Turnitin AI Checker

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What is Turnitin AI Checker?

The Turnitin AI checker is an advanced tool aimed at maintaining the integrity of school work in a time when artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT are popular. This tool helps teachers find out if a student’s work was written by an AI or a person.

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As AI becomes more common in schools, figuring out whether homework is human or AI-generated is challenging. The Turnitin AI checker steps in by checking submissions to see if they’re made by AI. It works right alongside Turnitin’s existing tools, making it easy for teachers to use without having to learn how to use a new interface.

As with all other tools, the AI checker Turnitin sometimes makes mistakes, flagging a student’s own writing as AI-written. To avoid confusion, Turnitin provides reports and tips on how to understand the checker’s findings. This helps teachers make the best decisions about what’s original and what might not be.

How to Use Turnitin AI Checker?

Using the Turnitin AI checker helps teachers spot when AI tools like ChatGPT have been used to create a student’s work. Here’s a simple way to use it:

  • Easy to Use: The AI checker is part of Turnitin’s regular tools, so teachers won’t have to learn a new system. It works alongside tools they already use, like the Feedback Studio (plagiarism checker).
  • Checking Work: When a student turns in their assignment, the AI checker automatically scans the text alongside Turnitin’s traditional plagiarism checker. It tries to figure out if the work might have been AI-generated.
  • Reviewing Results: The tool provides teachers with a report that states the likelihood that the submission has AI-written parts. This is presented as a percentage alongside the standard similarity report issued by the plagiarism checker. Teachers can view detailed insights to help them understand what to do next, based on their institution’s policies regarding AI-generated content.
  • Understanding False Positives: Sometimes, the system might get it wrong and think a student’s work is AI-written when it isn’t. The tool is designed to minimize false positives, but it also provides guidance on interpreting the results to help teachers decide for themselves.
  • Educational Resources: Turnitin also has tips and guides for teachers. These include strategies for discussing academic integrity with students and how to incorporate AI tools responsibly in educational settings.

With the AI checker Turnitin, teachers can make sure student assignments are their own work, supporting genuine student effort and learning.

How Does Turnitin AI Checker Work?

The AI Checker Turnitin operates by breaking down a paper into text segments, analyzing each segment against models trained to recognize AI writing.

However, this is tricky. Large language models (LLMs) like GPT-3 and GPT-3.5, which Turnitin’s tool can currently detect, are very good at mimicking human writing, so it’s hard to catch. In fact, a study showed that even linguistics experts couldn’t always tell the difference between human and AI writing, getting it right less than half the time.

Turnitin is not transparent about the exact processes and techniques behind identifying AI writing. However, writing detectors generally use natural language processing (NLP) techniques to detect whether something was created by a person or an AI.

They mainly look at two things: perplexity and burstiness.

  • Perplexity

It is about how predictable or surprising the text is. AI tools tend to make writing that’s easy to predict and smooth to read. If a piece of writing doesn’t have many surprises and is pretty smooth, the program thinks it might be AI-written because it has a low perplexity score.

But if the writing is more unpredictable, with many different word choices, it’s likely a person wrote it, showing a high perplexity score.

  • Burstiness

It looks at how sentences change in length and structure. AI-written texts tend to be very uniform, with sentences that look alike in length and structure, which means they have low burstiness.

People, on the other hand, mix things up more, using short and long sentences and different structures, leading to high burstiness.

How Good is Turnitin AI Checker?

The accuracy of Turnitin’s AI Checker is a hot topic in the education world.

  • One huge issue is false positives – when the system thinks a human-written piece was created by AI. For example, Vanderbilt University stopped using Turnitin’s AI checker, citing a lack of transparency and worries about it making mistakes, like wrongly accusing students of using AI. For instance, there were multiple instances of innocent students being wrongly flagged by the AI checker.
  • Another issue is that some students might try to hide that they used AI by mixing AI writing with their own. This makes it even harder for tools like Turnitin to figure out what’s going on.
  • Moreover, some studies and articles have raised concerns that AI writing checkers might not be fair to people who learned English as a second language, often called English language learner (ELL) writers. This means the tools might mistakenly flag their work as AI-generated more often than they should.

In response, Turnitin conducted a study showing their AI detector doesn’t unfairly target ELLs, ensuring fairness in detecting AI-written content. Testing on diverse academic samples, including ELL writings, revealed no significant bias, with efforts ongoing to refine detection accuracy and maintain a low false positive rate.

However, when considering all the above, it is obvious that teachers cannot just rely on the tool alone – they must also review what is being flagged as AI and decide for themselves whether this is accurate or not.

Pros and Cons of Turnitin AI Checker

Like any tool, the AI Checker Turnitin has its ups and downs. Here’s a breakdown of these:

Pros

Pros Description
Promotes Integrity It helps ensure that the work students submit is truly theirs and not written by AI programs like ChatGPT.
Tech Advancement As AI becomes more commonplace in education, this tool helps teachers keep up, making it easier to tell if the work is student-made.
Support for Educators It supports teachers by giving them a way to check the originality of student work easily.
Continuous Improvement Turnitin is constantly working to make the tool better, aiming to reduce mistakes where student work is wrongly flagged as AI-made.

Cons

Cons Description
False Positives There’s still a chance that the tool can mistakenly flag genuine student work as AI-made, which could unfairly affect grades.
Language Bias Concerns Some are concerned that the tool might not be fair to students who are learning English, although Turnitin has been working to fix this.
Dependence on Tech Relying heavily on this tool might make teachers complacent in spotting nuanced instances of academic dishonesty. They might also trust it blindly.

The Bottom Line

The Turnitin AI Checker is a significant step forward in academic integrity, helping teachers tell if homework was done by students or by AI tools like ChatGPT.

While it offers benefits like supporting academic honesty and helping teachers, there are still issues to work through, such as the chance of mistakenly marking a student’s work as AI-written and worries about it being unfair to students who are learning English.

Despite these challenges, Turnitin’s commitment to continuous improvement and fairness underscores its value as a tool in the educational landscape.

Teachers are advised to use this tool wisely, using their own judgment to ensure students are genuinely doing their work while also making the most of new technology.

FAQs

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Maria Webb
Technology Journalist
Maria Webb
Technology Journalist

Maria is a technology journalist with over five years of experience with a deep interest in AI and machine learning. She excels in data-driven journalism, making complex topics both accessible and engaging for her audience. Her work is prominently featured on Techopedia, Business2Community, and Eurostat, where she provides creative technical writing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours in English and a Master of Science in Strategic Management and Digital Marketing from the University of Malta. Maria's background includes journalism for Newsbook.com.mt, covering a range of topics from local events to international tech trends.