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Turnitin software catches student plagiarism


27/05/2008 :: UK :: The Times

Exam boards are using a sophisticated computer software programme that scans students' work and compares it with material published on the internet, to catch coursework cheats who have copied all or part of their GCSE and A-level projects.

Under an agreement reached by the Joint Council for Qualifications, all the leading UK awarding bodies will be using software known as Turnitin this year. Until now it has been deployed mainly by universities to help to detect plagiarism.

There is now a booming "industry" in which essays and coursework can be bought and sold over the internet. Some students become unwitting cheats because they do not understand that it is wrong to copy other people's work and present it as their own.

John Black, of the Edexcel exam board, said: "Moderators are experienced at spotting the signs of plagiarism, but Turnitin helps us to confirm those suspicions and identify the original source of the work."

Turnitin is a web-based package, licensed by a company called Northumbria Learning, that compares a document with its database and then produces an "originality" report. The reports form part of the evidence that Edexcel presents to the heads of the students' schools and colleges involved.



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