SafeAssign Reference Guide

What is SafeAssign?

SafeAssign is used to prevent plagiarism and to create opportunities to help you identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase. SafeAssign compares your submitted assignments against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.

About the SafeAssign process

SafeAssign is based on a unique text matching algorithm capable of detecting exact and inexact matching between a paper and source material. SafeAssignments are compared against several different databases containing millions of articles dating from the 1990s to the present. After the comparison a report is generated that provides detailed information about the matches found between your submitted paper and existing sources.

Safeguard your work

You can safeguard your own work by submitting copies of your papers to the Global Reference Database. Papers from other institutions are checked against your paper. This protects the originality of your work across institutions. The Global Reference Database is a separate database from your institution's database. When you submit your papers to the database voluntarily, you agree not to delete papers in the future. You are free to select the option to check your papers without submitting them to the Global Reference Database. Blackboard does not claim ownership of submitted papers.

"Exclude Submissions" option (For use with Multiple Drafts of the same assignment)

Please Note:  SafeAssign integration with Learn Assignments supports multiple attempts by not checking attempts from a specific student to a specific assignment against previous attempts from the same student to the same assignment.  Thus preventing matches from the same student and paper from appearing in Originality Reports.  However, those submissions are still sent to the Institutional and Global databases. So if a student attempts to use that same submission (draft) for a different project then it will be flagged by SafeAssign.

SafeAssign settings have an option to “Exclude Submissions” when creating the Blackboard Learn Assignment.  This option allows instructors to create assignments that do not include any student submissions in the Institutional or Global Reference Databases.  Like other options in Blackboard assignments, this option will be point-in-time and editable after assignment creation.  If the option were changed at a later date, new submissions would honor the new state of the setting.

An example use case:

An instructor would like a single Blackboard assignment to allow non-final submissions, then a single "final" submission, and only the final submission should be included by SafeAssign in the Institutional database for reference against later submissions.  This can be accomplished by:

Instructor creates a Learn Assignment with multiple attempts and enabling SafeAssign checking with the "exclude submissions" option initially turned on.

    • Student submit their pre-final "draft" works, and submissions are not included in the Institutional or Global Databases.
    • When the final submission is expected, the instructor unselects the "exclude submissions" option.
    • Students submit their final works, and submissions are then included in the Institutional or Global Databases
Each attempt can be found on the right side of the screen under the Assignment Details section, you can use the drop down menu to access each attempt.
assignment details section

SafeAssign originality reports

After a paper has been processed, a report is generated detailing the percentage of text in the submitted paper that matches existing sources. The report also shows the suspected sources of each section of the submitted paper that returns a match. Your instructor can delete matching sources from the report and process it again when the paper is a continuation of a previously submitted work.

How to Interpret a SafeAssign Report

A SafeAssign report provides detailed information about the matches found between your submitted paper and existing sources. The SafeAssign report identifies all matching blocks of text. It is your and your instructor's responsibility to investigate whether the matching text is properly referenced or not. Detailing every match prevents detection errors due to differences in citing standards.

On the Review Submission page, click the SafeAssign hyperlink on the right side of the page. 
SafeAssign hyperlink

This will expand the SafeAssign information allowing you to click on the View Originality Report button.
View originality report button

From here you will see the Originality Report. Sentences that have been flagged as suspected entries are highlighted and their respective sources are listed on the right side of the report under the Citations area.
SafeAssign originality report page

Clicking on a highlighted sentence will expand the suspected entry so you can view your uploaded text side-by-side with the suspected original source, along with the suspected entry's match percentage.
highlighted sentence and side-by-side comparison


Interpreting the overall SafeAssign score

The overall SafeAssign score indicates the probability that the submitted paper contains matches to existing sources.

Scores below 15 percent: These papers typically include some quotes and few common phrases or blocks of text matching other documents.

Scores between 15 percent and 40 percent: These papers include extensive quoted or paraphrased material or they may include plagiarism.

Scores over 40 percent: There is a very high probability that text in this paper was copied from other sources. These papers include quoted or paraphrased text in excess.


Information on this page was gathered from Blackboard's Help website. For more information, refer to Blackboard's Use SafeAssign in Assignments page or the SafeAssign Originality Reports page.



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Article ID: 93571
Mon 12/2/19 12:30 PM
Thu 9/16/21 1:22 PM

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