Will ChatGPT Kill Homework and Take-Home Assessments?

ChatGPT could make homework and take-home assessments things of the past as this game-changing AI tool drives schools to rethink the value of homework. Will ChatGPT be the nail in the coffin for giving homework?

In the latest episode of the empowerED Podcast, I embarked on a reflective exercise on the possibility of ending homework and take-home assessments. I have long spoken about the importance of rethinking the role of homework in learning in many of my seminars and workshops. The topic of homework is polarizing. Research studies show that homework seems to not at all boost learning or achievement, especially because of the presence of inequity at the homefront. On the other hand, regulated homework could also help students to firm up their learning, especially if support at home is present. This article on Edutopia “What’s the Right Amount of Homework?” provides some specific data or evidence on the effect of homework on students at various grade levels.

In the Philippines, based on my observation, many schools still believe that students should be given homework. When they are at home, students are expected to continue studying – read assigned stories, chapters, or articles, answer worksheets or additional activities in their book, watch instructional videos on a topic, and many more. Often, lack of time for classroom instruction pushes teachers to have students do homework as a continuation of what was supposed to be done in school. Some students also work on take-home assessments, either purely assigned to be done at home or those that have not been completed in school. Again, this is because there was not enough time. Over the past years, there have been efforts to curb or limit the amount of homework being given to students. But, this seems to be not the case for a lot of schools.

This expectation of students doing homework revolves around assumptions. Homework assumes that there is a parent or home support readily available. It assumes that parents are at home when kids do their homework. What if these parents need to do more jobs to make ends meet, making them unable to go home early? What if the house is not conducive for learning because it is crowded or there’s a lack of access to resources for learning. Socio-economic inequality then plays an important role in the discussion on homework. The podcast discusses more of these assumptions which include the students’ capability for independent learning.

Now, ChatGPT is changing the landscape of education. Students at home can freely access this AI platform, which can give them information or essays that they could possibly submit as their original work. The presence of ChatGPT can now easily break the case for homework, which is to help students learn better at home. More importantly, take-home assessments’ validity and reliability are now endangered. This is not the first time that we, teachers, have been scared of this. Google, Sparksnotes, and other platforms have pushed us to question such practices years ago. However, because of wider access to the Internet and smartphones or personal gadgets, it is now much easier for students to disregard the academic integrity protocols set by schools. Cases of misrepresentations of work, notably due to ChatGPT and other AI tools, have been increasing, especially in the higher education spaces.

So, what are we supposed to do then? Maybe, this is the time to rethink the value and purpose of homework. Maybe, this is the time to rethink how we do assessments. Maybe, this is the time for us to move away from traditional practices that have long chained and prevented our education systems to move forward. Again, ChatGPT might just be that driver for us to open spaces for such reflection and discussions.

Give my podcast a listen. Listen on Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2kHX53u or Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2kEpabQ. Let me know what you think about ChatGPT and how it could potentially stop homework and take-home assessments.