One Education Leader Is Calling on Academics to Rethink Assessment Strategies Amid the Emergence of AI

One Education Leader Is Calling on Academics to Rethink Assessment Strategies Amid the Emergence of AI

Taking exams is often one of the most poignant of school memories, however, what would once strike fear in the hearts of students is now becoming less of a worry thanks to the emergence of sophisticated AI programs that can fool many of the most popular plagiarism checkers.

Education leader, Dr Ryan Thomas Williams, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland and author of Think Piece: Ethics for the Virtual Researcher believes that lecturers must review the way in which their courses are assessed to prevent students from getting the highest grades using questionable methods.

According to Dr Williams, savvy students have now discovered ways to prevent their plagiarised work from showing up on platforms like Turnitin. With the emergence of AI and specifically ChatGPT, students can now produce high-quality essays without doing any work themselves, making it next to impossible for lecturers to pick up on which essays are authentic and which have been created using AI.

Speaking on plagiarism among students, he says, “The growing popularity of AI is particularly alarming for lecturers. Not only does it devalue the work of hardworking students who deserve their high grades, but it also means we’re seeing others graduating without actually knowing any of their course content. I think it’s important that we look at new ways of grading students, outside of the traditional essays that are now open to interference from AI. One solution for lecturers who want to crack down on grade-boosting AI platforms is to adopt an increasingly formative assessment approach. This would involve giving students a final grade based on ongoing class-based examinations like presentations, debates, group work that take place throughout the school year.

“Another solution is going back to in-person examinations, but I do agree with some of the very valid concerns over whether these exams are a good measure of a student’s ability.”

Dr Thomas understands that the role AI plays in our society is transforming, especially within the education industry. If academics want to get the best out of their students, they have to embrace AI in academia. However, in order to ensure equality, it needs to be a collective effort to rethink how we measure learning and grading.

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