AI in the Classroom – How to Spot a Dirty Essay

AI in the Classroom

AI’s integration into various educational processes is transforming the way we approach learning and teaching.

However, this advancement brings its own set of challenges. One of the most pressing issues is the rise of AI-generated ‘dirty essays‘ – assignments crafted not by diligent students, but by sophisticated algorithms. 

This article delves into the intricacies of identifying such AI-produced essays in the classroom.

Understanding the AI Influence in Education

AI in the Classroom

The advent of AI in education has been a double-edged sword. On one hand, AI tools offer remarkable opportunities for personalised learning, data-driven insights, and efficient classroom management. 

On the other hand, they have opened the floodgates to a new form of academic dishonesty: AI-generated essays. These essays are often difficult to distinguish from student-written work, raising concerns about the integrity of academic assessments.

Identifying AI-Generated Essays

The challenge of spotting AI-produced essays lies in their sophistication. These essays often mimic human writing styles, making detection a complex task. However, there are several tell-tale signs that educators can look for.

Unusual Language Patterns

AI-generated texts often display peculiar language patterns. Was this text written by a human or AI?

This question becomes pertinent when encountering overly formal tones, awkward phrasing, or an inconsistent style. A keen eye for these anomalies can be the first step in identifying a dirty essay.

Lack of Personal Insight or Experience

AI algorithms, despite their complexity, cannot genuinely replicate personal experiences or insights that are typical in student essays. An essay lacking personal touch or real-world examples might be a red flag.

Overly Complex Sentences

AI tools sometimes overcomplicate sentences, using convoluted structures and excessive jargon. This is often a tactic to mask the lack of genuine understanding or insight.

Too Perfect or Too Imperfect

An essay that seems too polished, without the usual student errors, or one that is riddled with unusual mistakes, can both be indicators of AI interference. A balance between perfection and imperfection is characteristic of human writing.

The Ethical Dilemma

The use of AI to generate essays raises significant ethical questions. It undermines the very essence of education – learning, understanding, and personal growth.

As educators, it’s crucial to foster an environment that discourages such practices and emphasises the value of authentic learning experiences.

Strategies to Combat AI-Generated Essays

To combat the issue of AI-generated essays, educators need to employ both technological and non-technological strategies.

Emphasising Critical Thinking and Creativity

Assignments that require critical thinking, creativity, and personal reflection are less likely to be completed by AI. Encouraging such tasks can reduce the temptation to rely on AI-generated content.

Using Plagiarism Detection Tools

While traditional plagiarism tools may not always catch AI-generated essays, they are evolving. Newer versions are starting to include features specifically designed to detect AI-generated content.

Open-Ended and Specific Topics

Assigning topics that require specific, current knowledge or personal viewpoints makes it harder for students to use AI tools effectively. This approach encourages genuine effort and research.

Oral Examinations and Discussions

Following up on written assignments with oral examinations or discussions can help verify the authenticity of a student’s work. It provides an opportunity to assess their understanding and grasp of the subject.


The integration of AI in the classroom is a transformative development with far-reaching implications. However, the rise of AI-generated essays poses a serious challenge to academic integrity.

By being vigilant and employing a combination of strategies, educators can help maintain the sanctity of academic assessments.

It’s about striking a balance between embracing technological advancements and preserving the core values of education. As we navigate this new era, the focus must remain on fostering genuine learning and intellectual growth.