Turnitin Launches New AI Detection Tool for College Professors

The digital tool promises to detect 97% of ChatGPT and GPT-authored work.
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Chloe Appleby
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Chloe Appleby is an associate writer for BestColleges. She contributes to both the News and Data teams, writing both higher education news stories and data reports for the site. She graduated from Davidson College with a BA in English and communicati...
Updated on April 19, 2023
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  • The newest AI detection tool is set to launch April 4 and will be added to the company's preexisting products.
  • Turnitin's detector has been trained specifically on academic sources as opposed to just publicly available content.
  • Turnitin joins an increasingly crowded marketplace of companies offering higher education AI detection tools.

Starting today, a company says it is giving educators in higher education a powerful new tool for detecting artificial intelligence-generated writing.

Turnitin — a tech company founded in 1998 and used by 16,000 educational institutions, publishers, and corporations around the world — released its new artificial intelligence (AI) detection tool, adding it to its preexisting systems, including Turnitin Feedback Studio and Turnitin Originality.

The launch makes good on a promise made back in February, when Turnitin announced that it had developed an AI detector that would provide teachers with the tools they need to maintain academic integrity.

Turnitin promises its tool will detect 97% of ChatGPT and GPT-authored work.

With the tool's official release, Turnitin joins an increasingly crowded marketplace of companies offering higher education AI detection tools.

Turnitin said its model stands out from other detectors because it has been trained "specifically on academic writing sourced from a comprehensive database," which gives it the upper hand in finding dishonesty in student-written assignments.

Based on a video tutorial of the tool, its model is also able to detect which specific sentences of an assignment are AI-generated and which sentences are human-written.

The company also launched an AI writing resource page to help educators adjust to the new academic environment.

The company has been working on the tool for several years, but its release is likely the result of nationwide fear about AI tools like ChatGPT and their impact on the future of higher education.

In a recent BestColleges survey, about 1 in 5 college students (22%) reported that they have used AI to complete their schoolwork. Half of the students surveyed agree that using AI tools to complete assignments and exams count as cheating or plagiarism.

"We are being very deliberate in releasing a detector that is highly accurate and trained on the largest dataset of academic writing," said Annie Chechitelli, chief product officer at Turnitin. "It is essential that our detector and any others limit false positives that may impact student engagement or motivation."