Navigating a Post ChatGPT World

In This Blog

AI and Education

Since the release of ChatGPT in November of 2022, AI-generated content continues to garner concern, especially regarding its impact on education. 

Globally, educational institutions continue to discuss AI’s growing popularity: Is this the end of the written assignment? What are the rules surrounding AI-generated content? Is it original, or is it cheating? 

The concern is viable; ChatGPT reached 100 million users in less than three months, a milestone that took TikTok over six months to hit, and Instagram 30 months. A 2023 survey conducted by found that just over one in four (out of 200+) teachers have already caught at least one student cheating using ChatGPT. 

Months following the release of ChatGPT, more AI chatbot models have been introduced, including GPT-4 and Bard from Google. As a result, concerns surrounding the use of AI in student assignments and what it means for education continue to mount. 

We’ve entered a new era of technology that will only continue to grow and evolve. What can educators do to leverage AI-generated content as a potential learning tool, much like the calculator? And how can AI detector tools support learning and encourage academic integrity?

The Prevalence

In January and February of 2023, we conducted a study comprising anonymized data from tens of thousands of college and high school organizations worldwide using Copyleaks. The study sought to answer the question: How prevalent is AI-generated content in education? 

January and February 2023 Summary Findings:

11.21% Of all college papers and assignments contained AI-generated content.
12.18% Of high school student papers and assignments contained AI-generated content.
9.27% Of college student papers and assignments contained AI-generated content.

Percent of Papers and Assignments Containing AI-Generated Content by Country

Use of AI generated content across the world map

The Highest and Lowest Use of AI-Generated Content

26.02% US-Based Public Research University
2.50% US-Based Private College

Month-Over-Month Change in the Use of AI-Generated Content 

+103.95% Global Increase Across US-based Students
+95.30% Global Increase Across Students

Even after being told their assignments would be checked for AI-generated content, 
month-over-month there’s been a significant increase among high school students… 

+270.11% - Increase Across US-Based High School Students, +237.15% - Global Increase Across High School Students

…and a noticeable decrease among college students, who were also 
informed about their assignments being checked for AI-generated content. 

-41.37% - Decrease Across US-Based College Students, -38.90% - Global Decrease Across College Students

The decrease has been consistent across all college types within the United States. 

-45.73% - Decrease Across Career and Technical Colleges
-17.07% - Decrease Across Community Colleges
-62.50% - Decrease Across Private Colleges
-44.63% - Decrease Across Public Colleges

To gauge trends following the initial data collected during the first two months of 2023, we compared close to a million high school and college assignments submitted to Copyleaks between February and March of 2023 across the globe, all of whom knew their institute was using an AI detector.

March 2023 Summary Findings:

9.7% of all papers and assignments contained AI-generated content, a 14.4% decrease compared to February
5.9% of all high school papers and assignments contained AI-generated content, a 68.9% decrease compared to February
10.4% of college papers and assignments contained AI-generated content, a 5.5% decrease compared to February

Percent of Papers and Assignments Containing AI-Generated Content by Country

Chart of Percent of Papers and Assignments Containing AI-Generated Content by Country

The Highest and Lowest Use of AI-Generated Content

34.03% US-Based Community College, an increase of 37.3% vs Feb
2.71% US-Based Community College, a decrease of 70.63% vs Feb

There’s also been a significant decrease among
US-based students in March compared to February.

8.5% Across US-Based Students, a decrease of 29.3% compared to Feb
5.9% Across US-Based High School Students, a decrease of 43.9% compared to Feb
9.2% Across US-Based College Students, a decrease of 14.8% compared to Feb

The decrease has also been consistent across college types within the United States.

9.7% US-Based Community Colleges, a decrease of 19.2% compared to Feb
7.5% US-Based Private Universities, a decrease of 15.7% compared to Feb
9.9% US-Based Public Universities, a decrease of 17.1% compared to Feb

What We’ve Learned

  1. The Role of AI Detectors

    There’s a necessity for continued education around the role of AI-generated content. For instance, students should learn to set boundaries regarding when to use it. But as the March data from Copyleaks reveals, the presence of an AI detector can be a helpful deterrent.  Fact-checking and verifying all online content and student assignments through AI detectors can help stay ahead of AI content generators and set boundaries. 

    First, looking at AI content from the text level, not just a whole document, is essential. Some students use AI chatbots as templates, editing the AI-provided text and interspersing their content. So the finished assignment might appear original, but the copy written by AI is mixed in with the student’s content. Whether an educational institution considers this cheating or not is up to them. 

    Nevertheless, the insight AI detectors provide of interspersed content and other forms of AI text that may appear helps provide the necessary data for educational institutions to decide where AI-generated content fits into their learning environment.

  2. Establishing guidelines around usage

    AI content generators will not be going away anytime soon, if ever. They are more likely to continue to improve over time. And as the Copyleaks data shows, students will utilize AI chatbots. 

    Just as with the calculator, spell check, and other tools utilized today by students, finding the place for AI-generated content in the learning process is encouraged. Establishing rules regarding the use of AI in education is a crucial step, including finding ways to optimize AI in the classroom. 

    AI technology has shown great potential to improve teachers’ classroom roles by easing their workloads in regard to lesson planning, grading, and attendance, freeing up time to devote to a more personalized approach to their craft. In addition, professors with more time and energy for actual education lead to more student engagement and better student performance, which is especially critical for those students who might struggle in their classes.

    In short, AI chatbots do not have to be banned from classrooms entirely; instead, establishing guidelines and pairing them with in-class discussions can help empower student learning while optimizing new, evolving AI technology.

  3. The need for continued education

    Regardless of what an educational institution decides regarding using AI-generated content, one thing remains foundational: the need for continued education. 

    According to the International Center for Academic Integrity, more than 60 percent of university students freely admit to cheating in some form. When students use AI-generated text in a non-approved manner, they are circumventing the material and not developing the critical thinking skills required to draw their original conclusions and express thinking in their own words. 

    Students need to learn the material being taught in the classroom and cultivate the skills that are only developed through learning, which include critical thinking, identifying biases and logical fallacies, problem-solving, and the ability to discern objective versus subjective statements. Therefore, it is essential that AI supports the learning experience rather than replaces it. 

    Artificial intelligence certainly has a place in the future of higher ed. Typically, people fear what they don’t know. While AI will always have its skeptics, those educators who look to AI as an impactful tool and learn to embrace it will see more possibilities for themselves and their students.

    All data is from a study comprising anonymized data from tens of thousands of college and high school organizations worldwide using Copyleaks in January, February, and March of 2023.
Find out what's in your copy.

Related Blogs