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SQA News 16 February 2023

AI-generated responses

At SQA, we are aware of the potential use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology by learners to generate responses for assessments requiring a text-based submission such as essays, dissertations and presentations. Applications including ChatGPT, utilise AI technology to generate responses and as it continues to develop, we must consider the impacts on education and assessment.

Many of our assessments are conducted under conditions that prevent the use of such online tools. There are also checkpoints built into assessment approaches that enable teachers and lecturers to identify work that may not be authentic.

Plagiarism detection software companies have been working for some time to address the threat that AI poses to the integrity of assessment. SQA is working with a supplier to ensure that we are equipped to identify work that is not the learner’s own.

While plagiarism is a long-standing issue, it should be reiterated that is rare for learners to submit work to SQA that is not their own or hasn’t been produced in accordance with the relevant assessment conditions.

SQA has robust malpractice procedures in place which outlines that learners who submit work that is not their own risk serious penalty, including the potential cancellation of their award. We are also reviewing our guidance for our appointees to help them identify and escalate concerns around potentially plagiarised or AI-generated responses.

Centre staff play an important role in retaining the credibility of SQA’s qualifications. They can support and encourage learners to have confidence in their own ideas and ability. Teachers and lecturers must ensure that learners understand what constitutes malpractice and the potential consequence of copying or misusing technology. They become familiar with a learner’s work overtime and are vital in identifying evidence that does not appear to have been produced by that learner.

To help reduce the potential use or risk of AI-generated responses centres can:

We appreciate your support in maintaining SQA’s standards and encouraging learners to have the confidence to realise their ability through their own work.