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AI In Education: Are People Really Using AI To Cheat?

Welcome to this week’s Deep-fried Dive with Fry Guy! In these long-form articles, Fry Guy conducts an in-depth analysis of a cutting-edge AI development or developer. Today, Fry Guy dives into AI’s use in the classroom, reviewing perspectives from studies, students, teachers, and institutions. We hope you enjoy!

*Notice: We do not gain any monetary compensation from the people and projects we feature in the Sunday Deep-fried Dives with Fry Guy. We explore these projects and developers solely for the purpose of revealing to you interesting and cutting-edge AI projects, developers, and uses.*


(The mystery link can lead to ANYTHING AI related. Tools, memes, and more…)

Teachers everywhere are fearing for their lives, and educational institutions are crumbling to the ground! … Well, not really. But AI in education has become a hot topic of concern amidst the public release of popular AI tools and chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which have massive implications for the educational system. Particularly, concerns have grown over the proper use and potential misuse of AI inside the classroom by students. These concerns, however, might not be as substantive as many think.


AI has been a godsend to many working their way through school, from elementary students to graduate researchers. Tools like ChatGPT have garnered over 100 million users and continue to grow daily both in usage and ability. Other tools which capably design presentations, write research papers, and even formulate citations have also emerged.

When a student is faced with a mundane discussion post, a final presentation, or a complicated research paper, they no longer have to spend hours staring at a blinking cursor, thinking about how to get started. With a simple prompt, students now have the tools at their disposal to generate this material in mere seconds.

Clearly, concerns have arisen across the academic space, citing AI as a tool to allow for cheating. If students are not studying or working on their own assignments, do they really deserve credit for it? And what happens to the learning experience? Will this stifle learning and intellectual integrity entirely? There must be a way to stop this madness! However, most of these concerns are built off a bird’s eye speculation. The battle looks much different from the trenches.


Although many are worried about AI’s use for cheating, the data does not quite match the concerns.

A study of 576 students aged middle school to college found that 71% of students have not and would never use AI to cheat on assignments or plagiarize. In fact, only 9% surveyed said they have used AI to cheat on at least one assignment and would do it again in the future. This research spans globally, as an Australian study found that only 8-11% of Australian students had submitted assignments written entirely by AI.

Although 90% of students are not using AI to cheat on assignments, 31% of university students and 42% of high school students are using AI in some capacity to assist with their studying, highlighting the growing influence of AI in learning. Many people cite AI as a helpful tutor, claiming that chatbots allow them to ask questions they feel embarrassed to ask a peer or a teacher, helping them to fill gaps in their learning. It also allows students to have a more personalized learning experience, especially in large classes where the teaching is not catered to their interests or most effective learning methods.

For high school students who do use AI for their assignments, their motivation for doing so was reported to one study as the following:

  • AI is just another tool (62 %)

  • I don’t like school or schoolwork (24%)

  • I don’t need to know the information because of AI (22%)

  • Everybody else is doing it (22%)

  • I would do poorly otherwise (17%)

  • It’s not important to know the subjects for which I use AI (8%)


One of the more nuanced aspects of AI in education is the blurred line between AI’s positive uses for learning and its misuse in cheating.

University students have a split conscience over this issue. 39% reported that using AI to help with an assignment is not cheating, 27% said it is, and 33% are not sure. College students, taken in isolation, seem more harsh on AI, as 54% of undergraduates claim that using AI to complete an assignment counts as cheating.

“I see it both ways, because I feel someone who may struggle in school and can’t form their thoughts well, they can put their thoughts into a chat or to help them write papers. But at the same time, the AI is the one organizing those thoughts … Overall, I don’t think using AI is cheating because you do have to put some information in.”

-A college graduate, Early Childhood Education

“I feel that using AI for school is considered cheating because it deprives students from using their own minds to process information and make it their own.”

-A college student, Nursing

These mixed perspectives reflect the split opinions and uncertainty about AI’s use and highlights the growing need for clear standards and expectations, either from school-to-school or classroom-to-classroom.


How might we best approach AI’s usage in the classroom?

A survey of 1,000 undergraduate students reported that professors are actually encouraging students to use AI. Over half (53%) of students said their professors gave them coursework that required them to use AI. In addition, 79% of undergraduate students said their professors addressed the proper use for AI in their classroom. Universities as a whole are slow to the punch, however, as only about half of them (58%) have specific guidelines for AI usage.

It is not only students, but professors voicing their concerns and opinions on the matter. Brant Entrekin, a teacher at the University of Tennessee (UTK), stated, “I think that AI, especially text generating programs like ChatGPT, is a major concern for education insofar as students use it in an attempt to sidestep and replace their own efforts in completing assignments.” This concern does not come without acknowledgement of the positive uses. Entrekin explains, “I think that AI can be a major supplement to students that use it properly as an aid at various steps of the writing process. In fact, I think part of the role of the teacher should be to encourage students to use AI in ways that will assist in future success in the workplace considering that AI skills will be incredibly important in the work force going forward.” He continues, “The problem, however, is that too many students want to use it as a replacement for their own efforts instead of as a source of additional support. Students see AI as an easy way to complete assignments, and I can see how it might be particularly enticing for students that are in classes that aren’t a part of their major or if it’s an assignment that they are already struggling with. This directly undermines the academic and professional skills that these kinds of classes and assignments are supposed to develop in these students, however, and so students turning to these options ultimately corrupts the value that an education is meant to have.”

UTK is one of the few universities that implemented measures for AI to enhance learning for the 2023/24 school year, as it welcomed its largest student population in school history.

The UTK regulations are allowing educators to use AI in their classrooms in one of three ways, at the discretion of the teacher:

  1. Open use: Students can use AI for any assignment as long as AI-generated materials are credited.

  2. Moderate use: Students can use AI for specific assignments as long as the AI-generated materials are credited.

  3. Strict use: Students are not allowed to use AI, and using it would be considered academic dishonesty

Lynne Parker, associate Vice Chancellor at UTK and the director of the AI Tennessee Initiative, said, “If people don't have agreed-upon processes for letting people know how decisions are being made about them, then people feel that effectively the AI or the computers are taking over and humans are no longer accountable.” By clearly defining the parameters for AI use per class, the professors can tailor their class accordingly and provide specific directions for permissible AI usage. Additionally, UTK implemented three new classes that are available at both the undergraduate and graduate level, informing students of how AI and machine learning works. Parker hopes these classes will help students to “be strongly interdisciplinary so that people learn about the topic from multiple perspectives and not just the computer science or mathematics perspective.” This model serves as an initiative for other universities to follow as AI screams for structure in the classroom.


Whether we want it to or not, AI has made its way into the classroom, and it will revolutionize the way schooling is done, both on the side of the student and on the side of professors and administration. Just as the internet changed the way teachers teach and students learn, we should expect AI to have profound effects on how students learn, study, and conduct their assignments. As a result, the teaching model of the schools and assessment methods will inevitably be altered. As this uncertain and wild process unfolds, let’s be sure to take lots of notes!