ChatGPT Creates Confusion in School Districts

Quinn Postman, Co-Editor in Chief

ChatGPT was released on Nov. 30 by OpenAI, a research and development company out of San Francisco, California. 

Using deep learning algorithms based on massive datasets, ChatGPT recognizes, summarizes, translates, predicts, and generates text and other content using the “Large Language Model Tools” technology.

ChatGPT is a friendly free tool that generates paragraphs of human-like text. Simply, you can ask ChatGPT any question, and it will likely give you an answer. 

Anne Paolucci, District Supervisor of English, believes that Demarest and other schools can use ChatGPT in a good way. 

“I actually don’t think we are trying to prevent the positive use of ChatGPT in general,” Paolucci said. “There are many ways this can be and has already been an innovative tool in improving teaching and learning if used with care and good intent.” 

ChatGPT is designed to rival Google as an information database. Once users make an OpenAI account and accept their terms of service, they can type in prompts at the bottom of the page and press enter to submit their questions. However, ChatGPT sometimes prioritizes quantity over quality writing. 

The usage of ChatGPT has grown exponentially, but it is still a relatively new, untested program. 

Despite its good intentions, ChatGPT is being used to cheat in school. Students across the country are using ChatGPT to write essays for them. 

“Students are here to learn and to do that they need to honor the learning process and do their own work,” Paolucci said. “As is our practice, we are carefully monitoring the use of any form of artificial intelligence and do consider its misuse to be a form of academic dishonesty.” 

OpenAI advises students not to use ChatGPT to cheat but has yet to devise methods to prevent students from doing so. 

“As a general rule, it is not appropriate to use ChatGPT or any other automated writing tool for school papers, as it is considered cheating and does not benefit the student in the long run,” OpenAI stated publicly. 

Schools nationwide are beginning to devise strategies to determine if students use any form of AI writing. 

There are programs online that specifically check for AI writing, such as WRITER, Turnitin, and Copyleaks, that teachers use to identify if any student is using any form of AI writing in their work. 

Some New Jersey school districts are beginning to implement plans to ban ChatGPT usage in school. In early January, New York City Public schools banned ChatGPT after concerns over cheating and that the tool doesn’t help “build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.”

Demarest doesn’t allow students connected to the school wifi to use ChatGPT. A method that schools could use to prevent ChatGPT is assigning more in-class written essays instead. 

Paolucci says ChatGPT won’t need to be used by students if they work on anticipating deadlines, working a little each night on long-term assignments, and caring about themselves to put the effort in. Paolucci also advised students who might be falling into the ChatGPT trap. 

“Communicate with your teachers when you are feeling overwhelmed, are busy, don’t understand something, or are simply running out of time. Nothing is worth compromising your integrity, and it takes a lot of courage to ask for help when you need it. Know that grades do not determine your worth,” Paolucci said. “No matter what grade ends up in Genesis, you are still uniquely talented, full of potential, and the only one who can give exactly what you can give to make this world a better place. If you focus on those things, you won’t need to worry about falling into any traps in life.”