Pupils will be allowed to use ChatGPT to write International Baccalaureate essays

The controversial AI tool is already banned in schools across the world

Schoolchildren studying the International Baccalaureate will be allowed to quote from content created by the ChatGPT artificial intelligence system in their essays.

The qualification body, which offers an alternative to A-levels, will not be penalised for using the chatbot as long as they do not try to pass it off as their own words. 

The controversial tool has already been banned in schools across the world over plagiarism fears. It has reached more than 100 million users just three months after launching in November.

Created by the Silicon Valley company OpenAI, ChatGPT is designed to understand human language, carry out conversations with humans, and, having been trained on a huge sample of text from the internet, can generate unique content in a style of writing dictated by the user.

The New York City Department of Education blocked the chatbot from school networks and other US school districts have followed suit.

But Matt Glanville, head of assessment principles and practice at IB, said that institutions should try and embrace ChatGPT as an “extraordinary opportunity”. He compared the new technology with “familiar” challenges such as the risk of students buying essays from the internet.

“The clear line between using ChatGPT and providing original work is exactly the same as using ideas taken from other people or the internet,’ Mr Glanville told the Times.

“As with any quote or material adapted from another source, it must be credited in the body of the text and appropriately referenced in the bibliography.”

Anyone – including children – can use ChatGPT if they sign up with a name, email address and phone number

“To submit AI-generated work as their own is an act of academic misconduct and would have consequences – but that is not the same as banning its use,” Mr Glanville said. 

England’s exam watchdog Ofqual is reported to be looking into developing new guidance for schools to prevent AI tools like ChatGPT being used by pupils.

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