Beyond CheatBots: Examining Tensions in Teachers’ and Students’ Perceptions of Cheating and Learning with ChatGPT

Christopher Mah, Hillary Walker, Lena Phalen, Sarah Levine, Sarah W. Beck, Jaylen Pittman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly integrated into educational technologies, teachers and students must acquire new forms of AI literacy, including an understanding of responsible use of AI. In this study, we explored tensions in teachers’ and students’ opinions about what constitutes learning and cheating with AI. Using qualitative methods, we asked Pre-K through postsecondary writing teachers (n = 16) and a linguistically diverse group of students (n = 12) to consider examples of how students might use ChatGPT, rank them in order of how much they thought each student learned and cheated, and explain their rankings. Our study yielded three findings. First, teachers and students used similar criteria to determine their rankings. Second, teachers and students arrived at similar conclusions about learning with ChatGPT but different conclusions about cheating. Finally, disagreements centered on four main tensions between (1) using ChatGPT as a shortcut versus as a scaffold; (2) using ChatGPT to generate ideas versus language; (3) getting support from ChatGPT versus analogous support from other sources; and (4) learning from ChatGPT versus learning without. These findings underscore the importance of student voice in co-constructing norms around responsible AI use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number500
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • AI literacy
  • ChatGPT
  • cheating
  • comparative study
  • generative AI
  • plagiarism
  • qualitative research
  • student perceptions
  • teacher perceptions
  • writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond CheatBots: Examining Tensions in Teachers’ and Students’ Perceptions of Cheating and Learning with ChatGPT'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this