Universities crackdown on cheating: Students suspected of using artificial-intelligence to pass exams could be made to undergo face-to-face questioning
Students suspected of cheating by using artificial-intelligence programs could be made to undergo face-to-face questioning.
Universities are grappling with how to deal with the rise of ChatGPT software, which can produce answers of high enough quality to pass exams.
Some have banned or restricted its use and regard work written by AI as academic misconduct. Now some are saying that, where there are doubts about the validity of work, students could face a ‘viva voce’ – a face-to-face grilling on their subject.
Students at University College London have been told that where misuse of AI is suspected, ‘staff can make use of the Investigatory Viva process to help establish authorship’. If a student fails the viva, the case is referred to a misconduct panel. The ultimate sanction could be expulsion.
The universities of Durham and Bath, and Queen’s University Belfast, are also reserving the right to use vivas – moves likely to be unpopular with students, as research shows oral presentations are regarded as stressful. But they have been sanctioned by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
Students suspected of cheating by using artificial-intelligence programs could be made to undergo face-to-face questioning. File image
Experts have warned that the best way to guarantee academic integrity is to require students to sit traditional, invigilated papers. But large numbers of UK degree courses are coursework only or retain only a small exam element.
The Mail on Sunday has previously revealed that students have campaigned against a return to sitting papers in exam halls, arguing it requires them to remember too much content.
Dr Stuart Waiton, lecturer in sociology and criminology at Abertay University, said: ‘If universities are not prepared to use in-person exams and to use exams more – which I think they should – then there is a genuine potential that people can pass a degree without having picked up a book.’
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