Mira Bektimirova

Unicheck’s Similarity Report and Grading Papers: Any Connection?

Blog Post created by Mira Bektimirova on Aug 8, 2017

Here at Unicheck (former Unplag) we try to keep in touch with educators. It’s not just the feedback on our similarity checker that we want to know.

Our objective is to learn the needs teachers have, and in what ways we can make your routines easier, faster and less tiresome.

Today we would like to address what is absurdly both the most looked for and most ignored topic: the similarity report.

When the papers are submitted, and the similarity check is complete, what happens then? What do you do next, and how helpful can the similarity report be in grading papers?

Purpose of Similarity Report

The first thing we would like to say is that similarity score is not a grade; neither is it a recommendation for the grade.

Similarity report provides a statistical number that shows the percent of similarity in the paper. It is left completely for educators to decide if any particular paper was plagiarized or not.

We at Unicheck understand the crucial need for student-teacher communication; we also know the true value of human factor in education. That is why our report’s only purpose is to show

  • how much of the text is original
  • how much of the text is made of citations
  • how many references were used, and
  • how much of the text was found to be identical to online or library sources and databases (if integrated).

The report shows this information to the fullest extent and provides accurate and reliable results. Unicheck’s purpose is to inspire, not place blame; Unicheck’s ambition is to become educator’s helper and reference, transforming once a cumbersome and exhausting ordeal into a simple and swift pattern.

There is more to know about the similarity report and its content, so read on.

Unicheck’s Interface in Canvas

When students submit their papers, Unicheck as an LTI, checks them automatically. To find a similarity report on each paper, you need to go to the Assignment in Canvas and click on the “Student view” button near each student’s name.

After you press the button, a fallout table will be displayed with several columns:

  • Attempt.

This is a student submission counter. The number displayed will change accordingly if a student re-submits the paper.

  • Document.

This is the similarity report itself. You can click on it to view it in the Canvas interface. Read on to find out more details on the similarity report below.

  • ID.

This is a unique serial number of this particular report.

  • Similarity.

Educators can see the similarity score right away, without having to open the similarity report. This score is a percentage of the text that Unicheck has determined as identical with online or library sources and databases (if integrated). It can be any number from 0% (no similarities detected, text is fully original) to 100% (a complete match with sources, and no original text is present).

  • Grade.

This cell usually shows “0.0”. Educators can grade the paper right here, or they can do it in the report itself. The grade will automatically appear in Grades.

  • Submission date.

It shows the exact time when the paper has been submitted.

Meaning of Similarity Report

Similarity report contains detailed information on the checked paper.

There are two ways to view it:

  1. In the Canvas interface directly, by clicking on the highlighted link under the Document column as shown on the screenshot;
  2. On your computer in a separate .pdf file. To download it, press the “Generate Report” button, and when the caption has changed to “Download Report”, press it again.

This screenshot shows the report viewed in Canvas. The report is divided in two halves. On the left-hand side is the paper itself, with the color highlights in the body of the text. On the right-hand side is a panel with information on originality and similarity scores, percent of references and citations, list of all sources, citations and references. Unicheck gives teachers a possibility to exclude any of sources, citations and references from the percentage calculations manually in the report.

There is a special color code that Unicheck uses to mark the paper for better navigation. Yellow highlight marks similar text; blue marks citations; purple is used for references; original text is not marked at all.

We also use red color if our checker has detected similar characters from other alphabets in the text. This trick can sometimes be used to fool similarity checkers, yet Unicheck is immune to such maneuvers.

The report also allows you to comment on any part of the report for student’s attention. For that, press the “Commenting mode” button.

The downloaded report will include the same information as its online version, but the used sources will be listed at the beginning of the document.

Share Your Thoughts

The Unicheck development team is happy to announce that the new deeper integration with Canvas is coming soon, and it will make workflow absolutely seamless. We will keep Canvas community posted on all further developments.

Unicheck would like to invite all teachers to share thoughts and experiences with us. Have similarity reports been of help to you when grading papers? Has it been making things clearer or more confusing? We appreciate your feedback, so step forward.


image used under CCO 1.0, via unsplash.com