How To Detect Ai-Generated Essays: Tips For Instructors

How to Detect AI-Generated Essays: Tips for Instructors

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the world, and education is not immune to this trend. AI-generated essays are a growing concern for instructors, as students are turning to AI-powered tools to complete assignments. While these tools may save time and effort, they pose a threat to academic integrity and the quality of education. Therefore, it is crucial for instructors to learn how to detect AI-generated essays. In this article, we’ll discuss some tips and strategies for detecting AI-generated essays and preventing their use.

Understanding AI-Generated Essays

Before we dive into detection strategies, it’s important to understand what AI-generated essays are and how they’re created. AI-generated essays are essays created using artificial intelligence tools, such as GPT-3, essay generators, article spinners, and paraphrasing tools. These tools use complex algorithms and natural language processing to generate essays based on a given prompt or topic. The essays generated by these tools are often indistinguishable from essays written by humans.

There are different types of AI-generated essays, including those created from scratch and those generated by modifying existing essays. Essays generated from scratch are created using algorithms that analyze a prompt or topic and generate an essay based on that analysis. Essays generated by modifying existing essays are created by taking an existing essay and using algorithms to change words, phrases, and sentence structure. These essays are often referred to as “spun” essays.

Signs of AI-Generated Essays

While AI-generated essays may seem convincing at first glance, there are some signs that instructors can look for to detect them. One of the most significant signs is the language pattern used in the essay. AI-generated essays often have a consistent and unnatural language pattern, with a lack of nuance and variety in sentence structure. Another sign is inconsistencies in the writing style, such as changes in tone or writing quality. Additionally, AI-generated essays may lack coherence and organization, with paragraphs that don’t flow smoothly or make sense together. Finally, these essays often use complex vocabulary and syntax, which may be out of place for the level of the student or the topic at hand.

Common Tools Used to Generate AI Essays

To effectively detect AI-generated essays, instructors need to be familiar with the tools that students are using to create them. Some of the most common tools used to generate AI essays include GPT-3, essay generators, article spinners, and paraphrasing tools. GPT-3 is one of the most advanced AI language models available and can generate coherent and complex essays. Essay generators use a similar algorithm to generate essays from a given prompt, while article spinners modify existing articles to create new content. Paraphrasing tools rephrase existing sentences and paragraphs to avoid plagiarism, but they can also be used to create AI-generated essays.

Importance of Detecting AI-Generated Essays

Detecting AI-generated essays is crucial for maintaining academic integrity and ensuring fairness in grading. Students who use AI-generated essays are cheating and not demonstrating their actual knowledge or skills. Additionally, AI-generated essays can create ethical concerns, as they blur the line between what is created by humans and what is created by machines. Finally, the use of AI-generated essays can have a significant impact on the quality of education, as it undermines the value of critical thinking, research, and writing skills.

How To Detect AI-Generated Essays

There are several methods that instructors can use to detect AI-generated essays. These include:

1. Look for Unnatural Language Patterns

One of the telltale signs of an AI-generated essay is an unnatural language pattern. AI programs may use unusual or unfamiliar words and sentence structures that do not fit with the student’s typical writing style. Instructors should pay attention to any inconsistencies in language, including sudden changes in vocabulary or tone.

2. Check for Inconsistent Tone

Another sign of an AI-generated essay is an inconsistent tone. AI programs may struggle to maintain a consistent tone throughout the essay, resulting in sudden shifts in style or perspective. Instructors should look for abrupt changes in the writer’s voice or tone, as these can be indicators of AI-generated content.

3. Use AI Detection Software

Premium AI detection software such as can also be used to detect AI-generated essays. These programs compare a student’s work against a vast database of existing texts, looking for similarities and matches. While plagiarism detection software is not foolproof, it can be an effective tool for identifying instances of AI-generated content.

Other free versions include Content at Scale’s AI detection tool or the tool provided by CopyLeaks.

Preventing the Use of AI-Generated Essays

While detecting AI-generated essays is important, prevention is even better. Instructors can take several steps to prevent the use of AI-generated essays. One approach is to create unique and challenging essay prompts that require critical thinking and analysis, making it difficult for students to use AI-generated essays. Instructors can also assign in-class essays or provide timed writing assignments to prevent students from using AI tools. Another approach is to educate students about the dangers of using AI-generated essays, the importance of academic integrity, and the consequences of cheating.

Addressing the Root Cause

Finally, instructors should consider addressing the root cause of the problem. Students may turn to AI-generated essays due to a lack of confidence in their writing abilities or a lack of time to complete assignments. Instructors can provide writing workshops, tutoring, or extra support to help students develop their writing skills and gain confidence. They can also provide clear instructions and expectations for assignments, as well as reasonable deadlines, to reduce the pressure on students.


AI-generated essays are a growing concern in education, and it’s crucial for instructors to learn how to detect and prevent their use. By understanding what AI-generated essays are, the signs of their use, and the common tools used to create them, instructors can effectively detect these essays. Additionally, by using prevention methods and addressing the root cause of the problem, instructors can maintain academic integrity and promote critical thinking and writing skills. Ultimately, by working together to combat the use of AI-generated essays, we can ensure that education remains a space for human creativity and intellectual growth.


What are AI-generated essays?

AI-generated essays are written by computer programs that use artificial intelligence technology to create content. These essays can be generated using various tools and algorithms and are designed to mimic human writing. They can be difficult to detect, as they can appear to be written by a human.

How can instructors detect AI-generated essays?

Instructors can detect AI-generated essays by looking for signs of unnatural language patterns, inconsistent tone, and plagiarism. They can also use software designed to detect AI-generated essays, such as Turnitin’s Authorship Investigate tool. Instructors can also educate themselves on the common tools and algorithms used to generate AI essays.

How can students be prevented from using AI-generated essays?

Instructors can prevent students from using AI-generated essays by creating unique and challenging essay prompts, assigning in-class essays, and providing writing workshops and tutoring to help students develop their writing skills. They can also educate students on the dangers of using AI-generated essays and the importance of academic integrity. Additionally, instructors can provide clear instructions and reasonable deadlines for assignments to reduce the pressure on students.

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About The Author

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Williams Alfred Onen

Williams Alfred Onen is a degree-holding computer science software engineer with a passion for technology and extensive knowledge in the tech field. With a history of providing innovative solutions to complex tech problems, Williams stays ahead of the curve by continuously seeking new knowledge and skills. He shares his insights on technology through his blog and is dedicated to helping others bring their tech visions to life.

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