February 16, 2023 | 4:16 p.m
According to a report, students in an elite academic program at a Florida high school have been accused of using ChatGPT and artificial intelligence to write their essays.
The head of Cape Coral High School’s prestigious International Baccalaureate Program (IB) reported the alleged misconduct to staff in a spate of internal emails later obtained by a local NBC affiliate.
“There were some IB papers that are in some ways questionable,” the staffer wrote in a message this month. “Including very different writing styles from previously submitted work.”
In another internal email, she wrote how several students admitted to using ChatGPT — a newly launched chatbot that can provide detailed and thoroughly researched answers to detailed questions by scraping information from the internet — or another AI program , to write works that they had submitted as their own.
Concerns about abuse of artificial intelligence are growing at Getty Images
“I’ve already gotten back from a few and we’re working on it,” she wrote.
Elsewhere, the coordinator said she intends to confront suspected scammers who admit no wrongdoing.
Those who don’t come to terms with using AI to do their jobs will face “greater consequences” if school officials later confirm wrongdoing, she noted.
The scandal prompted the staffer to warn parents about the illegal use of AI — and the potentially life-changing consequences that could result.
She wrote that students who submit fraudulent papers would not complete the highly competitive IB program – which only admits top performers worldwide.
“Our teachers are required to authenticate all student work before it is submitted to IB,” she wrote. “If they cannot authenticate a student’s work, the student has not successfully completed the IB program.”
A staff member who received one of the emails told The Post that the scandal had rocked the school community.
A ChatGPT fraud scandal has rocked Cape Coral High School in Florida.Google Maps
“These are some of the brightest, hardest working and most competitive kids we have,” the teacher said. “It’s actually kind of heartbreaking to see. But it’s only a handful. At least for now.”
The educator said she hoped the fear of discovery – and possible punishment – would serve as a deterrent.
The IB coordinator noted in an email that traditional plagiarism detection programs are ineffective against ChatGPT and similar programs because they produce different languages each time they are used.
School officials are now analyzing students’ Chromebook laptops to review suspiciously articulated work.
In a statement to The Post, the IB program said it has several safeguards in place to prevent fraud, including regular meetings with students demonstrating their mastery of different subjects.
Employees told colleagues they suspected students of using the artificial intelligence tool to cheat.
This approach helps “ensure that student work reflects what they understand,” a spokesperson said.
“From an early age, IB students are expected to know right from wrong,” she said in the statement. “To that end, all students participating in IB programs are expected to act honestly, responsibly and ethically.”
Hoping to stem rising fraud fears, the makers of ChatGPT launched a new tool to detect AI-generated work this month – but warned it’s not foolproof.
Several major school districts — including the New York City Department of Education — have already banned ChatGPT and AI programs from school devices and networks.
“We do not tolerate cheating. Students who violate the Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity Policy will be disciplined,” the Lee County School District told NBC 2.
“As part of our ongoing cybersecurity efforts, our Information Services team continues to strengthen Chromebook security features to prevent the use of AI to support student work.
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