Global Study by Turnitin Shows 30 Percent Drop in Unoriginal Writing in Higher Education; Digital Feedback Tools Grow By Triple Digits

Findings from a worldwide, multi-year study of secondary schools, colleges and universities reveal significant reductions of unoriginal writing, and growing adoption of online grading and student feedback tools.

Turnitin, the leader in improving how students write and learn, today released an interactive infographic reporting results of a global study on unoriginal content and the importance of feedback in the writing process. The study examined how institutions use Turnitin to reduce unoriginal writing and engage students in the writing process through the use of online feedback and grading tools. Click to tweet.

While there have been numerous studies of Turnitin’s efficacy in larger English-speaking markets, this study demonstrates that the adoption of Turnitin as a digital feedback tool is occurring globally.

This study examined more than 14 million submissions across 15 countries along three dimensions: the change in unoriginal content time over time in a given country; the growth of Turnitin as a feedback tool on student writing, and the percentage of content from highly unoriginal content that matched to other student papers in the system.

View the interactive chart to see the results and download each country’s full report.

The following are some of the findings from the study:

  • Higher education institutions in 12 of the 15 countries reduced unoriginal content by more than 30 percent.
  • The majority of content matches from highly unoriginal submissions (greater than 50 percent unoriginal content) came from matches to other student papers rather than from websites or academic textbooks or journals.
  • The use of Turnitin as a digital feedback tool showed triple-digit growth in all countries. From the study’s secondary and higher education institutions, the number of papers graded online increased by 1,800 percent between 2005 and 2014.

“As education moves to greater use of technology, Turnitin is becoming a core component of the writing instruction process around the world,” said Jason Chu, education director at Turnitin.

“The study demonstrates that Turnitin is not only used as a tool to promote original writing, but also as an instructional tool to provide feedback to students and engage them in the writing process.”

India: Indian higher education institutions enjoyed a 49 percent decline in unoriginal writing and saw a 9977 percent increase in the number of papers graded online between 2010 and 2014.

Dr. JS Sodhi, CIO and vice president of Amity Education Group, said: “As a leading private education provider in India we have been using Turnitin for around 6 years, and in this last year 70,000+ research reports have been submitted and checked for originality.

“For us, Turnitin echoes our fundamental values of integrity and good practice and has really helped to place innovation and research at the forefront of our thinking.”

South Africa: Unoriginal writing in South Africa’s higher education institutions dropped 44 percent , while the number of papers graded online increased 301 percent between 2010 and 2014.

Jessica Kell, academic development coordinator of IIE Varsity College, said of Turnitin: “Our biggest focus is on remediation, using the technology as an approach to improving the students’ academic writing.

“It's invaluable in educating the students just how important original work is and assisting us to teach the students paraphrasing skills, as we are able to point out specific areas of their writing that they need work on in order to improve."

China: Chinese higher education institutions enjoyed a 29 percent decline in unoriginal writing and saw a 125 percent increase in the number of papers graded online between 2011 and 2014.

Walid Daouk, Ph.D. Chair Professor of International Education College at NCC Guangzhou Institute of Technology, said of Turnitin: “We view it as a tool to help students improve their writing. As a learning tool it is invaluable for giving feedback to our students quickly and efficiently."

Note to media: Reports available for Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and Thailand.