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It’s no secret that more and more people are using ChatGPT and other AI tools to help with minor tasks. The institutions have caught on this and now are trying to monitor the student activity, but detectors they use often show false positives. However, the question of academic integrity remains of high-priority and something needs to be done about it.
- In academic settings a student is “innocent until proven guilty.” Accusers must provide strong evidence before a student can be judged as having cheated. Without clear proof, the accusation shouldn’t hold.
- AI tools used to detect AI-written text are often incorrect and should not be the sole evidence for accusing a student of cheating.
- If wrongly accused of academic dishonesty, a student should understand their rights, request transparency about the accusation and evidence, showcase their knowledge of the subject matter, and refrain from admitting to any unfounded accusations.
The author of the original post used ChatGPT to summarize the information from several outside resources for better efficiency, when writing their paper. Then, the person rewrote everything and compiled a bibliography for the paper, but the professor accused them of cheating because of that. Now, the author is facing the student council and possible consequences because of this.
What should you do if you happen to have a similar situation? Let’s talk about student accusations and figure out where to go from here.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty in Academic Settings
In schools and universities, the idea that everyone is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is as important as it is in a court of law. Basically, the idea is that in a criminal trial, the person who is accused of a crime is considered innocent until it’s proven that they’re guilty. This means it’s up to the prosecutor to show, without any reasonable doubt, that the person did the crime. They need to provide clear proof for every part of the crime they’re accusing the person of. However, even with this rule, it doesn’t always mean that the person accused can stay out of jail before the trial is over. Sometimes, they might have to stay in custody for various reasons.
It’s a safeguard against wrongly accusing and punishing students for things like cheating. This principle insists that strong evidence is a must when someone is accused. Without it, students might be scared of being unfairly blamed for things they didn’t do.
“Innocent until proven guilty should still be a guiding principle in academia. Maybe you can remind them of this if things get ugly. I’d heavily doubt that they can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt – especially when you know your shit.”
It’s the person who is making the accusation who must show that the accused student is guilty, not the other way around. This is fair because proving you didn’t do something can be very hard, especially when the proof isn’t clear. If students had to prove they were innocent every time someone accused them, it would lead to a lot of unfair situations. People could make accusations without any real proof, putting innocent students in the tough spot of having to prove something that didn’t happen. By making sure that the person who claims something wrong has happened has to prove it, schools make sure they’re being fair and keeping up a culture of trust and honesty.
AI Detectors Are Wrong More Often Than Not
Artificial intelligence detectors that try to spot AI-written text can often be wrong, making them unreliable in schools. When teachers use them to see if a student has cheated by using AI, there’s a risk of accusing someone who’s actually innocent. These tools can say a piece of writing is AI-generated even when it’s not, especially if the writing is very formal or well done. This means students could be unfairly blamed for cheating when they haven’t, which is a big problem for trust in schools.
Most of the commenters under the thread completely agree with the statement that AI detectors should not be used as concrete evidence.
“Show that AI detection tools are not reliable, because they really often spit out false positive results. Especially with very formal language. Some people probably already have mentioned using the bible or the declaration of independence to show false positive in AI detection tools. It works WAY better if you search the publications of your tutor on google scholar and run those through AI detectors.”
“TurnItIn and all other AI detectors are flawed, and academia is (largely) unwilling to accept it because they’ve paid for it. They wanted an “easy button” to avoid incorporating LLMs into their curriculum.”
One of the Redditors proposed a creative way to turn the tables. This way, the student council will see that AI detectors are not as good as one might think.
What Can You Do When Facing Student Council After a False Accusation?
When a student is accused of breaking academic integrity rules, it’s important to stay calm and act thoughtfully. First, they should fully understand the accusation. It means getting all the details about what they are being accused of and why.
Here are some other steps to consider, depending on your situation:
- Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your institution’s code of conduct and the rights it grants you in such proceedings.
- Request Transparency: Ask for a clear explanation of how the AI detection tool works and its error rates.
- Focus on Your Knowledge: Be prepared to discuss the content of your work and your understanding of the subject matter in depth.
- Avoid Volunteering Information: Share only what is necessary and relevant to the case, without giving additional details that might complicate matters.
- Question the Reliability: Politely challenge the reliability of AI detection methods and their results.
- Do Not Confess Under Pressure: Even if the questioning becomes intense, stick to your position without admitting to unfounded accusations.
- Document Everything: Keep a record of all meetings, conversations, and correspondences related to the accusation.
It’s important to listen carefully and speak clearly when explaining their side of the story during these discussions. Students shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions or request further clarification on the evidence against them.
It’s wise for the student to seek advice, maybe from a trusted teacher, advisor, or school counselor. These people can offer guidance on how to navigate the situation. Finally, if the student truly didn’t cheat, they should stand firm in their honesty. The University of Villanova stresses the importance of filing an appeal. If you find yourself wrongly accused, it’s important to seek a review of the decision. You should avoid acknowledging any wrongdoing by not signing any letters from the dean that suggest you’re at fault. Rather, write to the dean to express your perspective, firmly stating that you haven’t committed the alleged act, and formally ask for an appeal. However, if the rules were broken, it’s best to admit the mistake, learn from it, and understand the consequences. In either case, handling the situation responsibly is key.
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