ChatGPT in public policy teaching and assessment: An examination of opportunities and challenges

Daniel Casey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper presents the findings of an innovative assessment task that required students to use ChatGPT for drafting a policy brief to an Australian Government minister. The study explores how future public policy students perceive ChatGPT's role in both public policy and teaching and assessment. Through self-reflective essays and focus group discussions, the research looks at the limitations of ChatGPT that the students identified, demonstrating it struggles to produce analytically sound, politically responsive, and nuanced policy recommendations. The findings align with the “technoscepticism” theoretical frame, indicating concerns that artificial intelligence (AI) tools could undermine good policy analysis processes. The students supported greater use of ChatGPT in the classroom, to increase ChatGPT-literacy, help students learn to engage ethically and appropriately with AI tools, and better develop evaluative judgement skills. The paper contributes insights into the intersection of ChatGPT, teaching and assessment, and public policy and seeks to prompt further exploration and discussion on the implications of integrating ChatGPT into both public policy and its education and assessment. Points for practitioners: Future public service graduates are highly sceptical about the value of ChatGPT for developing policy. They are concerned about the ethical implications, the lack of transparency, and the impact it may have on marginalised communities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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