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Instructor QuickStart: Part 3 from Turnitin on Vimeo.

Read step-by-step instructions on using the originality reports here...

What percentage of the originality score is sufficient to indicate plagiarism?

The Similarity Score, expressed as a percentage match, simply indicates the proportion of text in a submission which matches text elsewhere. Detecting similarity is what Turnitin does, but similarity isn't the same thing as plagiarism - similarity can be entirely legitimate. It can reside in quotations, or in the language of a discipline. Work may have a high score because its author lacks confidence or knowledge and has over-quoted as a consequence. Work may have a low score but have used somebody else's idea or phrase without attribution - this becomes an even more significant concern if that idea is central to the work. For these reasons, it's impossible to point to a definitive threshold.

That said, a very high score mean means that the student's own words and original ideas are proportionally less. The principle of essay writing is that students need to evidence or illustrate their points with well-chosen quotations, but the more of their own ideas, expressed in their own words, they get into their work, the more chance they have to earn credit. The important thing is to ensure that ideas and quotations used are properly referenced in an appropriate academic style, not to aim for a particular similarity score.


Only Turnitin can permanently remove items from its repository so that they are not used for future comparisons. Hence, we would need to submit a request to Turnitin for this to be done which could take some time.

For a quick fix, you can simply exclude (i.e. filter out) the student's own submission with which the submission to the correct portal is matched. For instructions on how to do this using:

  1. The 'Turnitin Classic' Document Viewer in Originality mode see: https://guides.turnitin.com/01_Manuals_and_Guides/Instructor_Guides/Turnitin_Classic_for_Instructors/21_The_Similarity_Report/Viewing_the_Similarity_Report#Excluding_a_Match
  2. 'Feedback Studio' in Similarity mode see:https://guideshelp.turnitin.com/01_Manuals_and_Guides/Instructor_Guides/Feedback_Studio_for_Instructors/19_The_Similarity_Report/Viewing_the_Similarity_Report#Excluding_Sourcesfeedback-studio/turnitin-website/instructor/the-similarity-report/the-similarity-report-explained.htm

A crafty way of eliminating the high similarity index appearing on one of two submissions of the same paper , would be to:

  1. Upload any arbitrary text based document (with more than 20 words) on behalf of the student to the Turnitin assignment submission portal that s/he submitted to by mistake. This submission would overwrite the last one and in effect remove it from Turnitin's repository.  (You would need editing permissions on both module sites).
  2. After doing this, upload the correct submission AGAIN to the correct Turnitin assignment submission portal. 24 hrs or so thereafter, you will see a new similarity index that won't include a match to the same piece of work.


Turnitin will currently accept the following file types to generate Originality Reports (as of 15 Dec 2016)

(Source:https://guideshelp.turnitin.com/01_Manuals_and_Guides/Student_Guides/Turnitin_Classic_for_Students/09_Submitting_a_Paper#File_Types_and_Size last accessed: 1st March 2017feedback-studio/d2l/instructor/submitting-papers/file-types-and-size.htm):

• Microsoft Word® (.doc / .docx)1
• OpenOffice Text (.odt)2
• Google Docs via Google Drive™ (.gdoc files are NOT acceptable)3
• WordPerfect® (.wpd)
• PostScript (.ps/.eps)
• Adobe® PDF4
• Microsoft PowerPoint® (.pptx, .ppt, .ppsx, and .pps)5
• Microsoft Excel® (.xls and .xlsx)6
• Rich text format (.rtf)
• Plain text (.txt)
• Hangul Word Processor file (.hwp)


  1. Download and install PDFCreator from:  from http://download.pdfforge.org/download/pdfcreator/PDFCreator-stable
  2. Launch the PDFCreator.
  3. Drag your document on to the PDFCreator window OR click Document Add and locate and open the file (change "postScript files (.ps)* to All files (.) in the bottom, right to see your documents).
  4. Click OK when the message appears saying: "It is necessary to temporarily set PDFCreator as default printer".
  5. Click save.
  6. Change the filename if you want to retain the original uncompressed version.
  7. Once the file has finished compressing the default printer will be changed back and the compressed PDF file will open.


No, there is no automatic notification. If you set the Post Date to the expected Post Date, and stick to that, then students will know (from the Turnitin Assignment's landing page aka Summary) when to check back. Otherwise, tutors can always send a News Forum post saying ‘Your marks are now available to view’.

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