Protecting Exams in the AI Era: ChatGPT and Cheating 

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We don’t know about you, but it feels like we’ve read every think-piece, opinion article, and commentary on ChatGPT (and other AI for cheating) since its launch in November 2022.  And yet, every time we open our LinkedIn homepage, another “is AI the end of education?!” article graces our feed. I suppose we have to feed the beast and add to the noise ourselves because as much as we’d like to say “there’s no cause for concern”, sadly, there is.

As Artificial Intelligence continues to grow and integrate into various aspects of our lives, it has also found its way into the realm of assessments. It’s already passing high-stakes exams, getting high marks on essay questions, and diagnosing illnesses impressing even the most sceptical medical educators. While AI can be a valuable tool for enhancing education, it also poses new challenges in maintaining academic integrity. 

It isn’t just educators who think apps like ChatGPT can be used for cheating, either. In a recent poll, 51% of students agreed that using AI to write essays for assignments or exams is cheating. And 43% of test-takers admit to using AI for cheating. AI isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so the only way to move forward is to be aware of its risks and educate yourself on protecting your exams.

In our blog series dedicated to exploring the impact of AI on the education landscape, we will delve into the following cutting-edge topics:

AI Dishonesty Detection: What is E-Assessment Doing?

ChatGPT and E-assessment: Key Features to Prevent AI Cheating

A Culture of Honesty and Integrity: Protecting Your Candidate’s Exam Experience

ChatGPT and Exam Integrity Webinar with ICAS

In this article, we’ll explore how AI for cheating can be used on exams, review some of the current tools for detecting and preventing AI-assisted cheating, and provide a sneak peek into upcoming content focused on safeguarding educational integrity in the digital age.

The robot and human hands are shaking

AI-Assisted Cheating Methods

We’ve seen AI do everything from illustrating self-portraits in the style of Salvador Dali to passing high-stakes exams. There’s so many AI out there that it can be tough to keep up with all of it, so let’s break down some of the ways AI can affect e-assessment:

AI-generated Essays and Papers

Advanced language models, such as GPT-4, can generate human-like text, making it easier for students to create essays and research papers without putting in the required effort. These AI-generated texts are written at college-level writing and are often of high quality, making it difficult for instructors to identify them as illegitimate work.

AI-powered Bots

Bots that AI powers can be used to answer multiple-choice questions, solve mathematical problems, and even complete coding assignments. Students can employ these bots to complete exams quickly and with a high degree of accuracy.

AI-driven Plagiarism

AI can be used to generate paraphrased content, making it difficult to detect plagiarism through traditional means. With these advanced paraphrasing tools, students can easily repurpose existing work and pass it off as their own.

Tools to protect against AI for cheating in e-assessment platforms

Advanced Plagiarism Detection

To counter AI-driven plagiarism, advanced plagiarism detection tools such as Turnitin now use machine learning algorithms and natural language processing to identify AI written versus human written content, thus making it harder for students to submit plagiarised work. Turnitin has a vast number of human-submitted essays to learn from, so it can easily spot when a candidate has used AI to write. 

Secure Browser and Lockdown Technology

A standard anti-cheating measure e-assessment platforms generally have is using secure browsers or lockdown technology. These tools restrict access to unauthorised websites, applications, and resources during exams. Candidates are limited to viewing and interacting with the assessment platform only, preventing them from looking for answers online, using AI sites like ChatGPT, or using tools like screen sharing or messaging apps to cheat. 

Proctoring Solutions

Online proctoring solutions can either be an AI-assisted recording (where suspicious candidate behaviour is recorded and flagged), live proctoring (where a human watches via webcam, in real-time) or a combined two-pronged approach of AI and human supervision to monitor candidates during exams. These systems can detect unusual behaviour, such as accessing prohibited resources or using AI-powered tools, thus maintaining the integrity of the assessment process.

Upcoming content on safeguarding educational integrity

In our upcoming blog posts, we’ll dive deeper into the world of AI for cheating and explore potential solutions to preserve educational integrity in the digital age. Be sure to keep an eye out for what’s next! Some of the topics we’ll be covering include:

  • Detection: exploring the latest tools and techniques
    • Online proctoring: A deep dive into the evolving world of online proctoring and its role in maintaining exam integrity.
    • Turnitin: A closer look at Turnitin and its effectiveness as a plagiarism detection tool.
  • Prevention: focusing on proactive measures
    • Live proctoring: Exploring the role of human proctors in real-time monitoring of online exams and their collaboration with AI-based systems.
    • Educating test-takers: The importance of instilling a sense of integrity in test-takers, addressing the consequences of cheating, and promoting a culture of honesty in e-assessment.
    • Discovering alternative tools like Safe Exam Browser and new software upgrades for enhanced cheating prevention (e.g., time-to-answer tracking, copy-paste prevention).
  • The importance of the test-taker experience
    • Stress and performance: Examining the impact of stress on test-taker performance and ways to alleviate anxiety during the e-assessment process.
    • Enhancing the test-taker experience: Identifying strategies to create a more user-friendly and supportive environment for students, without compromising exam integrity.

We look forward to sharing these in-depth explorations and insights with you in our upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned as we continue to navigate the ever-evolving world of e-assessment and work towards ensuring fairness and integrity in online testing for all students.

Discover all the tools and features to detect when candidates use AI for cheating during the exams!

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Cristina Gilbert
Copywriter and digital content enthusiast, Cristina is motivated by the fast-paced world of e-assessment and the opportunities online exams give students to thrive.
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