Are you setting exams this session? Will they be proctored, AI invigilated or take-home exams? Either way, you will be wanting to ensure that your students submit their own work, so it will be worth looking at the questions you are setting to increase the chances of that happening. If you are happy for them to use ChatGPT without limits for the whole assessment (and have let them know), then you can stop reading now.

Generative AI is changing the landscape of assessment, but not always in a bad way, as it can provide students with a start on their thinking around something. Make it clear that you want students to do their own thinking and writing, and take this opportunity to try and ‘ChatGPT-proof’ your questions.  

Setting expectations

Before you do though, it would really help to talk to your students about your expectations of the exam: why you are using an exam and what is the purpose of assessment in this format? You might focus on students’ intrinsic motivation, e.g. why they are doing this course and what their future aspirations are. 

You’ll need to make it clear that using ChatGPT is not allowed and will be viewed as cheating. We recommend putting this on the exam paper – the various online exam templates are also being updated to address AI usage. You might also mention that ChatGPT is not always reliable and sometimes quite inaccurate.

Re-examine your questions

Here are some ideas as to how you might make your exam questions a bit more robust:

  • You could refer to events that the student witnessed and reflected on in their work experience, or in your classroom, or activities undertaken in your subject, perhaps a formative assessment that you used earlier?
  • If you are using a take home exam could you require another sort of submission other than written, such as an oral presentation?
  • Could you provide some text or resources – perhaps a picture or piece of writing with illustrations (ensuring it meets accessibility requirements) that students can reflect on and write about? Reflection is a very human activity, so an assessment that requires reflection could be harder for ChatGPT to do well.
  • Critical thinking is also a very human activity, and one that ChatGPT is not good at – can you include questions that ask students to interpret information, analyse, evaluate, provide explanations for, perhaps derive inferences from material that you provide in the exam? 
  • Could you focus on current events or news stories which ChatGPT will not have access to?

Additional resources

For more suggestions on reframing exam questions and assessments, check out these resources from University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney. It’s also now possible to set up ProctorU to limit the use of generative AI.

Read more advice and ideas about the impacts of ChatGPT, including real-life case studies from UTS academics, in our Artificial Intelligence in learning and teaching resource collection.

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