Safe Assignment Matching

Understanding the Safe Assign originality report is important if you want to correct the citations that you missed in your paper.  Here are a few tips to help you understand how to read the originality report.

When you submit a SafeAssign report, you receive a percentage that reflects the amount of your paper that matches other sources.  This number is an estimate for you and your instructor.  However, keep in mind that this percentage may give you false positives in which your sentence matches another source coincidentally, i.e the statement “This argument is fallacious.” is general and may match other sources even though you are not plagiarizing.  So, it is important to read and understand the Originality Report.

  1.  When reviewing your submission, your paper will appear on the left side of the screen and the assignment details will appear on the right.  In this box you are also given the percentage of your paper that matched other sources, in this case “4% overall match.”  To view the Originality Report, click the down arrow next to SafeAssign in the Assignment Details box on the right side of the page.
  2. Click the View Originality Report button.
  3. On the right, the title of the paper, the word count, and the percentage that matches other sources is displayed.
  4. Scroll down to Citations.  Under Citations is a numbered list.  This is a list of sources that SafeAssign found that match your sentences.  Each item has a different color highlighter icon to the right of it and corresponds to a sentence in your paper.  In some instances, you can click on the blue source link (see #2 and #3 below),  and it will bring you to the source in a new screen.  You can then review the source.  If the source is another student’s paper (see #1), you will likely not be able to review the source.

    Note:  Plagiarism is academically dishonest and has serious consequences at the University of Arkansas.  Do not use another student’s paper from a previous semester or even a different class, even if you think you will not be caught!  Professors often use SafeAssign as a store for papers from previous semesters and SafeAssign checks papers against all others in the database, even at different universities.  Even if a student claims that they did not submit the paper through SafeAssign, the instructor may have submitted the paper for the student.
  5. You can also scroll through your paper and find the highlighted sentences, each color and number refers to the list of sources that were on the right (see above).
  6. Click on the sentence to view the matching percentage of your sentence as well as the link to the source.
    Note:  Notice that this match is 100%.  Also notice that the sentence is “First day of class:”  This sentence is very general and is likely to match many sources.  However, this does not mean you must cite this source, especially if you did not use it.  But be careful, if you did get this sentence from another source, cite it!
  7. You can also print your report by clicking on the printer icon in the top right of the screen.


How to understand SafeAssign's Originality Reports

Interpreting Overall SafeAssign Matching Percentages

When reviewing Bb Assignments with SafeAssign plagiarism enabled, Blackboard will provide an overall matching percentage for the assignment. This matching percentage is intended to show the instructor the percent chance that the paper contains matches to existing sources. For example, if a paper shows up with an overall matching percentage of 55%, SafeAssign is communicating that this paper has a 55% chance of containing plagiarized content.

The overall SafeAssign score is a warning indicator only - you will need to examine papers to determine whether the matches indicate plagiarism, or are appropriately cited. Here are Blackboard's recommendations for interpreting overall SafeAssign scores:

  • Scores below 15%: These papers typically include some quotes and a few common phrases or blocks of text that match other documents. Typically, these papers do not require further analysis as there is no evidence of plagiarism.
  • Scores between 15% and 40%: These papers include extensive quoted or paraphrased material, or they may include plagiarism. Examine these papers to determine if the matching text is properly referenced.
  • Scores over 40%: These papers have a very high probability of containing plagiarized content.  These papers include quoted or paraphrased text in excess, and need to be examined for plagiarism.

Interpreting SafeAssign Sentence-Matching Percentages

While reviewing papers, you will see highlighted portions of the paper's text.  Click on a highlighted portion to view its sentence matching scores. Blackboard states in their published materials that these sentence matching scores represent the percentage probability that two phrases have the same meaning. This number reflects the reciprocal to the probability that these two phrases are similar by chance.  For example, a score of 90 percent means that there is a 90 percent probability that these two phrases are the same. There is a 10 percent probability that they are similar by chance and not because the submitted paper includes content from the existing source - whether appropriately attributed or not.

Furthermore, SafeAssign ignores certain words and word combinations it considers common in order to avoid false-positives in its reporting. Because of this, it is possible for SafeAssign to report two matching blocks of text as less than 100% matching.

Learn more about SafeAssign's Originality Reports.

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