Dr. Ilija Stojanovic is an Assistant professor at the American University in the Emirates with 5 years of international teaching experience in operations management, project management, decision sciences, and related disciplines. Dr. Stojanovic holds more than 12 years of experience in delivering training in project and business management, and more than 12 years of relevant industry experience in managing different internationally funded projects. He has significant industry experience that can be confirmed by different globally recognized certificates such as PMP –Project Management Professional, ECQA EU Project Manager, UNDP Trainer for Sustainable Development Goals, and Six Sigma. Dr. Stojanovic, as a young scholar, already shows a noticeable research contribution in operations management, supply chains and logistics, project management, and quantitative methods.
After I received a call to write an article for Higher Education Digest, the first idea that came to my mind is to write about the impact of excessive continuous student assignments on the integrity of the assessments and quality of grading. My thesis with which I begin this article is: A greater number of student assignments (especially out-of-class) does not mean a better approach to student evaluation. At the same time, while thinking about the article topic, a discussion began to arise about the impact of chatGPT on the integrity of student assignments.
In order to prove my thesis, I conducted a small experiment. I actually wrote the article using chatGPT. The text starting with the first sub-title is completely written using Artificial Intelligence. Let’s see what chatGPT said to the questions and requests I made:
- Do we need to avoid out-of-class continuous assignments to avoid cheating? Write 500 words
- Are continuous assessments good for integrity or a basis for cheating? Write 500 words
- Write an essay with 1000 words on the effects of students’ overload with continuous assessment and student cheating using chatGTP
- Overloading instructors with many continuous assessments, write 100 words
Continuous assessment approach
(Source: chatGTP, January 2023)
“Continuous student assessments refer to the ongoing evaluation of student’s progress throughout the academic year. These assessments can take many forms such as quizzes, tests, assignments, and projects. They are designed to provide teachers and students with frequent feedback on student progress, which can help to identify areas where students need additional support or where they are excelling. Continuous assessments can also help teachers to adjust their teaching strategies in real-time to better meet the needs of their students.
Out-of-class assignments refer to homework, readings, projects, or other tasks that students are expected to complete outside of the classroom. These assignments are intended to help students practice and apply what they have learned in class. They can include written work, research, problem sets, and other activities that are relevant to the course material. Out-of-class assignments are typically assigned by the instructors and are typically due at a later date. They are typically used as a way to measure student progress and understanding of the material. However, if not managed properly, out-of-class assignments may lead to cheating, as students may feel more freedom to seek unauthorized assistance or use unauthorized materials when working on these assignments.”
Overloading of students
(Source: chatGTP, January 2023)
“One of the main causes of continuous assessment overload is the increasing pressure on schools and universities to meet academic standards and improve students’ performance. This pressure has led to an increase in the number of assessments and the frequency of testing, which can be overwhelming for students. In addition, the use of standardized testing as a measure of student performance has led to a focus on teaching to the test, rather than fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As a result, students are often overburdened with assessments and may struggle to keep up with the demands of the curriculum.
The effects of overload on students’ continuous assessment and student cheating are complex and multifaceted. On one hand, continuous assessment can be a valuable tool for measuring student progress and providing feedback to both students and teachers. On the other hand, if not implemented correctly, it can lead to increased stress and anxiety for students, which can in turn lead to cheating.
The effects of continuous assessment overload can be detrimental to students’ mental and physical well-being. When students are constantly under pressure to perform well in assessments, they may experience stress, anxiety, and burnout. This can lead to a decline in their academic performance and a loss of interest in learning. In addition, students who are overburdened with assessments may struggle to find time for extracurricular activities and may miss out on important opportunities for personal and social development
Continuous assessments can be both beneficial and detrimental to the education system, depending on how they are implemented and managed. On one hand, continuous assessments can be a valuable tool for evaluating student progress and providing feedback on areas where students need improvement. They can also help teachers and administrators identify students who may be struggling and provide them with the support they need to succeed.
However, if not managed properly, continuous assessments can also be a basis for cheating. One of the main reasons why continuous assessments can lead to cheating is that they can create a high-pressure environment for students. When students are constantly being evaluated and graded on their performance, they may feel pressure to do well, even if it means cheating. This pressure can be especially intense for students who are competing for top grades or scholarships.”
Overloading of instructors
(Source: chatGTP, January 2023)
“Overloading instructors with too many continuous assessments can have negative consequences for both the instructor and the students. When instructors are required to grade a large number of assessments, it can take up a significant amount of their time and energy, which can lead to burnout and reduced job satisfaction. Additionally, when instructors are overburdened with grading, they may not be able to provide detailed and meaningful feedback to students, which can limit the effectiveness of the assessments.
Furthermore, it may also affect the quality of the assessments, as the instructor may not have enough time to thoroughly grade and provide feedback on each one. This can lead to assessments being graded too quickly or not being as thorough as they should be.
Additionally, overloading instructors with too many continuous assessments can also lead to a lack of consistency in grading and feedback across different sections of a course or across different professors. This can make it difficult for students to understand what is expected of them and can lead to confusion and frustration.
Overall, it’s important for institutions to strike a balance between providing enough continuous assessments to measure student progress and not overburdening instructors with excessive grading workloads. It can be done by limiting the number of assessments, providing more efficient ways of grading, or having more than one instructor to grade assignments.”
(Source: chatGTP, January 2023)
“The question of whether or not to avoid out-of-class continuous assignments in order to reduce the likelihood of cheating is a complex one, as it involves a balance between the benefits and drawbacks of these types of assignments.
Out-of-class continuous assignments can be a source of temptation for students to cheat. When students are working on assignments outside of the classroom, they may be more likely to seek unauthorized assistance or to use unauthorized materials, as they may feel less pressure to perform well in front of their peers and instructors. Additionally, it may be more challenging for instructors to monitor and prevent cheating on out-of-class assignments, as they are not able to directly observe students as they work on the assignments.
To address this issue, it is important to consider alternative methods of assessment that can provide students with opportunities to apply what they have learned in the classroom without relying on out-of-class continuous assignments. For example, in-class activities and group projects can provide students with opportunities to apply what they have learned in the classroom in a collaborative and supervised environment. Additionally, formative assessments, such as quizzes and discussions, can provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the material on a regular basis, without relying on out-of-class assignments.
Another alternative is to implement measures to monitor and prevent cheating on out-of-class assignments. This may include using plagiarism detection software, providing clear and detailed instructions for assignments, and monitoring assignments closely to detect and prevent cheating. Additionally, instructors may also consider providing support and resources for students who may be struggling, to help them succeed without resorting to cheating.
It is also important to promote a culture of honesty and integrity in the classroom by fostering a positive and supportive learning environment, in which students feel safe and encouraged to ask for help and to admit when they don’t understand something. Educating students about the importance of honesty and integrity, and the negative consequences of cheating can also be a powerful deterrent against cheating.
In conclusion, while out-of-class continuous assignments can be beneficial in that they allow students to work at their own pace and on their own schedule, they can also be a source of temptation for students to cheat. To reduce the likelihood of cheating, it is important to consider alternative methods of assessment, such as in-class activities and group projects, and to implement measures to monitor and prevent cheating on out-of-class assignments. Additionally, promoting a culture of honesty and integrity in the classroom can be an effective deterrent against cheating.”
My Own Conclusion
I was honest with you stating the source of the article. Let me say it was written in less than 5 minutes for free. And you cannot find plagiarism. Although there are attempts to develop software solutions to check whether an article is written by artificial intelligence, at the moment you cannot test plagiarism in AI-written texts. Thus, if you ask students to write so many out-of-class assignments, what can be expected? Due to overload with many assignments and knowing their teachers cannot find plagiarism, do you think students will not try to write an assignment using chatGPT or some other AI-based text generators?
Even chatGPT admitted my thesis. So, are we (humans) ready to admit it? I strongly believe that instead of the number of assignments, teachers should focus on the quality and value of assignments. Full out-of-class assignments provide almost no additional value in the evaluation of students, therefore we must re-focus on assignments that enable direct teacher-student interaction in the classroom.