AI and Examination

In this page, you will find general advice on how, as a teacher, you can consider AI and examination, along with tips on specific examination formats. Given that the field is constantly evolving, the content will continue to develop over time.

Considerations for Examination

Methods where students individually or in groups produce text as expressions of knowledge are highly susceptible to conscious or unconscious deception or cheating. This applies primarily to all forms of asynchronous production, meaning when students independently, in time and space, produce text as expressions of knowledge. This can include, for example, take-home exams, lab reports, projects, and theses.

Shift Focus from Product to Process

The course syllabus specifies the examination format for the course. However, as a teacher, you are free to incorporate elements in the teaching where the student's learning process takes center stage. Examples of such elements include reading and writing logs, practice sessions, optional quizzes, tutorial sessions, and quizzes. A guiding principle is that students should document and continually process the course content in a way that does not create an unreasonable workload for you as a teacher.

Let your questions be connected to the instruction provided in the course. Note that lectures are not mandatory unless they are part of the examination.

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Review your course plans with regard to examination. It is advisable to conduct more than one assessment during courses, ideally with assessments building on each other and taking various forms. This makes it difficult for students to cheat on the first assessment and succeed in subsequent ones.

The more specific you are, the harder it becomes for a Generative AI to produce a credible text. As a teacher, you can also offer mentoring sessions with students to support their writing. This way, you can track the students' learning process and progression. Well-constructed multiple-choice questions are an effective way to assess students' learning/understanding, even for abstract and more advanced expected learning outcomes (ELOs).

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Consider Your Instructions

Communicate clearly with the student group. Be particularly careful with instructions for exams and assessment formats that students are expected to submit, such as take-home exams or their equivalents. Anything that you, as the teacher, do not specify as permitted for use during the examination should be considered prohibited.

Always provide written information about the examination guidelines. Focus on the resources that students are allowed to use. Avoid listing what is not allowed, as it's easy for that list to become incomplete.

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Utilize Formalities

Utilize formalities to specify and regulate how students' work should be presented at the submission. Even shorter texts should include source citations placed directly where they are relevant in the text. This makes it more challenging for students to use AI to generate a text that adheres to your instructions. Ask students to justify their choice of sources.

Regarding written assignments that involve source citations, you can control which sources may be used or ask students to justify their choices of alternative sources.

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Re-consider Your Questions

Formulating questions that are relevant, interesting, unambiguous, and well-written is essential to assess students' knowledge in a meaningful and reliable way. As a teacher, you need to consider that questions should be crafted in a manner that does not allow for easy answers through AI tools.

Ask questions where the answers are tied to local specific contexts, tasks, or perspectives covered during the course, which all students can relate to. You can also frame questions that require students to draw on their own experiences from earlier parts of the course or educational program.

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Review the Course's Expected Learning Outcomes (ELOs)

If you have the opportunity to update the course syllabus, it's important to review the Expected Learning Outcomes (ELOs) from an examination perspective. Do the ELO provide guidance and flexibility for you to assess the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that the course's purpose points to?

Advice and Thoughts on Specific Formats of Examination

Different examination methods/formats are sensitive to deceptive behavior or cheating to varying degrees. In general, we categorize examinations into four categories/methods (Stiggins): short/closed written answers, essays/extended texts created by the student, oral exams, and practical exams.

Of these, the most vulnerable to AI are exams that require longer explanatory answers that the student must formulate themselves. Examples of examination formats within this category may include essays/independent work, take-home exams, descriptive and reasoned lab reports, and so on. Below are some pieces of advice related to each of these examination formats.

Take-Home Exams

Take-home exams are one of the formats particularly vulnerable to the influence of generative AI, and examining a fully written product at the end of the course can be problematic. Some ways to address this are, first, to ensure that take-home exams do not (solely) request general knowledge of understanding or analysis but also call for personal statements and reflections. This form can also be supplemented with, for instance, oral examinations/peer opposition or peer feedback that requires more personal assessments of the various intellectual/qualitative elements in the content.

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Lab Report

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Oral Examination

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Changing the Examination Format

Changing the examination format can be an alternative, but keep in mind that it requires a more extended process because the course syllabus is a governing document.

Reducing the Risk of Deception and Cheating

  1. Enhance the clarity of the agreement that everything the student submits for examination, they should also be able to take responsibility for. Combine submissions with peer review or teacher-conducted oral follow-up. Students should be able to account for everything written and answer comprehension questions at a reasonable level.
  2. Students should provide a process description where various standpoints are described and justified from a personal perspective. For example, selection, depth, fairness of presentation, relevance, significance, and comparative intellectual principles.
  3. Assess students' ability to provide feedback on others' work from a subject-specific and course implementation perspective.
Ellen Säll