Understanding and Managing SafeAssign Reports:

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. This page will take you through the Safe Assign reports.

Global Reference Database

Global Reference Database


When a student submits a safe assignment they agree (by ticking the box) to submitting their assignment to the GLOBAL REFERENCE DATABASE .

Blackboard’s Global Reference Database is a separate database where students voluntarily donate 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 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.

Originality Reports

SafeAssign originality reports provide detailed information about the matches found between a submitted paper and existing sources. The SafeAssign report identifies all matching blocks of text. You and your students need to investigate whether the matching text is properly referenced. Detailing each match prevents detection errors due to differences in citing standards.

Report Layout

SafeAssign reports are divided into three sections:

  • Report Information: This section lists data about the paper, such as the author, percent of matching text, and when it was submitted. This section also includes options for downloading the report, emailing the report, or viewing a printable version. The printable version is the most effective view of the report for users that rely on assistive technology to access Blackboard Learn.
  • Suspected Sources: This section lists the sources that have text that matches the text of the submitted paper. You can select sources, exclude them from the review, and process the paper again. This is useful if a source is a previous work from the same student for the same assignment, or if there is some reason that lengthy sections of a particular source appear in the paper. Processing the paper again generates a new value for the percent matching without using the excluded sources.
  • Manuscript Text: This section shows the submitted paper. All matching blocks of text are identified. Clicking a matching block of text displays information about the original source and the probability that the block or sentence was copied from the source.

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Interpreting Safe Assignment 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. These papers typically do not 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 content is properly attributed.
  • Scores over 40 percent: There is a very high probability 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.

Re-Submitting without a Selected Source

To exclude a source go to the report and tick the box exclude the source and re-process without the checked sources.

SA reprocess