Using SafeAssign for Assignments

What is SafeAssign?

SafeAssign compares submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.

SafeAssign is effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool. Use SafeAssign to review assignment submissions for originality and create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase.

SafeAssign is based on a unique text matching algorithm capable of detecting exact and inexact matching between a paper and source material. Submissions are compared against several databases:

  • Internet: Comprehensive index of documents available for public access on the internet.
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database: More than 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from 1990 to present time, updated weekly (exclusive access).
  • Institutional document archives: Contains all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions.
  • Global Reference Database: Contains papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institution plagiarism.

SafeAssign at EP

Beginning fall 2017, EP courses have SafeAssign turned on for all assignments. This provides instructors with an additional tool in the grading process. This means that attachments submitted through a Blackboard assignment will be analyzed by SafeAssign and an originality report will be generated for the instructor to view in the Blackboard Grade Center.

Supported File Types
Note: SafeAssign also accepts ZIP files and processes zipped files that match the above file types. SafeAssign does not currently process spreadsheets.

How to Interpret SafeAssign Originality Reports

A SafeAssign originality report provides detailed information about the matches found between a student’s submitted paper and existing sources. The report identifies all matching blocks of text. The originality report displays the list of potential sources, and each source is highlighted in a different color. The report can display up to 30 colors to represent 30 different sources.

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.

The overall SafeAssign score indicates the probability that the submitted paper contains matches to existing sources. This score is a warning indicator only. Review papers to see if the matches are properly attributed.

  • Scores below 15 percent: These papers typically include some quotes and few common phrases or blocks of text that match other documents. Typically, these papers don’t require further analysis as there is no evidence of plagiarism.
  • Scores between 15 percent and 40 percent: These papers include extensive quoted or paraphrased material, or they include plagiarism. Review these papers to determine if the matching text is properly referenced.
  • Scores over 40 percent: A very high probability exists that text in these papers was copied from other sources. These papers include quoted or paraphrased text in excess, and need to be reviewed for plagiarism.

Learn more about Originality Reports

How to Use SafeAssign

SafeAssign should be toggled on by default for all assignments in your course. EP has taken steps to turn SafeAssign on in all existing course assignments. If you need help turning on SafeAssign for a new assignment, please contact us.

Once SafeAssign is turned on for a Blackboard assignment, it will automatically be processed and the originality report will appear with your assignment submissions in the Blackboard Grade Center. From there, it’s integrated with your normal grading process:

  1. Go to Grade Center and grade the submission.
  2. On the Grade Assignment page, a SafeAssign section appears in the grading sidebar. When the report is ready to view, a percentage appears in the grading sidebar. Expand the SafeAssign link and select View Originality Report to view the results in a new window.
  3. Look through the Originality Report for potential citation issues and plagiarism instances.

More about SafeAssign