AI and cheating

Last changed: 13 December 2023

If a student uses unauthorized aid during the exam or plagiarizes material, it is cheating. As a teacher, being clear about what is allowed in terms of generative AI on an exam or similar is therefore increasingly important.

According to the Education Handbook, teaching staff should prevent cheating and plagiarism by:

  • conscious pedagogy
  • clear instructions for assignments and independent work (degree theses)
  • well-thought-out examination forms
  • inform about and use plagiarism tracking services

What types of AI aid should then be allowed for students? Once upon a time, being able to spell correctly was an important generic skill, but today the use of the spelling function in Word or similar programs is probably seen as relatively uncontroversial. (Note that most of the spelling tools features will also be based on AI).

In addition, generative AI is currently being integrated into Office 365, Microsoft Bing and Google's search tools and more. This means that in many cases the students will not even know that they have used AI.

Can we continue with home exams?

The home exam where the students have to write a PM or similar has never been completely legally secure. Letting others (friends, "kind" parents or commercial players) write the student's essays has been around for a very long time. Already in Linnaeus' time, you could buy a written thesis.

However, it has now become fast, easy and accessible for everyone to be able to get a relatively well-written text in seconds. Therefore, think carefully about whether you can really continue to use the home exam as a form of examination? If, as a teacher, you still want to continue with home exams, use complex forms of examination, i.e. feel free to combine a home exams with an oral examination.

Are our plagiarism check systems not working?

No, existing plagiarism control systems such as Ouriginal can't find AI generated text. Original texts are written every time a person uses a chatbot, so it is not plagiarism in the usual sense. However, there is software that claims to be able recognize AI-written text.

Software to detect AI written text? 

In a recent study, 12 of the most common detection systems on the market were examined and the conclusion was that they were not very reliable. (Weber-Wulff et. al., 2023). 

There are also always ways to get around technology-assisted control systems and most students probably won't just let an AI write the entire text for a home exam or similar. Rather, it is about an AI-facilitated writing process where the user alternately writes himself, alternately together with the AI ​​support. (Pettersson Sword, 2023) 

But how will AI and chatbots affect the way we teach? 

Future will, but what is clear is that AI is here to stay. The issue of AI and cheating can best be addressed by:    

  1. Well thought through and complex examination strategies.
  2. A good information process (for both teachers and students).

Also remember that AI will be an obvious part of the students' future professional life, so we must also learn together to handle it in a sensible way and see how we can utilize and integrate the technology in teaching without it simultaneously leading to cheating.

Checklist to reduce the risk of cheating with the help of AI! 

  • Inform yourself about the possibilities of AI!   
  • Inform the students that you, as a teacher, are aware of the possibilities of AI support and discuss with the students about rules and norms for academic writing    

  • Make sure you are clear about when using AI is allowed and how the students are supposed to report if they use AI in an ssignment.    

  • Emphasize the importance of source criticism, both in general and in an AI context!    

  • Think through what and how you want to assess. For example, are you assessing subject knowledge or the ability to write?    

  • Use complex forms of examination, i.e. combine different examination methods such as PM and oral examination.    

  • Let the students be co-creators of the exam where the students develop and write questions, answers and assessment criteria. The teacher then selects what is used in the exam.    

  • Shift the focus from summative to formative assessment, i.e. follow the students' learning process and assess not only the end result but milestones in the process towards the learning goals!    

  • Use part-time seminars where the students can describe how they intend to structure the material and how they went about finding their sources. Let them present their half-finished essays to your teacher and their classmates.   
  • Look for changed language in the essays. Does the student usually express him- or herself in this way or do you see major changes within a submitted assignment or compared to previously submitted assignments?

  • Examining the ability to write? If you want to examine the students' ability to write well-structured texts with good language on their own, it may be wise to use a supervised classroom exam where the students do not have access to the internet and AI support    

  • Be sure to follow up on students' references and make sure they also include page references in their citations. Not all chatbots provide credentials. In addition, they sometimes also generate made-up references (it's called the chatbot is hallucinating)    

  • Link the writing assignments to other parts of the course such as excursions, labs, seminars, lectures. The more specific details about a specific course session element required in the task, the more difficult it will be for the AI ​​tools to write a good text    

  • Ask students to be more personal in their writing and/or
    • write logbooks about their learning and the tasks on the course
    • describe what they learned during the course, and how this knowledge can help them in their future professions?

Finally, try to integrate AI into teaching in a constructive way!


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