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Over half UK students using AI for assignments, finds study

A survey has found more than half of undergraduate students in the United Kingdom are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to complete their studies.

In a poll for the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), 1000 students were questioned if they used AI applications for work they would be marked on. The findings revealed 53% deployed AI for assessments with 25% using the likes of Google Bard and ChatGPT for suggestions.

A point of concern was that 5% of respondents admitted to simply lifting blocks of text from AI directly into their assignments.

An academic has reacted by expressing caution on how the new technology is being used by students, whilst stressing a sensible approach is required to work with AI and not against it or to abuse it.

Andres Guadamuz, a Reader in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Sussex, said in a conversation with The Guardian newspaper:

“I’ve implemented a policy of having mature conversations with students about generative AI. They share with me how they utilise it,” he said.

“My primary concern is the significant number of students who are unaware of the potential for ‘hallucinations’ and inaccuracies in AI. I believe it is our responsibility as educators to address this issue directly,” added Guadamuz.

The concept of hallucinations – AI inserting statistics, citations and titles – is an important one as it impacts not only students but anyone using AI for work purposes in general, the tech must be used as a tool for assistance rather than anything more.

Transforming education

AI is also being assessed in terms of how it can assist teachers and educators in easing their workloads, to help come up with lesson plans and other learning materials as part of a study coordinated by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), an English charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement.

EEF chief executive Professor Becky Francis stated, “There’s already huge anticipation around how this technology could transform teachers’ roles, but the research into its actual impact on practice is currently limited.”

“The findings from this trial will be an important contribution to the evidence base, bringing us closer to understanding how teachers can use AI.”

Image: RDNE Stock Project/Pexels

Source: ReadWriteWeb