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September 24, 2023

KPMG Canada Research: 60 Percent of Students Think AI Is Cheating, 52 Percent Use It For Schoolwork Anyway

homework and an open book

KPMG Canada has surveyed a bunch of Canadian students over the age of 18 about generative AI and found that while many of them are using AI to help with schoolwork, still more think that’s cheating. Unsurprisingly, educators don’t seem to be using AI in the classroom to the extent their students are for their own schoolwork.

Here are the key findings:

  • 52 percent of Canadian students are using generative AI to assist them in their schoolwork
  • 60 percent of students who use generative AI for their schoolwork feel that it constitutes cheating
  • Almost nine in 10 (87 percent) say generative AI improved the quality of their schoolwork
  • 68 percent say their grades improved after using generative AI
  • 81 percent believe all students should learn how to use generative AI tools much in the same way that coding has become a crucial skill
  • 72 percent want more courses on how to use generative AI and an equal percentage (72 percent) want their educators to use generative AI in the classroom to enhance the educational learning process
  • 76 percent say the more they use generative AI, the more excited they are about its potential
  • 65 percent say the more they use generative AI, the more worried they are about what it’s capable of
  • Only 14 percent agreed strongly that their educators are using generative AI in the classroom (e.g., create new teaching materials, generating questions or personalized study plans, creating games and simulations, providing personalized real-time feedback, etc.)

So what are students using AI for? Idea generation, mostly. Though more than a third are using it to write essays or reports.

  • Idea generation (70 percent)
  • Research (55 percent)
  • Writing essays or reports (39 percent)

Almost 70 percent of students surveyed admit they always or sometimes claim AI-generated content as their own original work. And only 37 percent say they always do a fact-check of AI-generated content.

Here’s the bit that’s relevant to us old working people: the research found that significantly more students than employed working professionals have embraced generative AI (52 percent vs. 19 percent, respectively).

“The growing popularity of these tools puts a lot of pressure on educators and educational institutions to quickly develop and communicate guiding principles and guardrails on how they should be used. But the dilemma is, where do you draw the line?,” says C.J. James, Partner and National Education Practice Leader, KPMG in Canada. “With so many students feeling like they’re cheating by claiming AI-generated content as their own original work, that’s a big problem. Educators will need to become AI literate and students need to know what’s expected of them.”

With the clear demand from students to learn best practices around generative AI, educators and educational institutions have an opportunity to expand their academic curriculum by offering courses, including AI ethics, says Ms. James.

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