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Given AI technologies like ChatGPT, are GCSE and A-level exams fit for purpose?

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Given AI technologies like ChatGPT, are GCSE and A-level exams fit for purpose?

Loads of you are in the middle of exams right now, and from our poll in March, we know that AI technologies like ChatGPT are definitely being used to help with revision for some of you. But we also know for others, this feels a little too close to cheating.

I have to tell you, I'm yet to give a whirl myself yet. But I've seen people talking about some really innovative uses for it! However there's also been lots of questions asked about what impact AI technology might have in the world of education.

Thinking about just GCSE and A-level exams for a minute - are these still fit for purpose in a world were AI tech exists? Are they still fair?

Does it matter whether students use AI as part of their revision? Does it open the door to new ways of assessing students?
Original post by BlinkyBill
Loads of you are in the middle of exams right now, and from our poll in March, we know that AI technologies like ChatGPT are definitely being used to help with revision for some of you. But we also know for others, this feels a little too close to cheating.

I have to tell you, I'm yet to give a whirl myself yet. But I've seen people talking about some really innovative uses for it! However there's also been lots of questions asked about what impact AI technology might have in the world of education.

Thinking about just GCSE and A-level exams for a minute - are these still fit for purpose in a world were AI tech exists? Are they still fair?

Does it matter whether students use AI as part of their revision? Does it open the door to new ways of assessing students?

If you're talking about exams, then there is no option to use AI to cheat. Non-exam assessment (i.e. coursework) is a different story, and there is trouble in store there, I'm sure.

Using AI for revision is absolutely fine. I don't see why it wouldn't be. Anything which helps stuff information into people's heads is fair game.
Original post by DataVenia
If you're talking about exams, then there is no option to use AI to cheat. Non-exam assessment (i.e. coursework) is a different story, and there is trouble in store there, I'm sure.

Using AI for revision is absolutely fine. I don't see why it wouldn't be. Anything which helps stuff information into people's heads is fair game.


I agree, you can't use AI to cheat during an exam, and it even has limitations when being used for revision, for example, it won't be able to produce a perfect english literature essay because it doesn't know the markscheme or the AOs so the best it will give you is a generic essay that won't score high marks.
Reply 3
i definitely don't think it's that damaging to exams, but i think it might be a bit risky with coursework. even though it doesn't currently have the skills/coding to write an essay up to exam-specific ao's, structure, etc. it could quite likely learn to at some point
that said though, there are stories online ab people using chatgpt to test how good it actually is and it straight-up makes up poems, texts, etc. by authors that it references so it might not be too much of a threat just yet lol
I completely agree, I think at the moment ChatGPT is far from being useful in any respect for essays or coursework. I've asked it a few times to analyze specific poems just to test its capabilities and the things it comes up with are garbage - several times it actually fabricated quotes that weren't in the text. This has also been seen recently when it has referenced non-existent Guardian articles. I think people need to be really careful not to rely on ChatGPT; I have friends who take the stuff it produces at face value when some of it is factually incorrect. It really shouldn't be relied on yet for academic work (not to say that it won't develop in the future).

Original post by spammbo
i definitely don't think it's that damaging to exams, but i think it might be a bit risky with coursework. even though it doesn't currently have the skills/coding to write an essay up to exam-specific ao's, structure, etc. it could quite likely learn to at some point
that said though, there are stories online ab people using chatgpt to test how good it actually is and it straight-up makes up poems, texts, etc. by authors that it references so it might not be too much of a threat just yet lol
(edited 9 months ago)
I would say that they aren't fit for purpose, but not because of AI. Especially with adjustments made during covid, we've seen the flaws with the way that students are currently assessed. I think that even at secondary school level, they need to use a more coursework and assessment based approach rather than the final exams system that is currently used.
Original post by eturbyne52
I would say that they aren't fit for purpose, but not because of AI. Especially with adjustments made during covid, we've seen the flaws with the way that students are currently assessed. I think that even at secondary school level, they need to use a more coursework and assessment based approach rather than the final exams system that is currently used.

That's cheating! That's not the question that was being asked. :smile:

If we're talking fit for purpose generally, then I'd say they are not. Mainly because - for most people - A level grades have zero impact on whether students receive offers from universities or not. Sure, they're absolutely vital when it comes to the university confirming any offer on results day, but offers are (in the main) based upon predicted grades. And we know that predictions are often not very accurate. This means that students at schools which are more optimistic/generous with their predictions are more likely to receive offers than students at schools which are more accurate/realistic with their predictions.

Personally, I would like to see the return of AS levels in England, in the way that were used until very recently (whereby they contribute 40% of your final A level grade). That way (a) universities have a recent grade (or mark) on which to based their offers - in the actual subjects you'll be studying at A level, and (b) you can "bank" 40% of you mark at the end of Year 12, which takes a little pressure of the A2 exams at the end of Year 13.
Reply 7
What is cheating @DataVenia?
(edited 9 months ago)
Original post by gompachirochan
I agree, you can't use AI to cheat during an exam, and it even has limitations when being used for revision, for example, it won't be able to produce a perfect english literature essay because it doesn't know the markscheme or the AOs so the best it will give you is a generic essay that won't score high marks.


Original post by DataVenia
If you're talking about exams, then there is no option to use AI to cheat. Non-exam assessment (i.e. coursework) is a different story, and there is trouble in store there, I'm sure.

Using AI for revision is absolutely fine. I don't see why it wouldn't be. Anything which helps stuff information into people's heads is fair game.


I completely agree with this - if there is open source documentation of each of the AI's responses (or just available to exam boards), then I see no problem with AI as its usage can be tracked during NEA and coursework.
Reply 9
Yes
there is a point of A levels and gsces because think for a moment what do you need GSCE's for to go to a good Sixth form or college to do A levels. And A levels lead to the university you want to go in but when you finish all this studying you go. And i kid you not i am a year 9 student going to start my GSCE's from next year and i have the type of mother who spends most of her time on Facebook and goes to university in Birmingham all she does is go to the class or lecture she needs and she is doing Business and marketing. And i kid you not i am the person sitting there 24/7 doing her assignments. And i will tell you it is not easy not knowing the content and not wanting to business anyway (i want to do architecture in Cambridge) and sitting there doing a business assignment. I have been doing this since like year 8. And you might say oh you could just have used Chat GP or any AI software but you will be the person who in this case is my mother and when you start work will not get anything because those essays you decide to do using AI software. I am pretty sure you cant be bothered to re check it meaning you will have lost like 3-5 years of life going to uni or school for no reason as you cant get a job if you dont know the content. Jobs are mostly about the practical side and knowledge based than large essays. And I tell you AI intelligence is good for assisting you but you shouldn't stick to using AI software all the time.
I hope you Get what i mean
JF ZAK
Original post by Cote1
What is cheating @DataVenia?

The fact that @BlinkyBill asked "Given AI technologies like ChatGPT, are GCSE and A-level exams fit for purpose?" and @eturbyne52 ignored the "Given AI technologies like ChatGPT" part of the question and said, "I would say that they aren't fit for purpose, but not because of AI."

I was using the word "cheating" tongue-in-cheek. Sorry if the smiley didn't make that apparent.
Reply 11
Having AI help you revise is fine, as is asking your teacher, going to class, studying with friends etc. You are not expected to magically know all the answers without assistance from someone else. Obviously you wouldn't allow AI to write an exam for a student, but this is easy to control. AI has a greater impact on coursework though, which was already suspect.

I'd be interested to hear how using AI to revise might make exams unfair or unfit for purpose, as I can't think of a reason that wouldn't also apply to the 'normal' ways of revising such as asking your teacher for extra help or researching the subject yourself outside of the given textbook.
Original post by BlinkyBill
Loads of you are in the middle of exams right now, and from our poll in March, we know that AI technologies like ChatGPT are definitely being used to help with revision for some of you. But we also know for others, this feels a little too close to cheating.

I have to tell you, I'm yet to give a whirl myself yet. But I've seen people talking about some really innovative uses for it! However there's also been lots of questions asked about what impact AI technology might have in the world of education.

Thinking about just GCSE and A-level exams for a minute - are these still fit for purpose in a world were AI tech exists? Are they still fair?

Does it matter whether students use AI as part of their revision? Does it open the door to new ways of assessing students?

I do not think GCSEs and A-levels are fit for purpose, but I don't think it is down to AI. I don't think they assess subjects in a way that makes it easier to apply subjects to the real world - it is about knowing specific information, in a specific way so you can write it in way that is acceptable on a mark scheme. AI may make it easier to cheat on coursework though, and that is definitely an issue but I am not sure how you would go about addressing that issue.
Reply 13
Original post by flowersinmyhair
I do not think GCSEs and A-levels are fit for purpose, but I don't think it is down to AI. I don't think they assess subjects in a way that makes it easier to apply subjects to the real world - it is about knowing specific information, in a specific way so you can write it in way that is acceptable on a mark scheme. AI may make it easier to cheat on coursework though, and that is definitely an issue but I am not sure how you would go about addressing that issue.

Bit off on a tangent but I like your TSR name.
If I had known I was going to stay on TSR longer than a few weeks I would have put more effort into mine!
Original post by Cote1
Bit off on a tangent but I like your TSR name.
If I had known I was going to stay on TSR longer than a few weeks I would have put more effort into mine!

You can always change it if you like. This link should take you to a "Change username" screen (although some people report that it takes them to a "Delete by account" screen - so be careful :smile:).
Reply 15
Original post by DataVenia
You can always change it if you like. This link should take you to a "Change username" screen (although some people report that it takes them to a "Delete by account" screen - so be careful :smile:).

Thanks. Your name has a certain style and I like your avatar thingy.
Reply 16
Original post by BlinkyBill
Loads of you are in the middle of exams right now, and from our poll in March, we know that AI technologies like ChatGPT are definitely being used to help with revision for some of you. But we also know for others, this feels a little too close to cheating.

I have to tell you, I'm yet to give a whirl myself yet. But I've seen people talking about some really innovative uses for it! However there's also been lots of questions asked about what impact AI technology might have in the world of education.

Thinking about just GCSE and A-level exams for a minute - are these still fit for purpose in a world were AI tech exists? Are they still fair?

Does it matter whether students use AI as part of their revision? Does it open the door to new ways of assessing students?

I think AI currently isn't advanced enough to replace academics, although AI has a place within education. From my tests ChatGPT given the right information was able to mark essays in a fairly accurate way, but you'd need a study behind it.

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