Safe Assign

What is SafeAssign?

SafeAssign is a plagiarism prevention tool in Blackboard that detects unoriginal content in students’ papers by identifying similarities between submitted assignments and existing works. The SafeAssign feature is effective as both a deterrent and an instructional tool to help students learn paraphrasing and when to cite original sources.

How does SafeAssign work?

The SafeAssign feature uses algorithm or rules capable of identifying exact and inexact matches between a submitted paper and a particular source material. The SafeAssign database is compared against several different sources including:

Comprehensive index of documents that are available for public access.
ProQuest ABI/Inform Database
Over 1,100 publications and 2.6 million articles from 1990’s to present – these are updated weekly.
Institutional document archives
All papers that have been submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions.
Global Reference Database
Papers that have been volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions.

Enabling SafeAssign

Instructions on how to enable the SafeAssign feature for an assignment can be found at Blackboard’s Help Center.

Note: When you create an assignment, you have the option to Exclude Submissions. What this means is students’ work will not be compared to Institutional or Global Reference Databases allowing them to self-check their work against SafeAssign and submit drafts or versions for your review before submitting their final assignment.

SafeAssign Originality Reports

The Originality Report shows the percentage of text that matches existing sources. It also shows the suspected sources of each section of a submitted paper that returns a match. It is important to read the report carefully and determine whether the text in question is properly attributed.

The SafeAssign Originality Report is divided into three areas.

Report Summary: Located at the top panel of the report, the percentage score indicates the overall risk of matches or similar text.

Citations: A list of sources that matches the submitted paper are listed in the right panel of the report.

Submission: Located in the left panel of the report and shows all matching blocks of text. Each source has a color specific to that source – up to 30 unique colors are used for up to 30 different sources. Text matching a source is highlighted in the source color and identified with a number.

What do the overall scores mean?

  • Scores below 15%: These papers typically include some quotes and common phrases that match other documents. Further analysis is not required as this low score indicates no evidence of plagiarism.
  • Scores between 15% and 40%: These papers include extensive quoted or paraphrased material, OR they include plagiarism. These papers should be reviewed to determine if the matching text is properly referenced.
  • Scores over 40%: There is a very high probability that text in these papers was copied from other sources. These papers include quoted or paraphrased text in excess and should be reviewed for plagiarism.

Analyzing the Report

Click on the highlighted/numbered text to open a window that displays the text alongside the suspected source and the probability percentage of text that was copied from that source. In most cases there is a hyperlink to the copied source. No matter the percentage score, you should interpret this as a warning indicator and investigate each match to confirm whether it is plagiarism.

Items such as references, quotes, etc. can be deselected if you know or have determined there is no risk. Once you have deselected the items you do not want included in the report, click the Resubmit button to generate a new report that will ignore excluded sources.

Return to the grade assignment page and click on the View Originality Report button to view the revised report. You will notice that the percentage score is reduced because you excluded some of the sources.

Additional Information

Blackboard Help Center