Revising Based on the Originality Report

Did you know that the Originality Report is a great tool to help you revise your task for originality issues?


For most tasks, WGU allows no more than 30% of a submission to be quoted or closely paraphrased from sources and no more than 10% from any individual source.


If your originality report shows an overall similarity greater than 30% or an individual match greater than 10%, you’ll want to revise the paper before submitting for evaluation. Here are some strategies to help you.


Use the Originality Report as a guide

The goal of writing is to show independent thought. You want to be able to illustrate that you understand the material and have mastered the required competencies. When you use too many quotations or paraphrase too many outside sources, you’re relying on what others have said, rather than your own understanding.


For this reason, we encourage students to be proactive and use the report to inform necessary changes PRIOR to submitting the task for evaluation. 


Here are some steps to help strengthen your academic voice:

  1. After accessing the originality report, focus on those sections that are highlighted. Rewrite those sections using your own understanding, only bringing in sources to support your ideas.
  2. When you use source material, read it several times to make sure you understand the content and overall theme. If you don’t understand it, you certainly won’t be able to explain it!
  3. Focus on the main idea of any sources you use. Don’t try to change individual words; this is known as synonym swapping and will still show up as matching language. Try to express the overall point or theme of the source material instead.
  4. When paraphrasing, look away from the source material. Pretend you’re explaining it to a friend or colleague as you write.
  5. As much as possible, expand upon the ideas. Ask yourself questions such as “How?” and “Why?” Provide analogies, explanations, and/or examples.


As a reminder, be sure to provide a citation whenever you use the words (quotation) or ideas (paraphrase) of a source. For help with citations, see the article How to Cite Sources: The Big Four.

For information on how to use sources in your writing, please see Module 2 of the Guide to Academic Writing.


For more information on how student submissions are evaluated for originality, please visit this link. If you are submitting your performance assessment in Taskstream, see the article What is Turnitin? If you are submitting your performance assessment in your course, see the article What is Unicheck? 

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