Should ChatGPT have a place in schools?

PAG Staff2023, Article, Schools

Should ChatGPT have a place in schools?

“ChatGPT, the large language model developed by OpenAI, has the potential to revolutionise the way we think about education and teaching. In particular, it can have a significant impact on grading in schools.  The new Open AI language model likes to think of itself as a groundbreaking tool to make grading easier for teachers as well as help students to deepen their knowledge in any kind of subject.


However, some teachers and school managers may have different perspectives on this topic. The immediate concern is cheating, along with the bot's inclination to spit forth inaccurate or deceptive responses. Afraid that the chatbot may have a detrimental impact on pupil’s language and critical skills, many schools in the US have already banned the new Open AI chatbot from their internal networks. Ofqual, England's exam watchdog, will investigate if instructions should be issued to schools that are concerned about the use of AI chatbots for assessments.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a large language model that has been trained to generate text that is similar to human speech. It can perform a wide range of natural language processing tasks, including language translation, question answering, and text completion. Developed by Open AI, the chatbot gathers and processes information from the internet and can source almost everything published up to 2021, then delivers the content to the user in a simple, conversational text format.

New tool, old concerns

ChatGPT is a powerful tool that performs reasonably well across a wide range of writing tasks and academic subjects. Nevertheless, there are legitimate concerns about the ethics of AI-generated writing, as well as whether the answers provided by ChatGPT are accurate since it is sourced from multiple internet sites.


Cheating and plagiarism are currently at the centre of the AI and education debate. By using the OpenAI platform, pupils could quickly produce unique essays and do their homework without actively engaging in learning. However, this is not a new concern. The fear that students could easily hand in material from the internet that they did not produce has materialised different policies across the education sector in the last two decades, such as the implementation of plagiarism software. Computer scientists at Princeton University are currently trying to develop a similar tool to detect AI-generated text.  


ChatGPT also poses potential risks regarding learning abilities, critical thinking, and writing skills. The ease of access to information and answers may lead students to become dependent on the model rather than developing their own abilities to find information, analyse and write. Oscar Goldman, Senior consultant at PAG, explained that the main issue regarding language AI is that they are purely quantitative models that spit out statistically frequent words and syntax. As education moves from quantitative structures, such as rote memorisation or imitative studies in English, to more qualitative models, AI is rendered futile to generate transferable skill development.

Changing the game

Inevitably, schools will have to adapt their assessment policies to prevent the potential risks of students engaging with ChatGPT. Whether it is banned from the classroom or integrated as a tool with adequate oversight, current evaluation systems must be reconsidered to guarantee efficient education provision.


While we wait for Ofqual’s instructions to address the risks of AI in education, school administrators and teachers should start familiarising themselves with the OpenAI platform to fully understand the software's capabilities and limitations. Ad-hoc resources and guidelines on how to use ChatGPT in the classroom have been circulating around the web (such as the ThirdBox guide). If you cannot access the OpenAI platform yet, you can check what a ChatGPT essay looks like below., and let us know your opinions on the matter in the comments section.

A ChatGPT essay

Prompt: Write a university-level essay on the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. Elaborate on the relevance of Thomas Cranmer in the process.



The Elizabethan Religious Settlement, also known as the Elizabethan Settlement of Religion, was a series of acts and laws passed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the late 16th century in England. The settlement aimed to establish a middle ground between the Catholic and Protestant factions within the country, in an effort to bring religious unity and stability to the realm.


One of the key figures in the process of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement was Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Cranmer was a leading figure in the English Reformation and had been appointed as Archbishop by Henry VIII in 1533. Under Elizabeth, Cranmer played a crucial role in the drafting and implementation of the settlement, particularly in the creation of the Book of Common Prayer.


The Book of Common Prayer, first published in 1549, was a liturgical manual that aimed to provide a common form of worship for the Church of England. It was heavily influenced by Cranmer's own theology, which emphasized the role of faith and scripture in worship, rather than the traditional Catholic emphasis on sacraments and ritual. The book was widely adopted and became a central aspect of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, helping to establish a uniform and moderate form of Anglicanism throughout the country.


Cranmer's influence on the settlement can also be seen in the 39 Articles, a statement of doctrine and belief for the Church of England, which were also heavily influenced by Cranmer's theology. The articles were adopted in 1571 and further solidified the moderate and scriptural basis of the Church of England.


In addition to his role in creating the liturgical and theological framework of the settlement, Cranmer also played a key role in implementing it. He worked to establish a system of bishops and archbishops to oversee the Church of England, and helped to establish a system of church courts to enforce the settlement.


The Elizabethan Religious Settlement was a significant event in English history, as it helped to establish the Church of England as a separate entity from the Catholic Church and laid the foundations for Anglicanism as a distinct denomination. It also helped to bring religious unity and stability to the country, after the turmoil of the Reformation. Thomas Cranmer played a crucial role in the process, through his influence on the liturgy and theology of the Church of England, and his role in the implementation of the settlement.