Plagiarism Detection in Code

As an institution, Wentworth has invested it tools to detect plagiarism in written assignments. We have Turnitin and SafeAssign integrated into Blackboard to both assist students in learning proper citation techniques as well as to detect possible plagiarism. But what about other types of assignment? In computer science, coding assignments are hard to evaluate. Programs may use the same lines to perform a particular task, consequently the tools we have for writing, do not work.

Researcher at Stanford University have developed MOSS (short for Measure of Software Similarity) to assist instructors in determining whether students have plagiarized code. The system does not detect plagiarism, because the system does not detect whether attribution is included in the code, it just measures how similar the code is in the submitted sample is to other code that has been submitted. In this respect, it is not different from the tools we use for detecting plagiarism in writing.

For more information on how MOSS works, see this article on using MOSS to detect cheating in programming assignments.

If you are interested in using MOSS, you need to register for an account and obtain the submission script. More information is available on the MOSS web page.

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