Does SafeAssign Check Previously Submitted Work? What Else?

When it comes to academic dishonesty, many students worry about being caught. One tool that can help is SafeAssign, which checks work against a database of previously submitted papers. But does SafeAssign check for plagiarism only? What else can it do? In this post, we’ll explore the features of SafeAssign and how to use them effectively.

Does SafeAssign Check Previously Submitted Work?

SafeAssign is a plagiarism-detection tool that automatically checks new work against a database of previously submitted work. To use SafeAssign, instructors submit an assignment to SafeAssign and choose how they want the students to use source material. These options include:

  1. Using sources (like books, articles, or websites)
  2. Creating a Works Cited page by using outside sources
  3. Referencing outside sources without referencing them directly in the paper
  4. Students are required to paraphrase material from outside sources
  5. Not using or allowing outside sources for this assignment

What Files Does SafeAssign Check and Detect?

SafeAssign can check any file (.txt, .doc, etc.) from the computer. Instructors must submit files from their computer(s) and not the T-Square site. Files must be in English. SafeAssign can check files of any type (MS Word, PDF, HTML, etc.) but provide the most accurate plagiarism results with English-language MS Word files.

What SafeAssign Does not Detect?

SafeAssign checks for matching words and phrases in the submitted file and the database. It does not check:

  • Co-authorship or joint work
  • Text that is under copyright, unless permission has been granted to use the material
  • Plagiarism of one’s previous work
  • SafeAssign Results and Functionality

For every assignment that is checked, students will see the following in their SafeAssign submissions:

  • The number of matches found
  • The percentage of the assignment that is similar to other sources
  • The date and time the file was submitted
  • Any errors in the original file (e.g., spelling or grammar mistakes)

Is SafeAssign the Same as Turnitin?

No. Turnitin is another site similar to checking for plagiarism. Turnitin specializes in checking for plagiarism in written work, while SafeAssign specializes in detecting texts that have been copied into a file, not just paraphrased or summarized. This means that Turnitin will detect more plagiarized written work than SafeAssign, but it cannot detect copied text in uploaded files. Turnitin provides a different set of features than Safeassign and works exclusively for instructors who assign work to students in an online environment (instructors cannot use Turnitin for papers they give to students).

When Should You Use SafeAssign?

SafeAssign is a useful tool for professors who want to ensure that their students use the course readings as part of their written assignments. In addition, professors who want to minimize plagiarism can specify how they will allow the students to use outside sources (e.g., direct quotation, referencing in a Work Cited page, etc.). Professors can also use SafeAssign to check their work before submitting it.

How Do You Submit an Assignment Using SafeAssign?

To use SafeAssign, instructors should follow these steps:

  • Create an assignment in Canvas or T-Square. Instructors should choose from the list of services. If instructors do not see Turnitin, they can request that it be added to their course in T-Square. In the Turnitin assignment, choose to submit an MS Word file. Instructors should click “Use SafeAssign” and follow the prompts.
  • Instructors can also upload MS Word files to SafeAssign directly. Files should be uploaded in English (or any other language with words that would appear in an English-language MS Word file).

What Happens if SafeAssign Finds Plagiarism?

If too much of the assignment’s text matches other sources’ texts, then the student will be marked as having committed plagiarism for this assignment. Instructors can choose how many similarities they find acceptable in the Turnitin assignment in Canvas or T-Square. If students cannot remediate (explain the sources of their texts and why they are allowed to use them like this), they will receive an “F” or zero on the assignment. Instructors can also follow these steps to remediate plagiarism in SafeAssign; simply choose “Remediate Plagiarism” on the assignment’s page.

What are Some Alternatives to SafeAssign?

One alternative is, which specializes in plagiarism detection. Other alternatives include using Google with the appropriate search modifiers (e.g., “define: plagiarism”).

The other alternative is, a plagiarism detection program that checks students’ papers for originality while writing them. This way, instructors know if students are using outside sources before submitting their papers.

Is SafeAssign a Service?

No, it is a Web application that works in most modern web browsers and uses Javascript to upload and process MS Word documents. Because it is a Web application, instructors do not have to download any software. It also does not require special technical knowledge to use it.

Benefits of Using SafeAssign

There are several benefits of using SafeAssign, and they include:

  1. Its ease of use and compatibility with most web browsers.
  2. Instructors can also specify the types of sources students are allowed to use.
  3. Students receive immediate feedback about whether they have plagiarized their written work. If students do not remediate, they cannot submit the assignment.
  4. If students plagiarize, they are penalized immediately.
  5. Low cost of use.
  6. Instructors may also find SafeAssign easier to manage because it is Web-based. Instructors do not need to download any software or pay for expensive subscriptions, nor do they have to configure anything.
  7. The ability to include links and citations throughout the document.
  8. High compatibility with modern web browsers (e.g., Firefox, Chrome, Safari) and modern operating systems (e.g., Windows 7, 8, 10).
  9. The ability to check student papers for plagiarism in real-time.
  10. Allows students to turn in written work in either MS Word or PDF format, easily compatible with grading software and other programs.
  11. Auto-generates a .rtf file from the submitted document, which instructors can use to grade student work. This ensures compatibility with a wide variety of grading software.
  12. Instructors can also use SafeAssign’s settings to specify what types of sources students can use.
  13. Students receive immediate feedback about whether they have plagiarized their written work. If students do not remediate, they cannot submit the assignment.
  14. If students plagiarize, they are penalized immediately.


So, does SafeAssign check previously submitted work? In a word, yes. SafeAssign is designed to prevent plagiarism by comparing submissions against a database of academic papers. It’s an important tool for any student or educator looking to maintain the integrity of their academic work. However, there are other ways to use SafeAssign as well – we’ve just scratched the surface! To learn more about how SafeAssign can help you in your academic pursuits, be sure to check out our website.