SimCheck by Turnitin

Kira Talent's SimCheck by Turnitin

We're very excited to officially announce our new feature - SimCheck by Turnitin! 

We want to help admissions teams broaden their defense to application fraud by identifying potential plagiarism in Kira. Why? Because admitting students with a track record of integrity is core to ensuring your institution’s reputation. For more information, see this article written by Turnitin about the consequences of admitting dishonest students.


How does SimCheck work?

When an applicant completes their Kira assessment, we submit their timed written responses and uploaded documents to Turnitin.

Applicant content will be matched against over 70 billion web pages and 165 million journal articles in Turnitin’s database, as well as an optional database of previous Kira submissions. Turnitin creates a Similarity Score per submission based on the percentage matched against the databases and displays the Similarity Scores back in Kira.

Where can I find the feature?

With the feature enabled, Similarity Scores can be found on your applicant's Integrity summary.


What are Similarity Scores and how do I use them?

Similarity Scores represent the percentage of an applicant's submission that matches one or more sources in the Turnitin and Kira databases.

  • For example, a Similarity Score is 12% means that 12% of an applicant's submission matched a webpage or prior Kira submission. Therefore, that submission contains 88% unique content.
  • If an applicant's Similarity Score is 100%, their entire Kira submission matched a webpage or prior Kira submission — it contains no unique content.

Although SimCheck can identify if similarities exist, a human must still determine if plagiarism indeed occurred. By clicking on the Similarity Score in Kira, you can open a page that shows the source of the match.

If the Similarity Score is 100% and the source is an external website (ie: Wikipedia), you might conclude the applicant plagiarized their content from the web.

If the Similarity Score is 12% and the source is an external website, we recommended identifying which part of the submission was matched to the source. When deciding whether or not a match is acceptable, consider:

  • If the sentence appears to be a common phrase
  • If the sentence is an introductory phrase that repeats the question being asked
  • If the sentence only contains a few words that match the source

A source that contains; "kiratalent" means the applicant's submission matches (in full or in part) a prior Kira submission. Due to privacy regulations, we're unable to show you which school or applicant the match came from, or the original submission. However, we do have measures in place to protect against "self-plagiarism" (ie: if an applicant used their own content for two different submissions). Please see "Additional Details" for more information.

We're collecting data over the 2019-2020 cycle to provide better insights into Similarity Score thresholds that generally suggest plagiarism. Please see "Additional Details" for more information.


How can I enable the feature?

This feature will be enabled in your Kira account free of charge for applicants who complete assessments between September 15, 2020 and May 31, 2021.


Troubleshooting

If you see a "-%" Similarity Score for an applicant, there are three possible explanations:

  1. The submission contains less than 35 words
    • Turnitin requires at least 35 words to process a Similarity Score.

  2. The Similarity Score is still being calculated
    • Submissions are usually analyzed within one minute of an applicant submitting their assessment. Please refresh the page in one minute to see the updated score.
  3. There was an error with the integration
    • If you can confirm the submission contains more than 35 words, and the applicant completed the assessment more than a few minutes ago, an error likely occurred with the integration. Please email our CS team and we can attempt to manually run the submission again.

Additional Details

What are my options for using the Kira submission database, or creating a private repository for my school?

Your admissions team can choose between creating a private repository for your program or school, or joining the larger Kira submission database.

If you choose to create a private repository, you can see if one of your applicants plagiarized from another applicant applying to your school or program. You will not be able to see if your applicants plagiarized from others who applied to different schools.

If you choose to join the larger Kira submission database, you can still see if one applicant plagiarized from another who applied to your school or program. However, you can also see if your applicants plagiarized from other applicants applying to different schools. (However, you won't be able to tell which applicant or which school the match came from due to privacy regulations).

How does Kira protect against self-plagiarism?

We've ensured that applicants will not be matched against their own submissions so long as they’ve used the same email address across applications.

Does Kira flag applicants for me if their Similarity Score is high?

Not yet but we're collecting data over the next year to answer the following questions:

  • What is the average Similarity Score for timed written responses and for uploaded documents? Do they differ?
  • What is the average Similarity Scores for timed written responses that are 5 minutes long and for those that are 20 minutes long? Do they differ?

Once we've answered these questions, we'll create data-backed thresholds to flag applicants as "Needs Attention", similar to Browser Refreshes and Typing Speed. We'll make an announcement when these thresholds are in place.