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Turnitin® Guidance For Instructors

Intended Audience: Instructors


Any assignment submitted within Brightspace that has Turnitin® enabled will generate a Similarity Report.  Current settings will grant Michigan Virtual instructors automatic access to the full text of a matching paper that has previously been submitted to the institution account. This article provides guidance on how instructors can access Turnitin® Similarity Reports on enabled assignments and points out "false positives" and other factors that can lead to a high similarity rate.

How to Access the Similarity Report

  1. When logged into Brightspace as an instructor, go to the course that contains the assignment you want to view Similarity Reports for and then select Assignments from the navigation menu at the top of the course page.
  2. Next, to view a report, select the assignment from the list of assignments. 
  3. Finally, select the percentage from the Turnitin® Similarity column.
    The submissions page has been expanded to show the table containing the turn it in document submission. An arrow points to the percentage graph within the cell.

How to View Matching Papers

  1. Tap the Match Overview button to access matching documents.  You can immediately view matching papers that have previously been submitted to Michigan Virtual’s Turnitin® account.
    The Turn it in page shows an arrow pointing to the Match overview button with the left menu expanded to show the student paper results.
  2. Then tap the matching paper in the "Match Overview" area to view the matching paper.
    The Match Overview popup is displayed showing details of matching context. An arrow points to the match area to view matching paper.
  3. Next, tap the hyperlinked title of the matching paper to view Source Release information.
    The turn it in page shows an arrow pointing to the  hyperlinked title of the matching paper.
  4. Sample view of Source Release Information for a matching document submitted to Michigan Virtual’s Turnitin® account.
    Sample view of Source Release Information for a matching document submitted to Michigan Virtual’s Turnitin® account.
  5. You have the option to download the original paper or you can click the Full Source View button.
    The turn it in page is showing the popup with an arrow pointing to the full source view in upper right corner.
  6. OPTIONAL: Click “Text-only Report” on the bottom of the similarity document, if you prefer this view.
    The turn it in page shows an arrow pointing to the text only report link located at the bottom of the page.
  7. For more information, feel free to explore Turnitin®’s Similarity Report Teacher Guides.

Understanding Factors That May Produce a High Match Rate

It is important to note that the similarity score is a percentage of the paper’s content that matches within Turnitin®'s databases.  It is not an assessment of  whether a paper contains plagiarized material.

Identifying “False Positives”

Be aware that the following factors can create a high match rate, that may not necessarily be cheating.

  • Worksheets or assignment templates will contain matching items and similar student responses submitted.
  • Assignments with sentence starters or examples used by students may create high matches.
  • Resubmitted assignments will typically show a high match rate.
  • If a student accidentally submitted an assignment to the wrong course and then submits it to yours, there will also be a high match.

For more information, refer to these helpful Turnitin® Report Guidelines and Considerations or view the following video, Interpreting Turnitin® Similarity Layers.

Contact your Lead Instructor with department-specific questions about plagiarism. Contact the Senior Student Programming Specialist for general questions about Turnitin®.

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