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SafeAssign sucks

October 12, 2009

Grading essays on Gilgamesh today, I began to wonder if one or two of my student had actually written what it was they submitted. After I discovered a quote from dictionary.com that SafeAssign missed, I began to get worried.

Fishing around the internet I found several (OK, hundreds) of papers written on Gilgamesh that are available for free downloads. In the spirit of scientific discovery, I uploaded a few papers from Custom Essay Meister to SafeAssign. SafeAssign didn’t catch the site at all; it only recognized that some of the content had been pulled from yet other websites (which only goes to show that there is no honor among thieves).

What was most interesting to me is that Custom Essay Meister even has a disclaimer on the bottom of the essays that reads:

While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written papers will pass any plagiarism test, guaranteed. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

Why is it that Turnitin will catch it but not SafeAssign? My working theory is that it is because the internet search engine that SafeAssign uses is not as robust as that of Turnitin. Or to put it more simply: SafeAssign sucks.

However, there is no need to worry. I’m currently uploading every free paper I can find into SafeAssign’s database so that this won’t continue to be a problem.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom Jones permalink
    March 12, 2010 9:06 pm

    don’t punish kids for using others work. instead praise them for using the available technology. they’re not stealing. stealing takes something leaving no trace. they are simply duplicating. this is the technological world we’ve created for ourselves. live in it or get out.

    • March 14, 2010 11:42 am

      Perhaps the University of Oregon has different rules than other universities I’ve looked at, but most schools define plagiarism as the uncredited use of other’s ideas. Simple duplication (with proper reference) is quite different than deliberately passing someone else’s work off as your own. These are the rules higher ed has created. No one has to go to university. Play according to the rules or get out.

      • John permalink
        December 4, 2012 9:00 am

        The problem is that a lot of schools will base large chunks of students’ grades on SafeAssign’s results, and the way SafeAssign’s programming works, it can pick up on context clues as well as word use, so it has a tendency to ignore in-text citations, some spelling errors, and a few other grammatical marks.

  2. anonymous permalink
    March 29, 2010 3:11 am

    Tom Jones, that has to be the stupidest comment I have read for sometime. I hope for your sake you are a child because you clearly don’t have a clue and I would be worried for your children. Assignments/assessments are meant to be indicators that students understand and are learning the content of the course, which are obviously the skills they will need for their career. What’s the point in even going to university if you just pass off other’s work as yours and don’t actually learn anything. The people who plagiarise easily have the skills necessary to make the cut and write decent work, they are just plain lazy, they can’t be bothered to learn and don’t comprehend how it is disadvantaging them in the long run. Also children should not be praised for duplicating. They should be praised for looking at a body of information objectively and justifying their own conclusions based on that. That actually shows you have a brain and didn’t just press Ctrl+C Ctrl+V. Oh and I’m a 5th year university student btw.

  3. nin permalink
    December 12, 2011 9:40 pm

    So now academia, punishes kids with the fact that they can’t evolve their intellectual thoughts on their own. Makes them to have to look at other cited material before they can explain their own thoughts; even if they rediscover that another person thought along the same lines as what they developed. It’s self defeating

  4. Nike permalink
    January 25, 2012 2:23 pm

    I am an undergrad. I uderstand the logic of referencing works. Why steal an intellectual property? Look at others’ cited materials you don’t have to agreed with them….say what you think your deduction pre or post the material whilst referencing it. It takes nothing out of you. But actually shows your own intellectual strength if you can explain and link thoughts which disagreed or agreed with the cited materials. And information and knowledge increases with looking at past works. Why short change yourself?

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