How to Use ChatGPT to Fail a Final Exam in Three Easy Steps

in #chatgpt5 months ago

A cautionary but reassuring tale of a student, a teacher, and the limitations of technology.

Names, places, and other identifying information has been redacted from the following story to protect the guilty and the busy. That being said, everything I do relate here is absolutely true from a primary source.

“I failed my first student for using ChatGPT today,” my friend told me as we sat at dinner. They teach at the higher education level, and it’s exam season.

“Oh?” The societal ramifications of ChatGPT is one of my own interests, and we’d talked before about how it would influence their work.”What gave it away?”

With their permission, let me tell you the the three things that made it really obvious the student was simply cutting and pasting answers generated by an AI.

1. It was too fast.

This was an exam students had to take online, using proprietary software from the school. That meant that there was a lot of data available for the teacher — including how long it took each student to complete the exam.

For most students, it took over one hundred minutes.

This particular student — someone whose work had not stood out in any way during the semester — completed their exam in sixty-three minutes.

Red flag number one.

2. Video killed the ChatGPT star.

For portions of the test, students had to watch a video and talk about what they saw there.

ChatGPT is not (yet) able to watch videos. However, because my friend is a conscientious teacher, all the videos included transcripts.

The student took the logical step of feeding the transcript of the video into the AI before asking the exam questions. Unfortunately, in the process of cutting and pasting, they neglected to notice where the AI had written “…according to the transcript…” in the midst of the answers.

Perhaps it was slightly possible that a student might use a transcript instead of watching a video — for example, if they were blind. But this particular student was not, in fact, blind.

Red flag number two. But both of these flags were simply the heralds of the biggest giveaway of all.

3. The AI cracked under pressure.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I told my friend when they revealed this last bit.

“Nope,” they grinned. “Literally one of the answers began with ‘I am only an AI chatbot, so I’m not able to…’”

The AI did its best to give an answer anyway, but even that was problematic: for a question where the student was supposed to give two examples of something, the AI gave six — three of which were wrong. “How am I supposed to grade that?” my friend asked.

The student, upon receiving the failing grade, tried to appeal it, citing problems at home, the need to finish classes early, and wanting to use all the tools at their disposal.

My friend is not heartless — far from it, they care very much about their students. They care so much, in fact, that the failing grade stood firm.

That student may not have learned the subject matter in the course — but at least they learned a lesson about the limitations and dangers of over-using an AI chatbot.


What an amusing story, and nicely told! 😁 I would imagine your friend has many such stories to tell from teaching over the years! It was nice having you at #pimpyourpostthursday (PYPT) today, and I hope you will consider becoming a regular attendee! 😊



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This is almost hysterical... LOL It's sad!!! But funny.

I mean - if you're going to be lazy... I guess you might as well go for straight A's in laziness - right? LOL Not only did he/she use the chatbot - but then didn't even READ the answers to edit out any glaring evidence!!! but then to have the audacity to appeal????

This reminds me of a video I just saw of three kids - speeding down the road, having a blast, being foolish, and then seeing a cop - SLAMMING on the brakes, and then spinning out right in front of him

The dash cam caught the whole thing - and the driver kept saying how he's dead - how he's going to jail - how his life is over... because apparently the car wasn't even registered as the icing on the cake!

The cop ended up giving him a ticket for reckless endangerment? I think? and the kid ON THE DASH CAM - is apologizing profusely, saying its all his fault, saying he recognizes his guilt.... etc.

and then proceeds to go to court and plead not guilty.

honestly - what is this world coming to??? lol
I'm very glad that the failing grade stood for this student. "all the tools at his disposal" .... sheesh. LOL

That is laziness at its finest. There will be always students that trying cutting corners. I think it happens because of lack of understanding what really is the sole propose of education.

The thing is - if one is cheating now, one will have to cheat all the time. It really easy like that. Ones stupid actions and laziness today - affects tomorrow.

I really hope the student actually learned the lesson, I really do.

I do as well.

I also think that to some extent, there's a failure of the system if it presents to the student the idea that this is a viable strategy for jumping through the hoop of a test. We don't give tests in ways that truly test understanding; we tend to give tests in ways that prove the ability to retain and regurgitate information, and in many cases we set up situations where it's not stupidity or laziness, but rather necessity: "I'm working two jobs, my kids are hungry, and I'm expected to spend two hours sitting here regurgitating information -- I have to find a strategy to get this done faster. I know I know the information, I just don't have time to perform it for the teacher."
I know that's a realistic situation, because I've lived it. Except I didn't have ChatGPT, and instead my work and my parental skills suffered for it.
I do think the student learned a lesson from it. I also hope that our pedagogical system learns a lesson from the whole "threat" of GPT as well.

I myself worked during my studies, classes were from morning to late evening, so I could only work on weekends and nights. I know that if I could just focus on studying and workshops - my skills would be incomparably higher.

Except that I studied sculpture. If I make a rubbish sculpture or a lousy drawing, I can only offend someone else's sense of aesthetics.

But think of people who study medicine, psychology, social sciences, civil engineers. In such cases, lack of knowledge and qualifications can cost others their health or even their lives. This is what scares me the most.

Geez... How can someone submit something like that without reading through it? It is good the teacher took the liberty to read through.

This is beautifully presented. Good script I must admit

😂 I have had a bad experience using chat gpt. I had to write a script for a movie play, at a point I was having a writers block, and feeling lazy amidst the submission deadline. I opted to use chat gpt to complete the script, although I ensured I read every single word and phrase, but on submission, the producers asked if I could redo it, as he couldn't feel my emotions in the script. It wasn't his first time working with my script, so he somehow knew it wasn't fully mine.

Yeah, that's the biggest problem with an averaging computer. What I'm worried about is when it gets smart enough to take prompts like "what will most likely make the audience cry? Laugh? Want to go outside and burn it all down?"
I'm kind of reassured that emotions aren't yet conveyable...

I love all these points. I think students will be more creative with cheating with ChatGPT in the future, so tell your friend to be careful.

Still, I think using ChatGPT for learning, even if it's to cheat isn't the dumbest use for it. I wrote a story the other day that explores this.

Have a !PIZZA