Abitur in Hamburg: artificial intelligence used to cheat

Status: 05/26/2023 5:57 p.m

Hamburg schoolchildren apparently used artificial intelligence (AI) to cheat in their Abitur. According to information from NDR 90.3, individual high school graduates were caught using chat software during written exams. The school authorities confirmed that there are also several suspected cases.

Pupils actually have to hand in their smartphones before the Abitur exam. However, some apparently managed to smuggle in a second device. In at least one case, a teacher spotted the phone with a program like ChatGPT open. Such a program can produce completely independent texts for any question. The student then admitted the attempted fraud.

Schools checked other suspected cases with software

In other cases, teachers had become suspicious when reading – because parts of the exam were weak, while others were error-free. The schools then used software that checks the probability that the text was created by an AI. The result: It was probably cheated. Nevertheless, the legal department of the school board sees no way of proving this for sure. Peter Albrecht, spokesman for the school authorities, said: “Ultimately, it will be difficult to prove plagiarism without a doubt if the student was not caught red-handed.” Tools for checking AI-generated texts only indicate how likely it is that a text was created with software – but nothing more.

The cases did not have to be reported and were therefore not formally recorded and counted. The school board has NDR 90.3 but confirmed that the legal department is examining some suspected cases – in addition to the one student who was caught directly. The schools can decide in individual cases how the cheating attempts are punished.

School administrations are demanding clearer regulations from the authorities

This is exactly what the chairman of the Association of Hamburg Gymnasium School Boards, Christian Gefert, criticizes. He demanded that the authority should regulate more clearly how schools can deal with the subject of AI with legal certainty. The authority rejected the allegation. The schools were informed in detail in writing. Gefert also called for fundamental considerations as to how schools can adapt to developments instead of just trying to squeeze new technologies into the old system.

Pupils:innenkammer: Cheating has always existed

A spokesman for the Schüler:innenkammer Hamburg said it was correct that ChatGPT enabled a new way of cheating, but that cheating itself was not new at the school. “That’s why this isn’t a problematic development, it’s just a development that we have to adapt to – like any other,” the spokesman continued. The Chamber of Students demands that the discussion should focus less on cases of fraud and more on the opportunities offered by the use of AI in schools.

School Senator refers to nationwide working group

Hamburg’s school senator Ties Rabe (SPD) said in an interview with NDR about the effects of ChatGPT: “We have set up a working group in the Conference of Ministers of Education to discuss the consequences of this new program and make suggestions.”

This topic in the program:
NDR Television | Hamburg Journal | 05/26/2023 | 19:30 o’clock

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