Increase in High School Cheating Linked to ChatGPT: Research Reveals Otherwise

The increase in AI chatbot tools has caused concern among high school educators and administrators across the country. However, researchers have found that the number of students cheating on assignments has remained relatively unchanged.

According to recent research from Stanford University, the percentage of high school students engaging in cheating behavior has stayed around 60 to 70 percent, even after the introduction of ChatGPT in 2022.

“I thought that we would see higher numbers in the fall so it was a little surprising to me,” said Denise Pope, a senior lecturer at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education who conducted the survey.

Victor Lee, an associate professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, explained that high school students find AI chatbot tools uninteresting and prefer other forms of media.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that a significant percentage of students had never heard of ChatGPT or only had limited knowledge of it. Among those who were familiar with ChatGPT, the majority had not used it for school work.

Here are four key points to consider about the impact of AI chatbot tools on high school cheating:

1. Non-cheating students remain unaffected.

Studies have shown that the percentage of students cheating on tests has remained consistent, even before the introduction of AI chatbot tools. This suggests that factors other than technology contribute to cheating, such as lack of engagement, stress, and sleep deprivation.

Experts suggest that schools need to create a positive learning environment that motivates students and aligns with their interests and preferred learning styles.

2. Awareness of ChatGPT varies among students.

Pew’s survey revealed that white students and students from wealthier households were more likely to be aware of ChatGPT compared to their Black counterparts and students from lower-income families. Older students also demonstrated a higher level of awareness.

A “digital divide” may explain these findings, where not all teens have equal access to and knowledge of these tools.

3. Students have mixed opinions about using chatbot tools for academic purposes.

Only a minority of students view ChatGPT as acceptable for writing essays, while a larger percentage believe it is acceptable for researching new topics. This implies that students approach AI chatbot tools with a “good faith” attitude, using them to assist in specific tasks rather than relying on them completely.

School surveys conducted by Stanford University support these findings, with a small percentage of students using AI chatbot tools for essay writing and a larger percentage utilizing them for generating ideas.

4. Banning chatbot tools will not address underlying issues.

Experts emphasize the importance of involving students in the discussion around AI chatbot tool usage. Creating classroom and home policies should include input from students, allowing them to share their perspectives on how AI can be used effectively and appropriately.

Addressing AI chatbot tool usage is just one part of a larger issue in education. Students often feel disconnected from assignments and essays that they perceive as irrelevant or unengaging. The goal should be to find ways to make learning more meaningful and enjoyable for students.

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