Artificial Intelligence and KSPA Contests
As we continue to work towards creating the best environment for learning and growth for student journalists in Kansas, we’re introducing new measures to safeguard the integrity of KSPA contests from artificial intelligence.
This policy will apply to the Regional and State writing contests. Other policies may be developed in the future.
Artificial intelligence performs very well when given a set of facts and quotes. Generative AI synthesizes those elements well and can write in a journalistic style. In that way, AI is perfectly suited to “cheat” on Regional or State Contests. The same kind of cheating is less simple (at least for the moment) with visual contests and with contests that require students to report in their communities (like Writer of the Year).
KSPA Policy on Artificial Intelligence in Regional & State Contests
The use of artificial intelligence is prohibited in all KSPA contests. KSPA’s goals remain the same: encouraging learning, providing feedback and developing journalists through competitions. The use of artificial intelligence by competitors would damage these goals.
New guidelines to prevent the use of AI in KSPA contests
Student and adviser acknowledgment
During registration, advisers will check off an acknowledgment:
I affirm that, as the KSPA adviser for my students, I will arrange for the proctoring of the Writing Contests between (date/time) and (date/time). The proctoring arrangements will allow time for all writing contests to be completed under the supervision of a faculty/staff member from my school who will enforce KSPA rules about 1) individual work, 2) no use of artificial intelligence, and 3) only approved web pages: Google Classrooms (www.classroom.google.com) and The Associated Press Stylebook Online (www.apstylebook.com).
During the course of submitting their entry, all Regional/State writing contest students will confirm that their contest entry is entirely composed of their own original work and was not aided by the use of AI. You can see those acknowledgments on the sample prompt here: LINK
KSPA wants to ensure students submit their best, original work. For that reason, students must complete their Regional/State writing entries in a supervised setting. This supervision does not apply to visual contests.
For that reason, any school with State/Regional writing students must monitor the entirety of students’ work on the writing project and ensure that the projects are done without the assistance from other people or the use of unapproved websites, including artificial intelligence.
KSPA’s mission is to help student journalists grow by providing professional-level feedback to students. However, this mission is only possible if the work presented is done solely by the students. Thank you for your help in ensuring that KSPA can continue to provide the best service to student journalists by preventing the use of AI in KSPA contests.
This is similar to how KSPA contests were run prior to COVID-19, when all students completed their entries in a supervised room. The only change? That supervision will be provided by the school, rather than at a Regional contest location.
The KSPA adviser should arrange the proctored situation, whether during school, before school or after school. The adviser may proctor the contest themselves or ask for another school staff/faculty member to proctor. The proctored contest time can also be during instructional time, such as newspaper or yearbook class.
The KSPA adviser can arrange for the proctored contest time to be in school or gather students in a location away from campus. KSPA will not provide local locations to proctor the contest.
The proctor of the contest should have and enforce these instructions:
Thank you for proctoring the Kansas Scholastic Press Association’s Regional/State Contest. You are a key part of making our competitions fair and educational for thousands of student journalists around the state of Kansas. We appreciate you so much!
During your time proctoring the contest, please be sure you have a clear view of all student screens. Those screens should only be accessing the following two windows:
- Google Classrooms, which is the KSPA contest system (www.classrooms.google.com)
- AP Stylebook Online (www.apstylebook.com)
To create their entries, students cannot use any writing programs, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs. The entirety of the writing should occur in the answer space within the KSPA quiz. Please note: students will not be able to cut and paste into the answer space on the quiz. They must type the entire entry.
The entire entry must be completed in one “sitting” — students cannot visit the prompt and complete it later. Similarly, they cannot divide the time that they use to work on the contest during two different blocks of time.
Students should not access artificial intelligence websites, such as ChatGPT.
Students should only use screens that you can see, such as laptops and tablets. Students may not use their cell phones during the contest.
Students may bring printed resources, such as notes, handouts and staff manuals. However, these may not be accessed through a device.
Students are responsible for their independent work. Please do not help them with the creation and writing of their entry in any way. The instructions from KSPA should guide the students.
Thanks again for proctoring the KSPA Regional/State Contests. We couldn’t do this without you!
Many KSPA students compete in more than one writing contest. In these situations, students need to complete all of the KSPA contests under the supervision of a proctor.
KSPA has made two changes that we hope will encourage students to continue participating in multiple writing contests:
- Limiting the complexity and amount of facts/notes that we provide so that students can write more quickly.
- Limiting students to 65 minutes for each contest.