IB to Allow ChatGPT for Essays | This Week in Admissions News

03/03/20235 minute read
IB to Allow ChatGPT for Essays | This Week in Admissions News
The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students with top university ambitions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. This week, as educational institutions around the world grapple with the rise of AI, the International Baccalaureate has allowed the use of ChatGPT in essays. Check back next week to see what’s new and noteworthy in university admissions!

International Baccalaureate to Allow ChatGPT for Essays

Educational institutions around the world are debating how to approach the viral AI writing tool, ChatGPT. In a move to embrace the technology, the International Baccalaureate has said they will allow students to quote content generated by ChatGPT in their essays, The Guardian has reported. Like with all other resources, students will have to cite ChaGPT as a source when using it.

The move comes at a time when universities are debating the effect of ChatGPT on the personal statement for admissions. The AI tool has also been successful in passing a few university exams. By allowing students to use the tool, the IB has made a smart move. When students will attribute their source to ChatGPT, there is less chance of them generating their entire essay with the help of the tool. Matt Glanville, the IB’s head of assessment principles and practice, said the chatbot should be embraced as “an extraordinary opportunity”.

“The clear line between using ChatGPT and providing original work is exactly the same as using ideas taken from other people or the internet. As with any quote or material adapted from another source, it must be credited in the body of the text and appropriately referenced in the bibliography,” Glanville added.

To get an IB diploma, students have to take six exams and write three papers - Theory of Knowledge (ToK), Extended Essay (EE) and Creativity, Activity & Service (CAS) Project. These are an integral part of the final score that a student receives. Glanville added that the rise of tools like ChatGPT will result in the essays becoming less prominent for IB. “Essay writing is, however, being profoundly challenged by the rise of new technology and there’s no doubt that it will have much less prominence in the future,” he said. “When AI can essentially write an essay at the touch of a button, we need our pupils to master different skills, such as understanding if the essay is any good or if it has missed context, has used biased data or if it is lacking in creativity. These will be far more important skills than writing an essay, so the assessment tasks we set will need to reflect this.”

ChatGPT was developed by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based company backed by Microsoft. Microsoft has integrated OpenAI technology into its Bing search engine and Google has announced the creation of its own chatbot, Bard, although it has yet to release it publicly.

Snapchat announced it would deploy a chatbot based on the same technology as ChatGPT. The messaging app said its chatbot, called My AI, would be rolled out to subscribers to its premium service, Snapchat+. Snapchat added that the service could be used for a range of purposes, similar to how ChatGPT and Bing have been used, including recommending gift ideas and planning hiking holidays.

Other top stories in admissions news this week:

  1. Following RISD, Colorado College has also announced that it will pull out of US News undergraduate rankings. L. Song Richardson, the president, wrote to the campus that, “We are pulling out of this ranking because it privileges criteria that are antithetical to our values and our aspirational goals." The college also cited the flawed methodology employed by the rankings publication. The college said U.S. News’ flawed methodology still equates academic quality with institutional wealth and continues to rely heavily on the infamous questionnaire asking institutions to rank each other’s reputation, a non-objective process subject to gaming. They also added that US News continues to equate academic rigor with high school rank and standardized test scores, a metric that creates perverse incentives for schools to provide “merit” aid at the expense of need-based aid. Further, U.S. News & World Report’s methodology, weighing the proportion of students with debt and the total amount of debt at graduation, creates incentives for schools to admit wealthy students who can attend without incurring debt. 
  2. The University of California today announced that it has received a total of 245,768 applications (206,405 for freshman admission and 39,363 applications for transfer admission) for fall 2023 admission. Interest in the University from California students remained strong, with application numbers tracking closely to the levels set in previous years. Additionally, applications from many segments of traditionally underrepresented California freshmen students continued to increase. For fall 2023 admission, the University saw a 2.2% decrease (-5,411 applications) in total applications from the fall 2022 admissions cycle, where the University received 251,179 total applications (210,840 freshmen and 40,339 transfer).
  3. The University of California closed a loophole that allowed students to craft a fully online program, Times Higher Education has reported. The University of California system has never had any fully online undergraduate degree programmes at any of its 10 campuses. But a loophole existed in which a student or department could have crafted – either inadvertently or intentionally – a stealth, fully online undergraduate degree through individually approved online courses. According to the new requirements, students have to live in campus housing to graduate from university.