This information applies only to the Ultra Course View.

Instructors can use the SafeAssign service to check test submissions for originality. SafeAssign compares your submitted tests against a set of academic papers to identify areas of overlap between your submission and existing works.

The SafeAssign process

SafeAssign is based on a unique text matching algorithm capable of detecting exact and inexact matching between a test attempt and source material.

Tests 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.

Your instructor is using SafeAssign if you see Originality Report enabled in the Details & Information of your test.

Safeguard your work

You can safeguard your own work by submitting copies of your work to the Global Reference Database. Submissions from other institutions are checked against your submission. 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 attempt to the database voluntarily, you agree not to delete it in the future. You are free to select the option to check your work without submitting it to the Global Reference Database. Blackboard doesn't claim ownership of database submissions.

Language support in SafeAssign

Language Support in SafeAssign

SafeAssign does more than translate words from one language to another. SafeAssign uses algorithms that make decisions about potential plagiarism based on word frequency, sentence structure, and other linguistic characteristics that are currently specific to the English language only.

Although SafeAssign officially supports only English, clients are welcome to attempt to use SafeAssign with languages other than English. SafeAssign has no technical limitations that preclude using it with other languages, but the results may vary and aren't guaranteed.

Blackboard is working to add official support for additional languages in SafeAssign in 2018.

SafeAssign Originality Reports

After an attempt is processed, a report is generated detailing the percentage of text in the submission that matches existing sources. Freeform text responses and attachments are each analyzed for text matching, and the report also shows the suspected sources for each section that returns a match. When the submission is a continuation of a previously submitted work, your instructor can delete matching sources from the report and process it again.

The Originality Report does not state whether a phrase that matches a source is properly referenced. Your instructor must read the report and determine if you used proper citations.

Your instructor decides if you can see the report.

Access the Originality Report

If your instructor has allowed access to the SafeAssign Originality Report, you can check if you properly cited your sources.

Open the test and review your attempt. You can review the Originality Report shortly after you submit your attempt, even before your instructor posts grades. The SafeAssign Originality Report appears next to your test. This is a preview of the report's results and includes three sections: Overall Risk, Overall Text Matching, and Originality Reports.

  • Overall Risk shows whether your attempt is a low, medium, or high risk for plagiarism. The risk level is determined based on the average text matching range your attempt falls in.

    More on interpreting SafeAssign scores

  • Overall Text Matching shows the average and highest text match for the pieces of your attempt. Want to dive in? You can view the full reports in the Originality Reports section.
  • Originality Reports shows you the percent of potential matching text for each piece of your submission, including questions and attachments. Select any of the entries in the list to view the results in a new window.

Report layout

A SafeAssign Originality Report is divided into three areas:

  • Report information
  • Citations
  • Manuscript text

If you need more room to view the paper's text, you can collapse the right panel with the right-pointing arrow. The highlighting colors remain in the collapsed view.

Report information

Report information appears in the right panel of the report. When you reduce the width of the viewing area, this information appears at the top. You can view data about the paper, such as the percent of matching text, word count, and when it was submitted. If you included multiple attachments, they appear with the report information. You also have an option for viewing a printable version. This printable version is the most effective view of the report for users who rely on assistive technology to access Blackboard Learn. At the top of the page, select Print to view the printable version. Save the HTML report as a PDF to email to others.


The sources that include text that matches the submitted paper's text are listed in the right panel of the report.

Manuscript text

The submitted paper appears in the left panel of the report. All matching blocks of text are identified. Each source has a color specific to the source-up to 30 unique colors for 30 different sources. Text matching a source is highlighted in the source color and identified with a number. In the right panel, you can select Show/Hide All Highlighting to turn source highlighting off and on for all sources at one time. You can turn the highlighting off and on for only one citation. Select Remove or Show Highlighting next to a citation.

Select a matching block of text to display information about the original source and the probability that the block or sentence was copied from the source.

Multiple attachments and attempts

SafeAssign recognizes multiple attempts for an individual test as submitted by the same student for the same test. SafeAssign doesn't check the contents of the current attempt against content from previous submissions. You can view each Originality Report next to the corresponding attempt.

If you include more than one attachment with a test, they are listed in the Originality Report section of the SafeAssign panel. Select a file name link to view the file's text in a new window, along with detailed text matching analysis.

Interpret SafeAssign scores

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. 
  • Scores between 15 percent and 40 percent: These papers include extensive quoted or paraphrased material, or they may include unoriginal content. 
  • 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 are highly suggested for review.