Ms Bass
Acting Head of Teaching and Learning

Meriden holds high academic expectations of all students. Our learning environment challenges students’ thinking, requiring them to develop the capacity to delve deep into academically rich research and to think critically. These are not skills that students possess when they commence at Meriden but, through our Lateral Learning program and rigorous classroom activities, students develop more sophistication in their skills over time. We value the learning process and hope that our students enjoy the satisfaction of being authentic and critical lifelong learners.

In the last five years, schools have demonstrated their capacity to be adaptive in a short period of time. The pandemic required educational organisations to pivot their approach to academic delivery overnight. Meriden was at the forefront of this change process and the transition was seamless. We are once again facing a technological shift where the pace of change is generating a buzz of excitement but also creating a need to consider how to adapt and align to this rapidly changing technological development. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is showing the potential to change the landscape of many sectors. Its ever-growing implications to the authenticity of written work are headlining discussions across many industries that value academic integrity.

Meriden is well underway in exploring the academic capabilities of AI in an educational landscape. Much of our professional discussions throughout the year have been centred on considering ways in which AI could be utilised in a learning capacity. This certainly is exciting to consider, and it requires viewing the incorporation of AI into classroom activities through a different lens and understanding its implications for authentic learning. The challenge for schools is utilising the benefits of what AI can offer whilst maintaining the integrity of academic scholarship.

Meriden places great value on assisting students to develop an honest and responsible approach to research and the synthesis of an individual response. At various points in time, students participate in critical research workshops at Meriden, focusing on aspects of maintaining academic integrity. Dr Jocelyn Laurence, Coordinator of Learning Link – Research and Critical Thinking, has been adapting her student-centred research sessions to include a focus on AI and its role in academic misconduct. We are in the process of finalising a set of guidelines to assist students in navigating the use of AI in their academic work and how to apply its use in a constructive and appropriately referenced way.

In the coming weeks, students can expect teachers to be discussing with them the revised assessment policies, strategies for appropriate referencing of sourced material in research tasks, as well as the use of the AI guidelines in future assessment tasks. This is never a one-off discussion; students can expect this to be revisited regularly throughout their time at Meriden. Assistance is not limited to formal assessment documentation and the classroom teacher. Additionally, we have specialist library staff and the Research Fellow, Dr Ann Goeth, who are available to assist students with research skills. Reference and resource tools are available on several eVe pages, including Digital Library and Research Guides for each academic department. The Student Planner also has a how-to guide for students in terms of referencing research. There is an abundance of ways students can seek assistance with maintaining an authentic voice in their academic work.

As was the case with the pandemic, AI is providing us with an opportunity to reconsider and reimagine learning at Meriden. However, it has not changed our principles to maintain academic integrity in student-produced work. Our structures, focused on developing critical research skills and producing authentic, high-quality work, are well-resourced to ensure students navigate this era of AI responsibly. Our commitment to enabling students to be adaptive, future-ready, women of integrity is grounded in the educational experiences your daughter engages with at Meriden.