How Does a Tool That Detects Cheating With ChatGPT Grapple With ‘False Positives’?


Share post:

William Quarterman, a student at the University of California at Davis, was accused of cheating. His professor said he’d used ChatGPT to take a history exam, the charge buttressed by GPTZero, one of the many new tools that have emerged to try to detect student use of generative AI systems.

Quarterman swore his innocence, though, and he was later let off the hook after he presented the log of changes he made in a Google Doc.

The case raises a point of contention over the use of algorithmic writing detectors — tests of the software have found a high percentage of “false positives” — and there are now examples of cases when accusations that students used AI turned out to be unsubstantiated or were later dropped.

Some chafe at the term false positive — arguing that, because flags raised by these detectors are meant to be used as a start of a conversation, not proof, the term can give the wrong impression. Academic integrity watchdogs also point out that a dismissal of cheating charges does not mean no misconduct occurred, only that it wasn’t proven. Google Docs may be an important tool in establishing authorship for students accused of plagiarism in the future, argues Derek Newton, author of the academic integrity newsletter The Cheat Sheet.

Regardless, the issue is on the radar of the detection services themselves.

In December, when EdSurge interviewed a leader at Turnitin, the California-based software developer that uses artificial intelligence to discern plagiarism in student assignments, the company had yet to bring its chatbot plagiarism detector to market. Still, argued the vice president of artificial intelligence Eric Wang, detection wasn’t going to be a problem. And the promised accuracy set it apart from previous detectors.

In practice, it’s proven to be a little thorny.

That’s partly because when tools detect that students have used AI to assist their work, instructors are unsure how to interpret that information or what they can do about it, according to Turnitin.

But part of the difficulty also seems to arise in cases when AI assistance is detected in smaller portions of the overall essay, the company acknowledged at the end of May, in its first public update since launching its detection tool. In cases where the technology detects that less than 20 percent of a document contains material written by AI, Turnitin says, it’s more prone to issuing false positives than previously believed. Company officials did not give a precise figure for the rise of false positives. From now on, the company says it will display an asterisk next to results when its tool detects that a document contains less than 20 percent of AI writing.

Still, the unease about inaccurate accusations gives instructors and administrators pause around AI writing detection. And even Wang of Turnitin told EdSurge in March that the traces the company is picking up on right now may not be as reliable down the road as the tech evolves.

But when EdSurge checked in with Wang recently to see if false positives have given Turnitin additional concern, he said that the phenomenon hasn’t, while stressing the reliability of the company’s results.

Trying to walk the tightrope between teaching the use of a large language model like ChatGPT as a valuable tool and avoiding cheating is new territory for education, Wang says — while also arguing that even as these tools evolve, they will remain testable.

Source link

Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

Recent posts

Related articles

Why Educators Should Lean in to AI to Better Support Students

Plato once quoted Socrates lamenting that, “If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls;...

Students Need a Holistic Approach to Pandemic Recovery

Millions of students across the United States spent their summers in learning and enrichment programs, many of...

How to Drive Student Success With Creative Generative AI Tools in the Classroom: Part 1

This article is the first of a two-part series covering key principles to consider when integrating a...

When a Tiny Fraction of Teachers File Most School Discipline Referrals

Education wonks have long raised the alarm about how school discipline is applied unequally among students of...

We Don't Have to Sacrifice Joy for Rigor in the Classroom

A joyful class is a rigorous class. A rigorous class is a joyful class. I wrote this...

Helping Students Think With Their Whole Bodies

When people think about thinking, they typically conceive of the brain as a kind of machine or...

What to Know About the Relationship Between Teacher Turnover and Housing

Today, a 20-acre stretch of green space known as the “Coy facility” remains an active school campus...

Empowering Teachers and Inspiring Students for a STEM-Driven Future

Education is an indispensable profession in our world today, as teachers play a pivotal role in equipping...