AI writing detection

Turnitin's AI writing detection capability is designed to help educators identify text that might be prepared by a generative AI tool. Our AI writing detection model may not always be accurate (it may misidentify both human and AI-generated text) so it should not be used as the sole basis for adverse actions against a student. It takes further scrutiny and human judgment in conjunction with an organization's application of its specific academic policies to determine whether any academic misconduct has occurred.

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The AI writing indicator

When you open a Similarity Report, the AI writing indicator is in the side panel. After a short period of processing, the indicator will display one of three potential states:

 

Blue with a percentage between 0 and 100: The submission has processed successfully. The displayed percentage indicates the amount of qualifying text within the submission that Turnitin’s AI writing detection model determines was generated by AI. As noted previously, this percentage is not necessarily the percentage of the entire submission. If text within the submission was not considered long-form prose text, it will not be included.

Our testing has found that there is a higher incidence of false positives when the percentage is between 1 and 20. In order to reduce the likelihood of misinterpretation, the AI indicator will display an asterisk (*) for percentages between 1 and 20 to call attention to the fact that the score is less reliable.

To explore the results of the AI writing detection capabilities, select the indicator to open the AI writing report. The AI writing report opens in a new tab of the window used to launch the Similarity Report. If you have a pop-up blocker installed, ensure it allows Turnitin pop-ups.

 

Gray with no percentage displayed (- -): The AI writing detection indicator is unable to process this submission. This state means that the AI writing report cannot be opened. This can be due to one, or several, of the following reasons:

  • The submission was made before the release of Turnitin’s AI writing detection capabilities. The only way to see the AI writing detection indicator/report on historical submissions is to resubmit them.

  • The submission does not meet the file requirements needed to successfully process it for AI writing detection. In order for a submission to generate an AI writing report and percentage, the submission needs to meet the following requirements:

    • File size must be less than 100 MB

    • File must have at least 300 words of prose text in a long-form writing format

    • File must not exceed 15,000 words

    • File must be written in English

    • Accepted file types: .docx, .pdf, .txt, .rtf

 

Error (!): This error means that Turnitin has failed to process the submission. This state means that the AI writing report cannot be opened. Turnitin is constantly working to improve its service, but unfortunately, events like this can occur. Please try again later. If the file meets all the file requirements stated above, and this error state still appears, please get in touch through our support center so we can investigate for you.

 

The AI writing report

The AI writing report contains the overall percentage of prose sentences contained in a long-form writing format within the submitted document that Turnitin’s AI writing detection model determines was generated by AI. These sentences are highlighted in blue on the submission text in the AI writing report.

Prose text contained in long-form writing means individual sentences contained in paragraphs that make up a longer piece of written work, such as an essay, a dissertation, or an article, etc. The model does not reliably detect AI-generated text in the form of non-prose, such as poetry, scripts, or code, nor does it detect short-form/unconventional writing such as bullet points, tables, or annotated bibliographies.

This means that a document containing several different writing types would result in a disparity between the percentage and the highlights.

The percentage, generated by Turnitin’s AI writing detection model, is different and independent from the similarity score, and the AI writing highlights are not visible in the Similarity Report.

How do we detect AI-generated writing?

How Turnitin has made this determination is complex. To help our users understand Turnitin’s method of detecting AI writing text, we have created an extensive FAQ. Learn more about Turnitin’s AI writing detection tool.

AI detection will only work for content submitted in English. It will not process any non-English submissions. As we continue to iterate, we will keep you updated on developments around non-English language support.

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