SafeAssign is a tool used to prevent plagiarism and to create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase. SafeAssign is effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool.
SafeAssign compares submitted assignments against a set of sources to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.
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SafeAssign, Blackboard’s plagiarism prevention tool, compares submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works. Use SafeAssign to review assignment submissions for originality. SafeAssign is only available in Blackboard Learn course sites.
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AVAILABLE TO: Faculty
Find Answers to Common Questions
- UIC Help Center
- Blackboard and SafeAssign FAQs
- Video: Using SafeAssign in Blackboard
The SafeAssign plagiarism detection service supports the following file formats:
- Microsoft Word documents i.e., files with .doc and .docx file name extensions
- Acrobat documents: .pdf
- HTML files: .htm and .html
- rich-text files: .rtf
- plain-text files: .txt
- open office documents: .odt
- zip files: .zip
It is highly recommended that students and instructors name documents submitted to SafeAssign using only alphanumeric characters, the period, the underscore, and the hyphen, and one of the aforementioned file types; for example NetID.final.paper.doc or group2.assignment3.report.pdf.
In particular, using space/blank characters, quotation marks, diacritical marks, the pound sign, percent sign, and any other special characters should be avoided when naming documents for SafeAssign and for most any other Web-based/cloud computing application.
SafeAssign offers accessibility features that allows users to easily navigate and read the SafeAssign web interface. The web interface supports screen readers for all available creator and viewer interfaces. The web interface also support keyboard access, allowing you to use the tab key to access all available functions. All sessions fully support adding and displaying captions. For additional information on SafeAssign’s accessibility features, please visit SafeAssign’s Accessibility Conformance Report (WCAG Edition) .
Original View Course
- Go into the Original View course that you want to use SafeAssign in
- Select the assignment, and select Edit
- Scroll down to the Submission Details section, click on the title to open the accordion section
- Under Plagiarism Tools, check the box next to Check submissions for plagiarism using SafeAssign
- Allow students to view the SafeAssign Originality Report for their attempts
- Exclude submissions from the institutional and Global Reference Databases
- Select the Submit button to save the assignment settings.
For visual steps to follow, please download Detect Plagiarism with SafeAssign for your Original View course.
Ultra View Course
- Or go into the Ultra View course that you want to use SafeAssign in
- Select the assignment, open the Assignment Settings (gear icon)
- Scroll down to the Originality Report
- Toggle the Enable SafeAssign button
- Select the Save button twice to save the Originality Report settings and then the assignment settings.
Viewing the SafeAssign Report
In your Original View or Ultra View course, enter the gradebook
- Select the assignment you want to grade
- Once the assignment is open, you will be able to view the Originality Report on the right hand side of the screen.
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How to read a SafeAssign report
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- From Reading to Writing: Double Entry Notebook
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- Choosing Appropriate Quotes
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- Understanding Assignments Worksheet
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- Generating a Thesis
- Thesis Statements: Working Backwards
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- Webinars on Finding, Using and Citing Sources
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A SafeAssign report can be kind of confusing.
Here are some tips for reading one:
How do I access and/or print my SafeAssign report?
If you’ve correctly submitted your work to a SafeAssign-enabled assignment, then after a short gap (which may be as little as a few minutes or even an hour or more at peak times), you should be able to access the report following the instructions on this link from the University of Maryland Baltimore County: As a student, how do I view a SafeAssign report?
Once you’ve viewed the report, to print it (or print to PDF) for your own reference or to show your Writing Fellow, click the print symbol at top right:
(The printed version won’t look as good or colorful as the web version.)
What does the percentage matching mean?
The percentage shows how much your writing matches other writing (sources online and in print, as well as the other students’ papers which have been submitted to SafeAssign).
Here’s a screenshot of a SafeAssign report. This screenshot shows the matching percentage of the entire text:
This shows that in the entire paper, 21% of the text matches with source materials. (It turns out that in this case, this is entirely based on the references list, because SafeAssign didn’t flag any of the actual sources, used correctly or not.)
You need to look at each instance where there is matching in order to see whether the source was used appropriately.
Here’s what it looks like when something is flagged:
That item (highlighted in yellow) matches 100%, and it should because it’s an article title in the references list. Another student used the same article. This is not a problem.
However, 100% matching for a particular passage of text would mean that you matched a source 100%. (If you did things correctly, it’s a quote. If someone used the source inappropriately and got 100% matching, it is probably copied and pasted, which is a problem.)
Similarly, 65% matching for a passage refers to a passage where 65% of the text is the same as the source. Less than 100% may mean you paraphrased, but not well (this is sometimes referred to as “mosaic plagiarism”).
Is 0% matching or as close to 0% as possible is a “good” number?
Did you use any quotations?
If not, judicious quoting is good. You don’t want to go overboard, but never using a quotation is not necessarily a good thing.
Does 0% matching or close to 0% mean I did not plagiarize?
Sometimes SafeAssign does not flag your sources (that happened with the sample above).
Faculty often discover problems with copied and pasted in material and mosaic plagiarism in student papers that SafeAssign does not flag. It may be because that source is not included in the databases SafeAssign is working with.
Is 10-40% matching bad and does that matched material = plagiarism?
Remember, the SafeAssign reports flag material which matches someone else’s paper .
That might be:
- What the CBB Plagiarism Resource (described below) calls “mosiac plagiarism” (phrases and sentences from the source interspersed with your own words)
- Copied and pasted material
- Properly or improperly listed references
- Exact quotations
Some of those are plagiarism.
Your job is to investigate each instance, bit by bit, and figure out what type of material is being flagged, and whether you did anything wrong. That’s harder than looking at the percentage in the report, but it’s worth taking the time to do it.
Keep in mind also that SafeAssign will not match everything which is plagiarism. Many students are surprised when instructors easily find material which is copied and pasted or improperly paraphrased by searching in Google. It isn’t hard. SafeAssign is an imperfect tool, but your instructors are good at noticing things which sound like they were not written by a particular student.
Keep in mind also that as the percentage matching gets higher, there’s more likelihood you’re doing something that’s either incorrect or not ideal. For example, you may have a score of 50% because half of your paper is quotations. In such a case, you need to think about how much you’re quoting, even if you show these are quotes, and attribute the quotes properly.
If SafeAssign says something in my paper matches “another student’s paper” can I assume that’s not my problem because I did not copy another student?
Not necessarily. SafeAssign matches other students’ work before it matches sources, if any other student has used that source. So matching “another student’s paper” is usually a match to source material.
If you see something matched “another student’s paper,” ask yourself:
- Did I quote properly?
- If not, did I paraphrase thoroughly? (Note, though, that thorough paraphrasing usually won’t be flagged.)
- Did I also attribute the source and cite it?
- Did I say every time I used the source?
If the answers are all yes, then it is probably fine.
Still having trouble?
If you’re still confused or having trouble with using sources, recognizing mosaic plagiarism, etc., reach out to the SPS Writing Fellows, who can work with you on your use of and attribution of sources. They may save you time compared with figuring all of this out yourself.
Using sources appropriately and citing them appropriately is not easy but is one of the most important skills you need to learn to succeed in college. Plagiarism, even if it’s unintentional, can lead to zero on an assignment, failing a class, and having a report made to the college, or worse consequences. Do everything you can to avoid that by learning how to use sources appropriately now. Learning to look at a SafeAssign report can help you improve how you’re using sources.
You can find more information from Blackboard on SafeAssign here: Assignments and SafeAssign .
Where can I learn more about plagiarism and how to avoid it?
You can learn more about types of plagiarism and how to avoid them in the CBB Plagiarism Resource from Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin Colleges. The Self-Test from that site is used in Digital Literacy (COM 110) classes at SPS and is highly recommended once you feel you have a grasp of plagiarism.
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Download students' SafeAssign Similarity Reports
Follow the steps below to download the Safe Assign Similarity Report of a student:
- Go to your course and under the control panel click “Course Tools.”
- On the expanded “Course Tools,” scroll down and click “SafeAssign.”
- Click “SafeAssign Items.”
- Select the name of the assignment below the "Item Name.”
- Under “SA Report” column, select the icon corresponding to the student’s name. The SA report will open on a new page.
- Click on the print icon at the top right. If you do have an Adobe software or PDF Writer, you can print the SA report in a PDF document.
To Bulk Download students’ papers:
- On the expanded “Course Tools,” scroll down and click “SafeAssign” then “SafeAssign Items.”
- Select the name of the assignment also known as “Item Name.”
- Click “Download All Submission” to download all the students’ papers which is useful for grading offline and record keeping.
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SafeAssign es un servicio que nos permite comparar un trabajo subido por un alumno contra un conjunto de fuentes. Este conjunto de fuentes utilizadas por SafeAssign está formado por archivos de documentos institucionales (los documentos enviados a SafeAssign en cada institución), la base de datos de referencia global (conjunto de documentos cedidos voluntariamente por alumnos en instituciones clientes de Blackboard) y artículos y publicaciones de revistas e internet.
El resultado obtenido tras el paso por SafeAssign es una serie de marcas en el archivo original del alumno mostrando las diversas fuentes en las que existe el mismo contenido que en el documento, enlaces a esas fuentes, y un % de autenticidad. El porcentaje nos indica la cantidad de texto del trabajo que podría no ser original.
Es importante repasar los resultados de SafeAssign para evitar falsos positivos (por ejemplo, citas de otras fuentes que no estén correctamente realizadas, o coincidencias con una versión anterior del mismo trabajo en cursos donde la actividad es acumulativa).
Recuerda que lo que SafeAssign nos indica con sus puntuaciones es la probabilidad de que una frase del documento y otra de una fuente sean iguales y este hecho no sea una casualidad.
Para evaluar las puntuaciones y limitar el número de trabajos a revisar por parte del profesor, podemos tomar como guía que:
- Si la puntuación en inferior al 15%, el documento no será un plagio, lo típico es que incluya alguna cita o frase de una fuente, pero no más.
- Si la puntuación está entre el 15 y el 40%, el documento tiene posibilidades de ser un plagio y parte del texto es parafraseado de las fuentes. Los documentos de este grupo deben revisarse cuidadosamente.
- Si la puntuación está por encima del 40%, el documento tiene alta probabilidad de ser un plagio, contiene mucho material proveniente de las fuentes y se debe revisar.
La actividad se tiene que configurar durante su creación para que se active SafeAssign. Se puede permitir que los alumnos vean el informe de originalidad de sus propios envíos, o evitar que los envíos realizados pasen a formar parte de la base de datos de documentos de la institución (útil en algunos casos, por ejemplo en trabajos que se revisan varias veces, para que las versiones no finales de los mismos no se incorporen a las fuentes y luego nos encontremos con falsos positivos al comparar un trabajo final con una versión intermedia).
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SafeAssign Score: Interpret Good scores and reduce Bad ones
- by Judy Jeni
- January 10, 2022
Safe assign is a plagiarism detector software that many students use to determine the originality of their work. It works by scanning the submitted work against its several databases like such as campus database, information, or global database.
This software is effective in that it uses a great algorithm to detect matches. It will give a percentage of how your paper matches with other sources.
What is a SafeAssign Score?
A SafeAssign score is a percentage that indicates the similarity of the text in the uploaded file to that of the files on the internet and BlackBoard’s global database. The score acts as an indicator of similarity hence it may not be an indicator of plagiarized work. The professor has to interpret the score to determine if there is plagiarism or not.
This is because the score shows the level of the submitted paper that matches the sources from the existing SafeAssign database.
Instructors and students should review their papers to see how they score. By examining the paper, you will take the necessary action concerning plagiarism.
Also, you can employ the SafeAssign alternatives to handle plagiarism before you submit your final draft.
How to Check SafeAssign score
The best way to check the SafeAssign score is to upload the paper as a draft. Suppose they allow for multiple attempts; you will have the chance to see the originality report before submitting it.
nce you upload your document, the SafeAssign will scan your documents and give feedback on the final score.
How to Read and Interpret SafeAssign Scores
Once you upload your document, the SafeAssign will scan it and produce a score for you. The only challenge will emerge if you want to interpret the given score. It will indicate to you the originality report in terms of percentage that matches other works.
Interpreting SafeAssign Scores
When you see the matching scores, it usually implies that the two phrases may carry similar meanings.
When you read the overall score, you will view the entire percentage of the submitted paper against the existing sources.
Before you interpret the report, it is vital to know the three levels of this plagiarism scanner.
They include as follows:
1. Low SafeAssign Plagiarism Score
It is a type of score that occurs below 15%. If your paper has few common phrases or quotes, it is likely to land in this category. As such, it indicates that your documents have a few matches against other works. Most times, such a paper may not need further analysis.
If the score is below 15%, the paper has some common blocks or quotes that may match other documents. The good news is such papers will not need further analysis since they lack any traces of plagiarism.
2. Medium SafeAssign Plagiarism Level
It is a type of score that comes between 15 to 40 percent. That type of document reflects that that has vast materials that you quoted or paraphrased. It is an excellent indicator that you plagiarized depending on the number of similarities that the software detected.
When the SafeAssign score is between 15% and 40%, then it is an indicator that it has some paraphrased materials or extensive quoting.
More importantly, it may also include plagiarism. As such, the faculty must review such a document to establish if the author attributed the matching content correctly.
However, there are times when Turnitin or SafeAssign scan says you plagiarized but you did not and it is just normal. This is an example of false negatives.
Some institutions accept this level, although the content requires extra interpretation from the professors. Such matches could also indicate that it has some external or copied sources.
Once found in a similar situation, it means it may attract the attention of your instructor. You might have to review it again to determine if the content that has some matching needs proper referencing.
3. High SafeAssign Plagiarism Score
It is a unique score that is above 40%. The situation is an excellent indicator that some sections of your work come from SafeAssign and other online sources.
Any kind of plagiarism that is beyond 40% is highly unacceptable.
Besides, since that paper contains a high percentage of matching text, it may require a plagiarism review.
When the paper scores beyond 40%, it shows that the author copied most of the text from various sources; hence it is plagiarism.
The matching text could include paraphrased or quoted text. Such a paper must undergo review for plagiarism.
The Acceptable SafeAssign Score
Ideally, there lacks an acceptable SafeAssign percentage since every institution has its unique policies on that. The percentage will differ from one university to the next. Remarkably, there lacks a universally accepted level.
However, the commonly acceptable SafeAssign score should be the one that comes below 15 %. This is because low scores show that your submitted work has a few cases of matching text. Most universities regard that as a good similarity score since it lies within safe levels of 0 to 15% similarity.
When your document ranges within this level, it means that your content is above 75% pure work. The remaining percentage is a result of references and quotes to offer evidence to your arguments.
Since SafeAssign recognizes paraphrased and quoted work as matching text, the instructor and the writer must review the paper to handle such cases.
What is a Bad SafeAssign score
A bad SafeAssign score is that one that is 40% and above. Undoubtedly, it is a great indicator that you got most of your content from online sources. It also shows that you have a low original work which references alone cannot explain.
How to Reduce SafeAssign Score
You can guard your paper against any plagiarism, even if it could be accidental. It would be best if you avoided plagiarism as it is an unethical issue that can ruin your academic life. Writing your work while tolerating plagiarism is like theft since you want to benefit from it.
More importantly, you can avoid plagiarism to promote your work integrity. You can use the following method to overcome it and save your career from the associated consequences.
Paraphrasing is a safe method of securing your work to be on the right side by rewriting ideas from your sources.
You can present the information in your text without altering the meaning of the context. In the same vein, you must be careful since paraphrasing can slip into plagiarism when done wrongly.
You have to dance with words to experience successful paraphrasing. The author must reword and format the writing to make it appear original.
You should also endeavor to avoid making use of similar words without diluting the meaning of the phrase. Since you are using someone’s idea, you must cite it correctly.
More importantly, be sure to paraphrase thoroughly to avoid any matches. Remember, SafeAssign checks the Internet , which makes it very accurate to detect any slight copying from the web.
2. Cite Sources
If you are using an idea that originated from someone else’s work, it is vital to add a citation. This could be an in-text citation or using a footnote citation to identify the original author.
Let every citation correspond to the complete reference at the end of your paper. In the process, it allows the readers to locate the sources suppose they want to get additional details.
Several citation styles exist with varying rules. The most common ones are MLA, APA, or Chicago style. Read the instructions well to know which style the instructor recommended.
3. Put Reference Page
It is always reasonable to maintain records of the type of sources you refer to. For instance, you are free to use citation software like Reference Manager to handle all the citations you used in your documents.
You are free to use many references for the background information. For example, instead of referencing a review, you can refer to or cite the individual papers.
4. Use Quotes
One way of avoiding plagiarism is to use simple quotation marks. The text should be within the quotation mark to indicate that the content is not yours.
You can use a direct quote to let the audience know who the owner of those words is.
When you are quoting, it implies that you are copying text by text. You should use the copied text in the original words and enclose it with quotation marks.
After that, you should attribute it to the original author correctly.
Generally, you should quote sparingly. The quotes could only be relevant if you want to use the exact definition as used by the original author.
Also, you can use a quote if you cannot rephrase the text without losing the meaning. Finally, we use quotes to retain the authority and style of the writer’s words.
5. Explain to the Teacher
Lastly, you can access your teacher and explain your case. For instance, it could be accidental plagiarism which may cause your work to lose credibility.
You can review the content with your instructor and perhaps make some necessary changes to make it above the bar.