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.
SafeAssign is based on a unique text-matching algorithm capable of detecting exact and inexact matching between a submitted paper and source material. This proprietary algorithm analyzes submission text and optimizes the words and terms to be searched against multiple data sources. Results returned from each service are further processed based on both the weight returned by the search service and comparative weighting by the SafeAssign algorithm, which determines the result set to be returned in the Originality Report.
Student submissions to SafeAssign are compared against several different sources, including:
The SafeAssign Global Reference Database is a separate database where students voluntarily submit copies of their papers to help prevent plagiarism. It is separated from each institution’s internal database, where all papers are stored by each corresponding institution. Students are free to select the option to check their papers without submitting them to the Global Reference Database. Students are not required to submit papers to this database. Students submit their papers to the database voluntarily and agree not to delete papers in the future. Submissions to the Global Reference Database are extra copies that are given voluntarily for the purpose of helping with plagiarism prevention. Blackboard does not claim ownership of submitted papers.
The Internet Search indexes used by SafeAssign are designed for reliability, performance, and efficiency against the large scale of search queries executed by SafeAssign. These search indexes may not be refreshed as frequently as those utilized by consumer internet search services. Generally, these indexes can be expected to be current within 1-3 days of a change. Due to the combination of these search index characteristics and the weighting applied by the SafeAssign algorithm, results returned in a SafeAssign Originality Report may not be identical to results returned by a consumer internet search service for any individual sentence or phrase. SafeAssign is intended for use as a tool to help educators efficiently identify the potential presence of unoriginal work within a submission. As detailed further below, a SafeAssign score is a warning indicator that a submission may require additional review; it is not a guarantee that plagiarism has, or has not, occurred.
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. Instructors can delete matching sources from the report and process it again. This is useful if the paper is a continuation of a previously submitted work by the same student.
It is important to read the report carefully and investigate whether each block of text is properly attributed.
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.
SafeAssignments are created with associated Grade Center items. The score is then recorded in the Grade Center.
SafeAssign enables institutions to link in to a Global Reference Database of academic content. The Global Reference Database allows institutions to search their own data repository as well as many other data repositories. Access to the database is enabled by default. To connect to the Global Reference Database, ensure that the Blackboard Application servers are allowed to access the following host and ports.
These ports are for outgoing HTTP traffic only. SafeAssign never communicates back to your Blackboard system through these IPs.
IP Address: 188.8.131.52
Ports: TCP 80 and 443
Allow incoming traffic on all established connections for Learn by allowing a connection with a flag other than SYNC on any port from the following IP Address: 184.108.40.206. SafeAssign makes web service calls to your Blackboard system from this IP.
Local Server URL
The Local Server URL is for the purpose of validating the registering system and to prevent spoofing and hacking into the central service database.
After successfully connecting to SafeAssign, a join code is provided in the receipt. This join code is used to identify your institution and its associated submission data. The join code is also used in troubleshooting and when migrating servers.
SafeAssign searches across the broader internet for matching text using the Yahoo! BOSS search service as the underlying internet index provider.