Samantha Orciel, English Subject Advisor
The rapid and ongoing advances in generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools bring both benefits and challenges to education and assessment. In this blog, I’ve highlighted the guidance available for managing AI use in English, and how to deal with misuse in assessments.
AI tools generate text or images in response to user prompts and questions. The responses of AI tools are based upon the data sets upon which they have been trained.
ChatGPT is the best-known example of an AI chatbot, and the one most likely to be relevant to students of English. ChatGPT can respond to a variety of prompts with a long-form, essay-style answer.
Chatbots with similar functions include, but are not limited to:
Whether the use of AI by students is appropriate for a given task will depend on the marking criteria and nature of the task.
For the English NEAs, this means that appropriate use of AI will be in the planning and teaching stages only.
This could include:
Like plagiarism, AI can be used by students to create work which they then try to pass off as their own work. Where a student has used AI to complete all or some of their work, they are not demonstrating their own knowledge, understanding and application of skills. This may prevent the candidate from presenting their own authentic evidence.
Examples of AI misuse include using or modifying AI responses without acknowledgement, disguising the use of AI, or using it for substantial sections of work. You can support your students by teaching them about appropriate use of AI in English, demonstrating how to reference AI correctly where its use is appropriate, and having clear policies for AI use within your department. An AI policy can be an extension to your existing policy on plagiarism.
For the English NEAs, inappropriate use includes (but is not limited to):
If you are unsure whether a student’s use of AI is inappropriate, please contact us.
Teachers must not accept work which is not the student’s own. Ultimately the Head of Centre has the responsibility for ensuring that students do not submit inauthentic work.
If you suspect AI misuse before the student has signed the declaration of authentication, your centre doesn’t need to report the malpractice to OCR. You can resolve the matter using your own policies prior to the signing of the declarations.
If AI misuse is suspected after formal submission and signing of the authentication sheet, AI concerns within candidate work should be reported with a JCQ M1 form, as outlined in the JCQ AI guidance, available on the Malpractice section of the JCQ website. Please email your completed forms to OCR at email@example.com.
Can students use AI to generate their tasks/titles for the NEA?
Yes, but proposals must be submitted for approval by OCR in the usual way.
Most of the English NEA is completed outside of lesson time. How can I check for misuse of AI?
As with any suspicion of possible plagiarism knowledge of your student is key. Drafts can be hosted online for teachers to access; planning can be completed in the classroom; and asking students about their thoughts and research processes at the draft feedback stage can help you understand how your student has put their NEA together.
Will OCR be removing the NEAs in English?
No, we have no plans to remove NEA assessment for our A Level English qualifications. They are a core part of each qualification and students produce rigorous, exciting, and thought-provoking NEA work every year.
Please refer to the JCQ AI use in assessments: Protecting the integrity of assessment document for further information on managing the use of AI within your assessments.
We are also producing a range of support resources, included recorded webinars, on our AI support page.
Share your thoughts in the comments below. If you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01223 553998 or message us on X @OCR_English. You can also sign up to subject updates to keep up-to-date with the latest news, updates and resources.
Prior to joining OCR in September 2022, Sam spent ten years teaching a range of English qualifications in secondary schools, including as a head of department. She did this alongside completing a MSt in Advanced Subject Teaching at the University of Cambridge, specialising in A Level English curricula and pedagogy.
In her spare time, you’ll find her either fussing over her dog, watching tennis, or (predictably!) reading anything and everything.