Children taking the IB WILL be allowed to use ChatGPT to write essays

Children taking the International Baccalaureate WILL be allowed to use AI chatbot ChatGPT to write their essays

  • IB said essay writing is ‘profoundly challenged by the rise of new technology’
  • Uni student used ChatGPT to pen a 2,000-word essay that got a pass grade
  • One London school claims the software could soon spell the end of homework

Controversial AI tool ChatGPT has already been banned in schools across the world over fears it encourages cheating and laziness. 

But the International Baccalaureate (IB), which offers an alternative to A-levels, is bucking this trend by permitting the use of ChatGPT to write essays.

Students undertaking IB programmes will be able to quote passages generated by the chatbot – as long as they do not try to pass it off as their own words. 

Created by San Francisco-based company OpenAI, the tool has been trained on a massive amount of text so it can generate human-like responses to questions. 

A university student has already used ChatGPT to write a 2,000-word essay that got a 2:2 grade, although the lecturer called the language used ‘fishy’. 

Students undertaking IB programmes will be able to quote passages generated by the chatbot – as long as they do not try to pass it off as their own words 

According to Matt Glanville, head of assessment principles and practice at IB, essay-writing is being ‘profoundly challenged by the rise of new technology’. 

What is ChatGPT? 

ChatGPT is a large language model that has been trained on a massive amount of text data, allowing it to generate eerily human-like text in response to a given prompt 

OpenAI says its ChatGPT model has been trained using a machine learning technique called Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF).

This can simulate dialogue, answer follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge incorrect premises and reject inappropriate requests.

It responds to text prompts from users and can be asked to write essays, lyrics for songs, stories, marketing pitches, scripts, complaint letters and even poetry. 

The IB offers four educational programmes that are taken by thousands of pupils each year at more than 120 British schools – but it’s seen students buying essays from the internet ‘for many years’. 

‘The clear line between using ChatGPT and providing original work is exactly the same as using ideas taken from other people or the internet,’ Glanville told the Times.

‘As with any quote or material adapted from another source, it must be credited in the body of the text and appropriately referenced in the bibliography.’ 

OpenAI built ChatGPT by training it with 570 GB of data collected from books, webtext, Wikipedia, articles and other online writings. 

The responses that the bot generates are effectively a summary of all these inputs, making it a legitimate source to quote from. 

Anyone – including children – can use ChatGPT as long as they sign up with a name, email address and phone number. 

‘To submit AI-generated work as their own is an act of academic misconduct and would have consequences – but that is not the same as banning its use,’ Glanville said. 

The ‘extraordinary’ technology shouldn’t be seen as ‘a threat’ but rather considered in the same category as spell-checking software and translation apps, he added. 

‘We must accept that it is going to become part of our everyday lives. 

‘If an AI programme can indeed convincingly answer an exam question in the style of an 18-year-old student, why not take advantage of that fact in today’s teaching and learning?’ 

The International Baccalaureate (IB) has seen students buying essays from the internet ‘for many years’. The tool came up with a simply-worded yet detailed response to ‘When was the Battle of Hastings?’ 

Globally, schools and universities have already banned ChatGPT due to its ability to produce essay-length responses that sound like they’ve been written by a human. 

Student uses ChatGPT to write essay – although lecturer calls language ‘fishy’ – READ MORE

A snippet of the essay written by the controversial AI software – which a university lecturer said was ‘fishy’ but was reminiscent of essays written by ‘waffling, lazy’ students

New York’s education department has banned the tool over ‘concerns about negative impacts on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of contents’. 

In Australia, schools and universities blocked access to ChatGPT on internet networks to attempt to prevent students from cutting corners in assessments and exam essays. 

Students who have submitted ChatGPT-penned essays have had good results – one University of Bristol graduate got a pass mark of 53 – equivalent to a 2:2 – for his essay on social policy assessment. 

The university lecturer who marked the work said the language used was ‘fishy’ and was reminiscent of essays written by ‘waffling, lazy’ students, despite giving it a passing grade. 

Meanwhile, a test English essay produced by ChatGPT was awarded an A* grade at Alleyn’s, an independent school in southeast London. 

The school is now considering moving away from homework essays due to the ‘game changing’ power of ChatGPT and other AI systems. 

‘At the moment, children are often assessed using homework essays, based on what they’ve learnt in the lesson,’ said Jane Lunnon, headteacher at Alleyn’s. 

‘Clearly if we’re in a world where children can access plausible responses … then the notion of saying simply do this for homework will have to go.

Pieter Snepvangers, a University of Bristol graduate, got a pass mark of 53 – equivalent to a 2:2 – for his essay on social policy assessment written by ChatGPT

‘Homework will be good for practice but if you want reliable data on whether children are acquiring new skills and information, that will have to be done in lesson time, supervised.’

ChatGPT has taken the world by storm and reached more than 100 million users just three months after launching in November.

Aside from cheating in school, it’s been used to write articles, generate recipes and even create malware. 

Its success has created a panic at Google, which fears that its days as the world’s number one search engine could soon come to an end. 

Google scrambled to come up its own equivalent chat bot, called Bard, to be released in the ‘coming weeks’. 

Unfortunately for Google, Bard presented incorrect information as fact in a Twitter video, instantly wiping £100 billion from the tech giant’s value. 

Will ChatGPT replace Google? 

Gmail developer Paul Buchheit has predicted that ‘AI will eliminate the search engine result page’ and cause ‘total disruption’ for Google.

A New York Times report also said that Google executives sounded a code red within the company amid mounting pressure from ChatGPT.

A core way that Google makes money is from advertisers paying to have their links displayed alongside the results of a search query result in the hope that a user clicks on them.

The fluency and coherence of the results being generated now has those in Silicon Valley wondering about the future of Google’s monopoly

‘The way I imagine this happening is that the URL/Search bar of the [Google] browser gets replaced with AI that autocompletes my thought/question as I type it while also providing the best answer (which may be a link to a website or product),’ Buchheit said. 

‘The old search engine backend will be used by the AI to gather relevant information and links, which will then be summarized for the user,’ Bucheit explained.  

‘It’s like asking a professional human researcher to do the work, except the AI will instantly do what would take many minutes for a human.’

While some believe ChatGPT will replace Google, the AI has a different opinion.

‘As an AI language model, I do not have the ability to take over any company or organization, including Google,’ it said on the matter.

‘My purpose is to assist and provide helpful responses to users who interact with me.

‘Google is a multinational technology company with a strong market position and a vast array of products and services, so it is highly unlikely that any single entity, including an AI language model like myself, could take over Google. 

‘Furthermore, I believe that companies like Google and AI language models like myself can work together to provide even better solutions and services to users around the world.’ 

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