AI, vocational educational education and training and the International Baccalaureate

There is really only one story in town when it comes to education technology. After years of forecasting the rise of AI and not a lot happening the release of ChatGPT and Generative AI programmes has generally panicked institutions worldwide. Indeed, it may seem strange in the future that so much of what was considered learning rested on the essay. Interestingly though, Vocational Education and Training does not suffer from the same obsession, although in some countries VET programmes include school based learning. The issue for VET is how to measure practical competence and AI shows little sign of being able to do that. But at the same time Generative AI will have immense impact on Vocational Education and Training, in that the curricula for almost every occupational subject will need renewal to reflect in introduction of AI in work processes.

Meanwhile the International Baccalaureate has bucked the trend from exam bodies and is embracing the new world of AI. In a statement it said:

The IB believes that artificial intelligence (AI) technology will become part of our everyday lives—like spell checkers, translation software and calculators. We, therefore, need to adapt and transform our educational programmes and assessment practices so that students can use these new AI tools ethically and effectively……

Students should be aware that the IB does not regard any work produced—even only in part—by such tools, to be their own. Therefore, as with any quote or material from another source, it must be clear that AI-generated text, image or graph included in a piece of work, has been copied from such software. The software must be credited in the body of the text and appropriately referenced in the bibliography. As with current practice, an essay which is predominantly quotes will not get many, if any, marks with an IB mark scheme. As with any quote or material adapted from another source, it must be credited in the body of the text and appropriately referenced in the bibliography……

Essay writing is, however, being profoundly challenged by the rise of new technology and there’s no doubt that it will have much less prominence in the future…..we need our pupils to master different skills, such as understanding if the essay is any good or if it has missed context, has used biased data or if it is lacking in creativity. These will be far more important skills than writing an essay, so the assessment tasks we set will need to reflect this.”

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