Skills and Strategies | Understanding Plagiarism in a Digital Age – NYTimes.com

Skills and Strategies | Understanding Plagiarism in a Digital Age – NYTimes.com

Advertisements

What Is Detected? Carl Straumsheim

What Is Detected? Carl Straumsheim

Plagiarism detection software from vendors such as Turnitin is often criticized for labeling clumsy student writing as plagiarism. Now a set of new tests suggests the software lets too many students get away with it.

The data come from Susan E. Schorn, a writing coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin. Schorn first ran a test to determine Turnitin’s efficacy back in 2007, when the university was considering paying for an institutionwide license. Her results initially dissuaded the university from paying a five-figure sum to license the software, she said. A follow-up test, conducted this March, produced similar results.

Moreover, the results — while not a comprehensive overview of Turnitin’s strengths and weaknesses — are likely to renew the debate among writing instructors about the value of plagiarism detection software in the classroom.

[click title to continue reading]