The academic implications of AI in student writing

Key points:

  • Education must pivot to include AI literacy in its curricula
  • The question is not whether to use AI tools, but how to use them responsibly
  • See related article: 7 principles for AI in education
  • For more news on AI in education, visit eSN’s Digital Learning page

In the rapidly evolving landscape of education, the advent of AI and ChatGPT has ushered in a new era of academic assistance. As a doctoral student and research writer myself, I have witnessed and experienced the profound impact of these technologies on academic writing. The intersection of AI assistance in student writing is not just about the convenience it brings, but also about the fundamental shift it represents in how we perceive and approach academic integrity and skill development.

A recent survey by found that nearly one-third of university students have employed AI for coursework, with a significant portion using tools like ChatGPT for over half of their assignments. As Dr. Jörg von Garrel and Professor Jana Mayer reported, a nationwide survey conducted in Germany revealed that almost two-thirds of students use AI tools like ChatGPT in their studies. This widespread usage across disciplines like engineering and natural sciences highlights the versatility of AI in various academic contexts. These statistics alone underscore the pervasiveness of AI in academic environments. However, this trend extends beyond mere usage statistics; it raises deeper questions about the future of writing skills and academic integrity.…Read More

How AI could save–or sink–creative writing in schools

Key points

This story originally appeared on the Christensen Institute’s blog and is reposted here with permission.

Ninth-grade English was a paradox for me—both the best and worst year for helping me learn to write. …Read More

Debunking common myths about AI in education

Key points:

  • Many educators are unsure of the role generative AI will play in their classrooms
  • Despite this hesitation, there are some compelling reasons to use AI to augment teaching and learning
  • See related article: How ChatGPT made my lessons more engaging

Artificial intelligence is not a completely new concept in education; it has been used for years. Consider spelling and grammar checks that are built into word processors and autofill suggestions in search engines. What has become new to us this year is easy access to generative AI models, which can generate text and images with simple prompts.

In response to these new tools becoming available to the public, many teachers found themselves resisting AI, considering the ways in which it could complicate verifying academic honesty in student writing and artwork, acknowledging the inaccuracies that AI can generate, the human biases that impact the dataset AI uses, and more. …Read More

How peer feedback can improve student writing skills

The art of writing, invented roughly 5,000 years ago, represents a blip in human history. It’s younger than agriculture, music, and construction. And as recently as the Revolutionary War, a majority of Americans couldn’t put pen to paper. In short: Writing remains a new feat of technology. We’re still figuring it out. 

Despite its relative youth, writing has evolved into a vital skill. Today, we broadly recognize that citizenship requires the ability to read and write. As Orwell put it: “If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them.”

Perhaps as importantly, writing is a key skill for professional success. Hiring managers, for example, are more likely to cite writing skills as “very important” for new hires, compared to technological and quantitative reasoning skills. If students leave campus without refined writing skills, we’ve done them a great disservice. …Read More

Texthelp Launches WriQ to Automate and Standardize Writing Assessment

Texthelp®, a leading education technology company focused on helping learners of all ages and abilities improve their reading, writing, and math skills, today announced the launch of WriQ®, a cloud-based writing assessment and achievement tool. Using a powerful and proprietary computer algorithm, WriQ automates and standardizes the assessment of student writing against national norms, evaluating each student’s writing across a number of criteria. As a result, teachers are able to quickly assess writing proficiency and provide students with specific and personalized feedback.

In conjunction with the launch of WriQ, Texthelp also released a new report, “Lockdown and beyond: Learning in a changing landscape,” developed with ImpactED. It highlights a number of key challenges for U.S. educators in light of the pandemic, including the scale of disruption; the rapid move to online teaching; the need for teacher support; mass learning loss; and a decrease in student motivation.

The report analyzed U.S. education research, finding that approximately 29 percent of students stated that they were “not engaged” before the COVID-19 lockdown. At the beginning of May 2020, 80 percent of teachers said that student motivation was lower than it had been pre-lockdown. Notably, the report also highlighted the potential for a widening of existing achievement gaps of up to 15-20 percent. It concludes that research-based tools that encourage engagement through real-time feedback and gamification, as well as provide student autonomy, will likely have the best impact on both student outcomes and teacher workloads.…Read More

Are texting and tweeting making our students bad writers?

Common Sense Media reports that The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project surveyed middle and high school teachers about the impact of digital tools on student writing. While some 78 percent of the 2,462 teachers surveyed said tools such as the internet, social media, and cell phones “encourage student creativity and personal expression,” others expressed concern that such tools are also having undesirable effects on students’ formal writing. Ninety-six percent of the advanced placement and National Writing Project teachers surveyed agreed that digital technologies “allow students to share their work with a wider and more varied audience.” An additional 79 percent also said that these tools “encourage greater collaboration among students,” which, teachers said, is ultimately beneficial…

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