Florida High School Says Students In Elite Academic Program Are Cheating On Essays Using ChatGPT
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A Florida high school known for having a prestigious academic program told parents that students have been cheating on essays using ChatGPT.

According to an email sent to parents by the program coordinator, students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Cape Coral High School are allegedly using the AI chat software to generate essays. School district and IB program officials condemned the use of software, but students say the software is already commonplace.

“Your senior students are in the process of submitting rough and final drafts of their official IB internal assessments in their various subject areas,” Cape Coral IB program coordinator Katelyn A. Uhler wrote in the letter. “Recently the use of AI generators has become a major concern. The use of AI generators is a violation of our academic integrity policy… There have been some IB papers submitted that are questionable in a few ways including being very different styles of writing from previously submitted papers. I have been going into the senior Theory of Knowledge classes with CCHS administration to address this concern and outline the consequences.”

The school uses an automated software called Turnitin to check for plagiarism on their papers. But Uhler pointed out that AI-generated papers can get around this because they do not generate the same output twice. Instead, the school is using AI detectors and investigating individual students’ laptops to verify their work.

Uhler said she asked students to approach her in private to correct the issue quickly; if not, students could incur more severe consequences. IB teachers need to authenticate all student work in order to complete the program, and IB students need to complete the program in order to earn their high school diploma.

Uhler urged parents to talk to their children at home about the consequences of using AI-generated work.

Officials with both the School District of Lee County and the International Baccalaureate program condemned the use of AI to create work. “As part of our ongoing cybersecurity efforts, our Information Services team continues to strengthen Chromebook security features to block the use of AI from aiding any student work,” the district told local news outlet NBC2.

“The use of ChatGPT and any other method which results in a student submitting work that is not their own is against the IB’s academic integrity policy,” the IB added.

But students at the school told the outlet that they are well aware of ChatGPT.

“I’ve heard a lot about it,” said student Sophia Fallacara. “Like, all of the seniors, they’re all talking about it.”

“There’s like a whole controversy about it,” added student Michael Clayton.

In December, a professor at Furman University warned that AI is the future of plagiarism. “Today, I turned in the first plagiarist I’ve caught using A.I. software to write her work, and I thought some people might be curious about the details,” philosophy professor Darren Hick wrote on Facebook, pointing out ChatGPT specifically.

“Administrations are going to have to develop standards for dealing with these kinds of cases, and they’re going to have to do it FAST,” Hick added. “This is too new. But it’s going to catch on. It would have taken my student about 5 minutes to write this essay using ChatGPT. Expect a flood, people, not a trickle.”

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