their assignments.
Learn about AI
Familiarize yourself with AI-generated content: As a teacher, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of AI technology, including natural language processing and AI-generated text. This will help you recognize patterns and inconsistencies in students’ work.
Promote open communication
Talk to your students. Create a classroom environment where students feel comfortable discussing challenges they face in their assignments. Encourage them to seek help and support rather than resorting to AI-based shortcuts. We’ve said it here a million times – education is more about building relationships than conferring information. Prevention of AI use in homework is easier than detecting it later.
Make sure students understand the importance of academic integrity and the potential consequences of using AI or other unethical means to complete their homework. Does your school have an academic integrity policy? Use it.
Know your students
Get to know what your students’ writing looks like without artificial intelligence by having them write for you in school (presumably, you can monitor their AI use while they are in your classroom!). Look for abrupt shifts in writing style: AI-generated content may have sudden changes in tone, language, or writing style, especially if the student has copied and pasted different sections from different sources. As a rule, AI generators write consistent sentences – all equally complex and of similar length. Students tend not to write like that.
Understand AI’s shortcomings
Analyze grammar and syntax errors in your students’ writing. AI-generated content might be more prone to grammar mistakes or unnatural sentence structures. Look for odd phrasings or language that doesn’t align with the student’s usual writing abilities. For example, a student may write “The teacher gave their students lots of homework” but an AI generator might make a syntactical error such as “The teacher gave they students lot’s of homework.” Students are generally more likely to use the correct possessive pronoun “their” and are less prone to inserting inappropriate apostrophes in such contexts. Additionally, AI generators make factual errors. Famously, a New York lawyer filed a motion using AI which incorrectly cited cases.
Check for advanced vocabulary
If the student typically uses simple language but suddenly incorporates complex terms or phrases, it could be a sign of AI assistance. A student might write “The weather was very hot yesterday” but AI might generate the sentence “The meteorological conditions were torrid yesterday.” If you know your student’s natural vocabulary and writing style, you’ll recognize the AI generated sentence easily.
Speed and Quantity
If a student submits a large volume of exceptionally well-written work in a short period, it may raise suspicions of AI assistance. In my seventh grade class, a 4-5 sentence paragraph might take a student 15-20 minutes to write well. If your student produced an 8 sentence paragraph in 5 minutes, be suspicious!
Ask follow-up questions
If you suspect AI usage, engage the student in a discussion about their work. Ask them to explain specific concepts or elaborate on their thought process. This can help determine if they genuinely understand the content.
Utilize AI detection tools
There are various online tools available to detect plagiarism. If you’re suspicious, copy and paste some of your students’ work into these detection tools for analysis. Here are some AI detection tools that are useful:
I don’t know that I would depend on these tools completely. In a random test I conducted, I had mixed results. I compared a paragraph I copied from ChatGPT and a paragraph I wrote myself and these detectors were unable to positively identify which paragraph was which.
Let’s not get too comfy with AI doing all the heavy lifting, especially when it comes to homework. Yeah, it’s tempting to take the easy road, but cheating ain’t cool, folks! AI undeniably offers valuable assistance, streamlining research, providing insights, and enhancing learning experiences. However, as educators, we must emphasize that the true purpose of education extends beyond mere shortcuts and easy solutions. While AI is a powerful tool, it should never become a means to cheat or compromise academic integrity. As cool as AI is, let’s remember that real learning happens when we put in the effort, think critically, and come up with our own stuff. As we embrace the wonders of technology, let us continue fostering a culture of curiosity, critical thinking, and responsible use.