Prevent Plagiarism with SafeAssign in Blackboard

SafeAssign is an easy-to-use plagiarism deterrent in Blackboard, that checks student work against a variety of sources, including a global database of student papers, and provides a report that identifies all instances of potential plagiarism to the instructor and student.

To Create a Safe Assignment

To create a SafeAssignment, you will click on Assessments
Click "Submission Details" to expand the sectionfrom your content area tools in Blackboard (at the top of the Coursework window).

  • Select Assignments 

Note: for existing assignments that you wish to add SafeAssign to, click the menu button next to the assignment name and select Edit

  • in the Create/Edit Assignment window scroll
    to the Grading section,

  • click Submission Details to expand submission options
Click the box to the right of "Plagiarism Tools" to select it. Other options include "Allow students to view SafeAssign originality report for their attempts; and Exclude submissions from the Institutional and Global References Databases.

Then click the box to the right of Plagiarism Tools to select it.

If you’d like your students to see a report on their attempt, select Allow students to view SafeAssign originality report for their attempts.

For drafts, or work that will be submitted in parts, with a final submission that includes already submitted work, be sure to select Exclude submissions from the Institutional and Global References Databases. This will prevent SafeAssign from flagging previously submitted student work as possible plagiarism.


To access the SafeAssign Originality Reports:

Select "SafeAssign" under "Course Tools"



In the Course Management Control Panel (left side of screen):

  • Click Course Tools to expand selections (if not already expanded).
  • Select SafeAssign under Course ToolsNOTE: You can also access the originality report through the Grade Center.



Select SafeAssign Items

  • Click SafeAssign Items to view SafeAssign items in the course.
  • DirectSubmit allows you to check assignments not designated as SafeAssign at submission.
  • Suggest URL allows you to offer suggestions for websites your students might be using.
  • Select the assignment name (Item Name)Click the SafeAssign symbol under "SA Report"to review the originality report
  • Click the check symbol under SA Report to view t he originality report for that attempt.
    Note: Clicking the UserName under User Attempt will take you to the Blackboard Inline Grader for that attempt.
  • In the SafeAssign Originality Report, the submitted manuscript appears on the left side of the report, with highlighted text which is potentially plagiarized.
  • On the right side of the report, you will find Report Information, with the overall SafeAssign score, which indicates the probability that the submitted paper matches an existing source.
  • Citations (matching sources) will display in the Citation area, on the lower right portion of the screen, with the source highlighted in the same color as the text it potentially matches.

This is an example of a SafeAssign report:
Highlighted text is potentially plagiarised, with the source highlighted in the same colour.


  • Clicking the highlighted text or Citations displays more information about the source of the potentially plagiarized material:Source of potentially plagiarised material
    Note that in this example, the source of the potential plagiarism is a paper the student submitted in another course.

Interpreting the SafeAssign Report

The overall SafeAssign score

The overall SafeAssign score displayed in the Report Information area indicates the probability that the student’s work match an existing source. This score is meant to be used as a warning only; you should always review the student’s work to see if the match is legitimately the same.

  • Scores below 15% typically include some commonly used phrases that may match an existing source. These usually do not indicate plagiarism.
  • Scores between 15% and 40% may include quoted or paraphrased content. You should review these to verify that matching phrases are appropriately referenced.
  • Scores over 40% indicate a high probability that the work was copied from other sources. These may include content that is paraphrased or quoted, but the excessive use may indicate plagiarism, and should be reviewed.

The sentence matching score

Clicking on any of the highlighted sentences will provide a Sentence Matching score. The sentence matching score represents the probability that the student’s sentence has the same meaning as the sentence from the source. Overall, this student’s paper in the example above has a score of 75%, but in the example below, clicking the highlighted sentence revealed a sentence matching score of 62%. This means that there is a 62% probability that these sentences have the same meaning. There is a 38% probability (100% – 62% = 38%) that they are similar by chance, and not because the phrase was plagiarized from the source.

Image of a section of the student's paper, with one highlighted sentence analysed for sentence match.


If you have opted to allow students to see the originality report, they will be able to access the report through the Review Submission History view. They can access it from My Grades, by clicking the assignment name, or if you have left the module/folder open, they can revisit the assignment in the coursework area.

Something to consider…

Some instructors create a generic assignment dropbox (with a grade value of 0, and unlimited submission attempts) in their coursework area to allow students to submit their work through SafeAssign before submitting for a grade. This will allow students to see where their work might be considered possibly plagiarized, giving them the opportunity to make edits before the work is actually submitted to the instructor.

If you choose to do this, just remember to Exclude submissions from the Institutional and Global References Databases!