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Lancaster University announces that use of AI in exams could lead to expulsion

‘Every year, some will attempt to gain an advantage in online and in-person exams by breaking the rules’


Lancaster University has released its views on the use of AI technology in university work.

In a recent article published to the university portal, Professor Alisdair Gillespie, University Dean for Academic Quality, spoke on behalf of the university.

Profesor Gillespie explained that the use of AI technology in exams would be labelled misconduct.

The article acknowledges that AI is “fascinating, and here to stay” with academic uses such as “diagnosing problems or sorting through data, assisting with ideas and structure, or explaining obscure text”.

It is stated that as students “progress through [their] studies and into the workplace, [they] will increasingly use AI”, and thus the university is “thinking carefully about how we incorporate AI into our teaching, your learning and indeed our approach to employability”.

However, Professor Gillespie places emphasis on the “limitations of AI”, drawing attention to the fact that AI is “still in its infancy” and “not particularly good at critical reviews”. Furthermore, he reiterates that when a student submits a piece of work or an exam, they certify that the work is theirs and that they have had no external help. The use of AI would flout this certification, and be an example of misconduct.

Academic misconduct is labelled as “seeking to gain an unfair advantage”, and any student caught committing this misconduct will “face penalties”. Professor Gillespie explained that in the past, students have been expelled or had their “degree classification lowered” due to misconduct.

He advises: “If you are taking an in-person exam, do not try and take things into the exam hall you can’t. If you are doing online exams, then make sure that you are confident it is your work and that you have acknowledged all assistance.”

Professor Gillespie states, “Every year, some will attempt to gain an advantage in online and in-person exams by breaking the rules. We do find them, and we do take action”, and “the best defence to accusations of malpractice is truth and acknowledging how your work was created”.