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Did a Fourth Grader Write This?
January 20, 2023
The least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable.
-Stephen Covey, educator, author, businessman, 1932-3012

“I’m just gonna say it’s a student and prepare for my soul to be crushed.”

This is how one teacher responded when asked to identify whether a brief passage was written by a fourth grade human or a chatbot which was given the prompt, "Write an above-average essay at a 4th-grade reading level to respond to the following prompt. Be vivid and descriptive."

Chatbots, including rising star ChatGPT, seem to have appeared from nowhere to suddenly be everywhere. They interpret natural language prompts such as the one above to produce writing that's eerily hard to distinguish from human-written passages. Try your hand at the same quiz courtesy of the New York Times.

Teachers everywhere are debating the perils and benefits of ChatGPT and other chatbots. While many fear what it means for plagiarism, some are excited about the possibilities. Share your thoughts in the comments.


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