Trial to see if ChatGPT can reduce teacher workload

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has announced a new trial which will explore whether supporting teachers to use ChatGPT – a generative AI tool – for lesson planning can reduce their overall working hours. 

The trial, which is open to secondary schools, will find out whether an accessible online guide, designed by Bain & Company’s Social Impact practice and The Hg Foundation, can help teachers make best use of ChatGPT for efficient lesson planning. 

The toolkit provides technical support to use generative AI to generate activity ideas; tailor existing lesson materials to specific groups of children; and produce clear explanations, step-by-step examples or model examples.

As part of the evaluation, led by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), 58 schools will be randomly assigned to either the ChatGPT group or control group. Those assigned to the delivery group will use ChatGPT in their Key Stage 3 science lesson and resource preparation, supported by the online ChatGPT guide. The control group will not use ChatGPT or any other GenAI tool in any lesson and resource preparation. 

In addition to online diary entries and surveys, all participants will also be asked to submit lesson plans to an independent panel of teachers, who will use them to compare and assess the quality of AI-generated lesson resources. 

Professor Becky Francis CBE, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said: "Finding ways to make life easier for hardworking, time-poor teachers has never been more important.

"This is an extraordinarily exciting project – one of the first of its kind to look at how generative AI could be used to lighten their significant workload.

"There’s already huge anticipation around how this technology could transform teachers’ roles, but the research into its actual impact on practice is – currently – limited.

"The findings from this trial will be an important contribution to the evidence base, bringing us closer to understanding how teachers can use AI to their advantage in their classrooms."

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