Academic Integrity in the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Like me, you may have been reading a lot about the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the media and online. I’ve been experimenting with Chat GPT for several months now as I seek out new ways to streamline my workflow and enhance my productivity. Many of my colleagues here at the College are exploring the space too, testing various tools and platforms and sharing approaches to learning and teaching which draw upon the powerful potential of this technology. With these advancements in this technology comes questions about ethics and the importance of academic integrity.

Integrity is central to assessment – every student has a choice to make about how they honour and take responsibility for their own learning journey through the creation of original work samples which are submitted for assessment. In the context of the externally administered Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), teachers must be able to authenticate any work sample submitted by a student for assessment as their own. Whether they are in Year 7 or Year 12, the onus is on each student to ensure that they submit work samples for assessment which are their own, and for which they have not received undue assistance from AI, other students, parents, or tutors.

Our approach to academic integrity

Across all year levels at the College, tasks that are submitted electronically are subject to review using Turnitin, a sophisticated online tool which detects plagiarism and can distinguish between AI- and human-written text. Turnitin is a well-regarded tool, with exemplary accuracy, which is utilised by secondary and tertiary institutions alike. Whether at Whitefriars or at university, plagiarism is a serious academic misdemeanour which carries a range of consequences.

Where teachers are concerned about the academic integrity of a student’s work, the Learning Leader will be notified, and the matter investigated. Where instances of plagiarism or AI-use is confirmed, students in Years 7-10 will be interviewed and provided with the opportunity to discuss their choices. In these instances, the student will receive a mark of “0” for the given task. VCE students may be required to appear before an Academic Panel. In some cases, such behaviours indicate that the student is struggling to manage the pressure of the academic program and is a cry for help – in which case, a referral will be made to the College’s wellbeing staff and support provided in research and study skills.

Where plagiarism or AI-use is suspected but unconfirmed across any year level, the student will be interviewed and provided with an opportunity to reproduce a work sample under teacher supervision and without the use of technology. This secondary work sample will then be assessed to determine the assessment result that the student will receive for the task. Generally, such tasks will be completed on Friday afternoon afterschool.

Our approach to academic integrity at Whitefriars is an educative one, rather than a punitive one, which encourages every student to have pride in their efforts and their capabilities. Throughout the curriculum, students are provided with guidance on how to be discerning in research and how to select credible information sources. They are also explicitly taught how to take notes and acknowledge sources appropriately. AI is going to be a part of the world of work that each of our young people will move into in the future, and they will increasingly face ethical dilemmas which demand that they remain true to their values and embody all that it is to be a gentle man of Whitefriars.


Mrs Catherine Spurritt

Deputy Principal – Learning & Teaching