Australian universities to return to ‘pen and paper’ exams after students caught using ChatGPT to write essays

Australian universities have decided to go back to the conventional style of giving exams after several students were caught using AI tools to write their essays.

According to Guardian, major universities across the country have passed new rules and stated that the use of AI will be deemed as cheating. As a result of this many universities are planning to go back to the conventional “pen and paper” exams. However, experts claim that the universities are running in an “arms race” and that “they can never win”.

The Australian academics have also cited concerns over the AI tool ChatGPT’s ability to evade the anti-plagiarism software. On Tuesday, the Guardian reported that a Group of Eight leading universities in Australia has decided to change the way they conduct their assessment this year.

The group’s deputy chief executive Dr. Matthew Brown asserted, “Our universities have revised how they will run assessments in 2023, including supervised exams … greater use of pen and paper exams and tests … and tests only for units with low integrity risks.” The deputy chief executive made it clear that the universities are “proactively tackling” the prowess of AI. The new reforms will include, student education, staff training, and reforms in the assessment process. “Assessment redesign is critical, and this work is ongoing for our universities as we seek to get ahead of AI developments,” Brown added.

The rat race between AI tools and conventional ways of taking the test

As per the reports, the University of Sydney’s latest academic policies reflect the policy changes the major Australian universities are planning to implement. The university made it clear that “generating content using artificial intelligence” is a form of cheating. The spokesperson of the university has also claimed that the examination officials have observed a few instances of cheating during exams, causing a rise in worries among many. The Australian National University has also changed the way of assessing students. The university has decided to incorporate laboratory activists and more fieldwork into the student evaluation process.

The rat race between AI and academic institutions is not restricted to Australia only. According to the Guardian, AI software like ChatGPT has been banned across all devices in New York public schools. The OpenAI tool which can generate text over anything under the sun and beyond was launched in November 2022. Since then the enterprising AI tool has taken over the world, causing worries about cheating among several universities. Things went in a similar direction after the tool was tested in London. In 2022, one academic tested several exam questions of the tools, and the finding stated that the AI tool answers were, “coherent, comprehensive and sticks to the points, something students often fail to do”, Guardian reported. Hence, the rise of AI has caused major challenges for universities around the world.

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