Impact of AI Tools like ChatGPT on School Assessments

As we navigate the 21st century, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT has brought about significant changes in various sectors, including education. These tools have the potential to revolutionize teaching and learning, but they also present new challenges, particularly in the realm of learner assessment. This article aims to provide teachers with an understanding of how AI tools can impact school assessments and offers strategies for adapting to this new landscape.

The Challenge: Plagiarism and Malpractice

AI tools like ChatGPT can generate comprehensive essays and projects with minimal user input. While this can be a valuable tool for generating ideas or assisting with language tasks, it has also led to a surge in plagiarism in assessments, especially those completed without supervision. This has resulted in widespread plagiarism reports across schools worldwide, posing a significant threat to academic integrity.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program has reported multiple instances of learners using ChatGPT to complete their unsupervised, independent research projects. This has led to discussions about removing this component from the program, highlighting the significant threat these tools pose to academic integrity.

Even before the advent of AI tools, assessments had been plagued by various forms of malpractice, including plagiarism. Despite efforts to combat this through ‘controlled assessments’ and numerous rules and regulations, the problem persisted. The development of AI tools has exacerbated these issues, making a wide range of subjects and assessments vulnerable to malpractice.

The Response: Adaptation, Not Banning

In response to these challenges, the education sector needs to adapt rather than resort to banning these tools. Just as the advent of pocket calculators led to the development of more sophisticated mathematical exercises, the rise of AI tools should prompt a shift in how we approach assessments. Teachers should set more complex questions that these tools cannot quickly answer, encouraging learners to use them as a starting point for their work rather than as a means to an end.

For example, A-level learners could take an additional subject assessed solely through an oral exam. This would help build their verbal communication skills and reduce the opportunity for malpractice, thereby constructively adapting to the presence of AI tools.

The Potential: Enhanced Learning and Critical Thinking

Despite the challenges, AI tools like ChatGPT have the potential to enhance learning and lead to a more sophisticated style of assessment. They can help learners learn how to verify online material, think critically, and evaluate answers. They can also be used to help learners understand how information on a topic changes over time.

For instance, learners can use ChatGPT to understand how it combines evidence from various online data sources, how the information on a topic changes over time, and how to evaluate an answer. This encourages critical thinking and helps learners develop a more sceptical approach to information from the Internet.

A group of learners can also pose a question to ChatGPT and then evaluate the answer it generates. This encourages discussion and critical thinking among learners and helps them develop a more sceptical approach to information from the Internet.

The Future: Honesty, Transparency, and Skill Development

As we move forward, schools must insist on honesty and transparency when learners use AI tools like ChatGPT. These tools should be seen as an additional resource for learners, much like a digital textbook, rather than a shortcut to completing assignments.

In addition, all learners should complete an independent research project, similar to the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), to develop their research, extended writing, and presentation skills. This approach would ensure that they develop the skills they need for future success while minimizing the incentive for malpractice.

The future of assessment should aim to minimize the risk of cheating while also building learners’ more comprehensive skills. A system combining written and oral exams and independent research projects could prepare learners with the necessary skills for future success.


The impact of AI tools like ChatGPT on school assessments is a complex issue that requires ongoing discussion and adaptation. By understanding the challenges and potential of these tools, teachers can help shape a future of assessment that upholds academic integrity while also leveraging the benefits of AI to enhance learner learning.

Events like Kortext Live, where the impact of artificial intelligence on pedagogy and assessment is discussed, are crucial platforms for these discussions to take place. By participating in these discussions, educators can stay at the forefront of these developments and ensure they are prepared for the future of education in the age of AI.