Students' future in question after lecturer fails entire class for using ChatGPT

According to RollingStone, and other news outlets, a group of students at Texas A&M University-Commerce's graduations is in question after being accused of using ChatGPT for their essays.
Christopher McFadden
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The student's graduation status is now in question.


A Texas A&M University-Commerce professor has taken drastic action to fail all his students after suspecting them of using ChatGPT to write their papers. This decision has now delayed them from passing their diplomas. According to RollingStone, the professor, Dr. Jard Mumm, the decision appears flawed as he used the natural language processing software to analyze each essay and judge whether it generated it. Dr. Mumm sent all his students a bulk email informing them that he had assigned them all an "X" due to his suspicions.

“I copy and paste your responses in [ChatGPT], and [it] will tell me if the program generated the content,” the professor wrote in the email. He went on to say that he had tested each paper twice. Dr. Mumm then went on to offer the class a makeup assignment to avoid the failing grade — which could otherwise, in theory, threaten their graduation status.

However, there is a big problem with the lecturer's decision. ChatGPT is not designed to detect AI-generated text and is famed for falsing claiming authorship of various pieces of text, including classic literature. Even OpenAI's AI-generated text detector is not that accurate, either.

Students' future in question after lecturer fails entire class for using ChatGPT
Screenshot of the email in question.

In their defense, the students challenged the decision, going as far as to provide the lecturer with timestamps on their Google Documents, which initially fell on deaf ears. This entire debacle came to light when a Reddit user with the username "DearKick" shared an email from Mumm. The user claimed to be the fiancé of one of the accused students, who was shocked by the accusation and had never heard of ChatGPT before. As they told RollingStone, the student in question immediately contacted the dean and the university president but did not receive immediate assistance. They are also due to plead their case with administrators on Tuesday.

According to "DearKick," Mumm allegedly similarly failed several whole classes rather than investigating the validity of his methods for detecting cheating. In the perfect example of poetic justice, Mumm's claims have been challenged by a simple experiment involving ChatGPT. A Redditor named "Delicious_Village112" stumbled upon an abstract of Mumm's doctoral dissertation on pig farming and shared a section with the bot.

They asked if a language model like ChatGPT could have generated the paragraph. The program replied that it was indeed possible, given the appropriate prompt. The text displayed several features that are typical of AI-generated content.

In a statement to PC Magazine, Texas A&M University confirmed they were aware of the incident and sorting through the facts. “No students failed the class or were barred from graduating [due to] this issue,” the university said. “The professor is working with the students to determine whether AI was used to write their assignments and, if so, at what level,” they added. It is understood that the diplomas will be put on hold until the completion of individual investigations.

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