Turnitin assignments and Similarity Reports

When setting up an assignment in the LMS, staff have the option of generating a Turnitin Similarity Report for each student submission.

Turnitin is an integration available in the LMS that provides staff with the ability to generate Similarity Reports. To find out more about this tool, refer to our Turnitin learning technology information.

Marking of assignments in the LMS is done through the Canvas SpeedGrader. Turnitin Feedback Studio provides staff and students with access to the Turnitin Similarity Report.

It is very important to understand that the Similarity Score does NOT indicate whether plagiarism has taken place. Refer to Interpret the Similarity Report below for more information.

Create an assignment using Turnitin

To create a Turnitin assignment that will generate a Similarity Report, select the Plagiarism Review option when setting up an assignment in Canvas.

  1. Navigate to your Subject in the LMS and click Assignments in the subject navigation menu.
  2. Click the Add Assignment button and enter the details as required for the assignment name, instructions or supporting information and applicable settings.
    • The settings required for Similarity Reports to be generated are specified below. More information about other settings available in Assignments can be found in the Canvas Community guide: How do I add or edit details in an assignment?

Create a new assignment

  1. To require students to upload a document for submission, select Online under Submission Type, and check File Uploads.
    Note, the Restrict Upload File Types option can be checked to ensure students can only submit file types accepted by Turnitin, such as PDF and DOCX, for example.

File Uploads

  1. In the Plagiarism Review dropdown, select Turnitin.
  2. The Turnitin settings for Plagiarism Review will appear. Review and change these settings as required. Our recommended settings are:

Recommended Plagiarism Review settings

  1. Store submissions in: Standard paper repository - to ensure these files are recorded and compared to future submissions.
  2. Compare submissions against: all options applied - all available documentation will be included in the Similarity Report.
  3. Do not exclude any materials - exclusions can be applied as needed when viewing the report.
  4. Apply Save as default settings - to ensure these settings are applied in your future assignments.
Plagiarism Review options
Recommended Turnitin Plagiarism Review Options
  1. Important: Choose the appropriate setting in the dropdown for Show report to students as needed for this assignment. This will vary depending on your subject or Faculty requirements.
Show report to students
Select the appropriate option for students to view the Similarity Report
  1. Click Save & Publish to make your assignment visible to students. If you would rather publish your assignment later, click Save.

Access the Similarity Report

Once a student has submitted a file to an assignment with Turnitin enabled, a Similarity Report will be generated according to the settings chosen when the assignment was set up. The file is matched against the information available in the Turnitin repository to produce a Similarity Score.

Similarity Reports are accessible from within the SpeedGrader.

  1. Navigate to the Assignments area from the subject navigation menu
  2. Open the relevant assignment (in which Turnitin has been enabled) and then click SpeedGrader from the right-hand Related Items section
Access to SpeedGrader from the assignment
Access to SpeedGrader from the assignment
  1. SpeedGrader will load in a new window. The Similarity Score is displayed as a percentage number in a coloured square in the right-hand section. Click on Similarity Score to open the Similarity Report.
  2. Turnitin Feedback Studio will load in a new window, displaying in the Similarity Report.
Access to Similarity Report
Click the Similarity Score shown in right-hand section of SpeedGrader

View more detail in the report

Further detail and insights are available in this view by accessing the options in the Similarity Layer.

Similarity Score icon
Similarity Score icon displayed in Feedback Studio window

Match Overview: Displays the overall Similarity Score and a list of sources that match the text in the assignment. Click a match result from the right side of the screen to see that text displayed and highlighted within your assignment.

Clicking on the numbered flag on any highlighted text within your assignment to see identified sources displayed in a pop-up box.

Similarity match
Highlighted text showing similarity match

All sources: A list of every source that contains a section of matched text. The Similarity Score (the % match you receive) does not always match the sum of the sources due to overlap in similarity.

All Sources icon
All Sources icon displayed in Feedback Studio window

Filters and Settings: displays options to exclude or alter the matching criteria (note this affects your view of the current Similarity Report only, not the finalised score).

Filters and Settings icon
Filters and settings button displayed in Feedback Studio window

Interpret the Similarity Report

It is very important to understand that the Similarity Score does NOT indicate whether plagiarism has taken place. Similarity Reports only indicate non-original text. A high score may contain legitimately cited text, and so is not a problem. Conversely, a low score may contain text that does cause concern.

When papers are submitted into Turnitin, sections of the papers that match other sources are highlighted and identified in the Similarity Report. Turnitin does not make a judgement as to whether plagiarism has occurred. It is the responsibility of teaching staff to determine the quality of the Similarity Report and to assess whether parts identified by Turnitin as non-original may be reasonably considered as plagiarism.

Please refer to Turnitin's guide to interpreting the Similarity Report for more information. This guide goes into detail about matches vs. sources, scoring ranges, and different marking scenarios.

This guide was last updated 27 Jun 2023.
Please report any errors or omissions in this guide by submitting an LMS support request.

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