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Athens State University Knowledge Base

Blackboard Learn: Interpreting the 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. Typically, these papers don't require further analysis as there is no evidence of plagiarism.
  • Scores between 15 percent and 40 percent: These papers include extensive quoted or paraphrased material, or they include plagiarism. Review these papers to determine if the matching text is properly referenced.
  • 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 need to be reviewed for plagiarism.
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