9. GenAI in Assessments

Now that we have a clearer idea of what GenAI is, let’s look at how these tools may be incorporated into an alternative assessment.

Alternative Assessments

We haven’t yet covered alternative assessments (we will do this in the DESIGN section of the course), but here’s a quick primer.

Another word for alternative assessments is non-traditional assessments. In other words, “not exams.” They are assessments that allow students to showcase how their understanding of the topic links with their broader understanding of the world (for example, other topics or how to apply it to a complex real-world problem). Often, they allow students to use their skills and understanding as they would in the real world (authentic assessments) or to create a deliverable that has a purpose beyond the classroom assessment (i.e., renewable rather than disposable assignments). Creating these assignments often draws upon students’ creative, critical thinking, and communication skills. Usually, no two submissions are the same, making them more interesting to grade. Though there are many ways to evaluate them, a rubric is often used since a rubric makes transparent what’s expected in engaging in this assessment activity. Because these forms of assessments are often project based, the word “assignment” can be used interchangeably with assessment in this context.

Ideas for Using GenAI in an Alternative Assessment

Let’s start thinking about how GenAI will be used in your assessment activity. The goal isn’t to come up with your activity, but rather to survey some possibilities that may inspire your design work later on.

Start by reviewing the following document. It is a well-organized list of ~40 assessment ideas that invite learners to use GenAI. Each assignment idea is listed on a card, and is rated with a star-system (e.g., 3 stars, 4 stars) on criteria such as challenge for learners, staff time to implement, etc...

Arnold, L., Bowditch, I., & Kjems, L.M. (2022). Assessment Ideas for an Ai-Enabled World.

This next suggested resource is a crowdsourced collection of ideas from educators about how to embed the use of GenAI into an assignment. Review this document and find 3 to 5 ideas that pique your interest for your class.

Chrissi Nerantzi, Sandra Abegglen, Marianna Karatsiori, & Antonio Martínez-Arboleda (Eds.). (2023). 101 Creative Ideas to Use AI in Education, A Crowdsourced Collection (2023 1.1) [Computer software]. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8224168
(Note: when you click on the above DOI link, you will be taken to version 1.1 of the document, which was published July 31, 2023. Check on the webpage to see if there is a newer version and download the latest one. This collection continues to grow as people submit new ideas.)

We also recommend that you explore the following webpage which proposes 10 different types of prompts for a GenAI chatbot (different ways in which you can interact with a written GenAI tools, like ChatGPT).

UBC Promptathon 2023 (2023). Types of Prompts. University of British Columbia. https://blogs.ubc.ca/promptathon/prompting-cheat-sheet/types-of-prompt/ 

If you would like to check out more ideas, visit some of the links below.

  • Benjamin Breen presents his idea for an assessment: The Medieval Plague Simulator. Breen is a history educator and he gives his learners a ChatGPT prompt that they must enter into the tool. The GenAI then provides each learners with a different role playing case study, where learners make decisions, and the case unfolds. Could be an interesting inspiration where, with a few tweaks, you could turn this into a prompt for your course...
  • Educator Andrew Burton wrote about his experience of assigning the optional use of ChatGPT in an assignment where students responded to a job posting with a resume and cover letter. When engaging in this type of assignment, it will be important to remind students to NOT submit any personal information into the GenAI.
  • Aaron Drapkin created an article describing 40 ways to use ChatGPT at work. Many of these examples (like using ChatGPT to craft an email or a meeting agenda) could be adapted to make it an authentic assignment (e.g., the meeting agenda could be an effective way to assess whether students understand the steps of a project or the sub-topics in a discipline).
  • Ethan Mollick has written several articles about using GenAI in the classroom. Some have been referenced earlier in this course. The ones in bold are especially recommended.
  • Faculty Focus article describes how writing assessments are changed in light of ChatGPT. The section “Method 3: If you can’t beat them, join them” provides five generic (and highly adaptable) ideas for integrating ChatGPT into written assignments.
  • James Lang, author of the wonderful book Small Teaching, write a book review for the book Next Generation Genres: Teaching Writing for Civic and Academic Engagement by Jessica Singer Early. Singer Early argues that the standard university essay is not the best way to assess student learning and she suggests 8 other forms of assessment (e.g., the Op-Ed, the Podcast, the Profile, the Infographic). In his review, Lang argues that these are ways work alongside ChatGPT.
  • Montana State University – check out the section “Encouraging Students to Explore AI,” which describes 7 “generic” (and highly adaptable) ways to encourage students to explore GenAI.
  • Scribbr (and online essay assistant platform) provides instructions for using ChatGPT to create a research question, an outline, literature ideas, paraphrasing text, and getting feedback. Though directed at students, this article can inspire some assignment ideas. Notably, it offers suggestions for engaging in a conversation with ChatGPT to progressively refine its output towards the desired goal.
  • UBC suggests ways to include ChatGPT into assignments, including two examples, one taken from a nutrition course and one from an educational technology course. The EdTech assignment has been described in more details here.
  • Washington University in St.Louis has put out a brief info sheet on how to include ChatGPT into an assignment. It proposes 7 ways to do it.
  • Wilfred Laurier University has compiled a list of 24 assessment formats (from case studies to portfolios to concept maps) and describes now only how to make each “GenAI-proof” (i.e., how to ensure students don’t engage in plagiarism using GenAI), but also how to incorporate GenAI into each one. You can find them under the section “Assessment Strategies” of the webpage.
Finally, don't forget to take a look at the slides for the (Optional) Live Session. It contains a wealth of examples and resources that can inspire your thinking.