Turnitin.com submission policies far too strict on students

There are many advantages to using Turnitin.com to submit student work to teachers, but the grading policies that teachers enforce are excessively punitive.


I had stayed up far too long the night before putting the finishing touches on my English paper. I woke up the next morning feeling confident, excited to turn in my work.

Walking into English class that day, I froze in disbelief: I had forgotten to submit my paper to Turnitin.com.

I panicked. I tried to muster up a good excuse as to why I didn’t submit it, but it was no use. My teacher wouldn’t budge. Twenty-five percent would be taken from my final grade on yet another English paper.

Yeah, you read that correctly: a loss of 25 percent, making my highest possible grade a “C.” No matter the quality of that paper I had just turned in, I would receive a mediocre grade. Why? I like to think it’s because the system hates me.

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m a procrastinator; I’m unorganized; I’m extremely forgetful. Those three traits alone are the reasons I don’t reach my full potential in school. I’m a good student for the most part. It’s just that I fall into the little booby traps that teachers set along the way, such as Turnitin.com.

Turnitin.com is an excellent resource for teachers and works wonders in discouraging student plagiarism. What I think needs to be changed is the policy, which is far too strict. Students should not be penalized with such drastic measures when they have already handed in a hard copy of their paper. It’s not like they didn’t write it. I agree that the paper needs to be submitted soon afterward to check for plagiarism, but 25 percent off? Really?

I’ve got a scenario for you. Let’s say our imaginary friend, Jeremiah, knows that he is going out of town on for the last week of September. He also knows he has a paper due that week. Jeremiah decides to be responsible, write his paper ahead of time and turn it in before he leaves. Keep in mind, you can’t submit a paper to Turnitin.com until the teacher opens the folder for submission, which he checked before he left. Jeremiah comes back from his trip only to find that he lost 25 percent credit because he never submitted his paper. But did he ever really have the chance? Yeah, that happened to me.

What I’m saying is, of course, there will be problems when forcing students to post their work on a site, like Turnitin.com; they are almost unavoidable. But I am not saying teachers shouldn’t penalize students at all for failure to submit.

Students have so much on their plates these days, and forgetting Turnitin.com is becoming a major issue. Submission to Turnitin.com should be done in class, eliminating the chance of difficulties. Teachers would be right there to help the student submit if problems occured.

Maybe teachers should go around with a Sharpie and individually write “Turnitin.com” on each student’s forehead the night before a deadline.

Hey, whatever it takes to keep me from getting another “C.”