IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Is ChatGPT Better Than a Human Tutor? Survey Says ... Yes

A study by the education website found most students could not compare tutoring with AI to tutoring with people, but of those who had experience with both, 85 percent said ChatGPT was more effective.

A person holding out their hand with the words AI and ChatGPT hovering above their palm along with lines and speech bubbles.
A recent poll of students who completed study sessions with a human tutor as well as with ChatGPT found the generative AI method yielded better results.

A report last week from the education website analyzed survey responses from 3,017 high school and college students between the ages of 16 and 24, and 3,234 parents of school-age children under 16. Most of those surveyed indicated that they had not used both methods, so the detailed results are based only on the 10 percent of student respondents and 15 percent of parent respondents who had used both methods within the past academic year.

Of those 801 respondents who completed the full survey, the report notes:

  • 85 percent of those students said studying with ChatGPT was the more effective method.
  • 96 percent of the student and parent respondents said the use of ChatGPT resulted in improved grades.
  • 96 percent of the parents surveyed said they prefer that their child use ChatGPT to study instead of meeting with a tutor.
  • 30 percent of parent respondents and 39 percent of student respondents said they have fully replaced personal tutoring sessions with ChatGPT. Math and “hard sciences” like chemistry and biology were listed as the most common subject areas where the AI tool was used.
In addition to answering the survey questions, the students and parents also provided comments. One noted: “ChatGPT’s ability to correct mistakes makes it easier for children to learn correctly.” Another called the AI tool “more relaxed, more efficient.” Another wrote: “ChatGPT can provide timely feedback on students’ learning progress and performance, and help students adjust their learning direction and methods.”

The respondents who said they believe a personal tutor is more effective than ChatGPT emphasized the importance of face-to-face communication and a human being’s ability to stimulate student interest in a variety of ways, including encouragement, discussion and practice.

“(S)tudying with tutors can build good teacher-student relationships and trust, promote effective, interactive learning and feedback, and make it easier for children to understand and absorb knowledge,” one respondent wrote.

The study, commissioned by and conducted on the Pollfish survey platform, took place May 2-10. Following an explanation of the survey findings, the report concluded with insight from an Ithaca College professor who said she does not believe ChatGPT will replace human tutors.

“Most tutors do much more than provide content,” wrote Diane Gayeski, a professor of strategic communications. “They structure study time, they provide modeling and motivation, and they help to diagnose where learners are having trouble and can then structure the explanations and practice to overcome those obstacles.”

Gayeski suggested using ChatGPT in the development of intelligent tutoring systems that can provide personalized lessons and feedback without taking away the human interaction between educator and student.

“Intelligent tutoring systems hold a lot of promise for more effective learning — especially in cases where learners are having difficulties in comprehending and applying content,” Gayeski said in the study’s conclusion. “For instance, if I wanted to learn accounting, an intelligent tutor could provide examples of how I’d set up various kinds of reports for my small consulting business, and it could figure out that I lacked prerequisite knowledge in how to set up a spreadsheet for a profit-and-loss statement and provide that remedial teaching before we went on to more sophisticated concepts.”