How Good Is Turnitin AI Detection? Detailed Guide!




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Whether you are a teacher, professor, or student worried about AI content detection, you are likely to be familiar with Turnitin’s AI detection feature. But the biggest question is: How good is Turnitin AI Detection? Let’s find out!

Key Takeaways:

  • Turnitin has a decent level of AI detection capabilities, with an accuracy rate of at least 90% to 96% in practice.
  • Despite its high accuracy, Turnitin can still provide false positives, where human-written content is incorrectly flagged as AI-generated.
  • Turnitin’s AI detection works through the Similarity Report and evaluates documents by breaking them down into several hundred-word segments, scoring each segment for AI-generated content.
  • The tool’s AI writing detection algorithm is trained to recognize popular language models like GPT-3, GPT-3.5, and GPT-4 (ChatGPT Plus).
  • Turnitin’s false positive rate is consistently low for documents with more than 20% AI content, but decreases in reliability for documents with less than 20% AI content.
  • False positives pose a significant challenge for AI detection tools, especially when AI-generated content closely resembles human writing.
  • There are no 100% accurate AI content detectors, but some reliable options include Originality, GPTZero, and Copyleaks.
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How Good Is Turnitin AI Detection?

In general, Turnitin has a decent level of AI detection capabilities. Like any other AI content detection tool, it is not perfect and can provide false positives. In theory, it claims a 98% AI detection capability, but in practice, it can detect AI content with an accuracy of at least 90% to 96%.

There have been instances where students’ copies were falsely detected as AI-generated content by Turnitin, even though the entire text was handwritten.

Therefore, it is important to consider its scores just as indications – and instead, further discuss and analyze the issue before making any final decisions.

With the increasing launch of numerous AI tools, accurately identifying AI-generated content has become a challenge for everyone in the content field.

Despite the availability of several AI detection tools in the market, not a single tool claims 100% reliability and accuracy, including Turnitin.

Continue reading to gain a better understanding of how Turnitin’s AI detection works, what false positives are, and which AI content detectors are considered the most reliable in the market.

What Is Turnitin And How Does Its AI Detection Work?

Turnitin is an innovative platform that offers a suite of tools designed to assist educators in evaluating and improving students’ written work. Its primary focus is to maintain academic integrity by detecting instances of plagiarism and improper use of sources.

Turnitin’s comprehensive approach not only benefits instructors but also supports students in developing strong research and writing skills.

One of Turnitin’s core features is the Similarity Report. When a student submits their work, Turnitin compares it against an extensive database that includes academic publications, websites, and previously submitted papers.

The Similarity Report provides a detailed analysis, highlighting any matching or overlapping content found in the submitted document. This enables educators to identify potential instances of plagiarism and engage in meaningful discussions with students about the importance of originality.

To further enhance its capabilities, Turnitin has incorporated an AI writing indication into the Similarity Report. This addition helps instructors identify text segments within a document that have been generated by AI language models, such as ChatGPT.

By providing this information, Turnitin allows educators to maintain fairness and address any concerns related to AI-generated content, which is becoming increasingly prevalent.

To provide a comprehensive assessment, Turnitin breaks down the submitted work into several hundred-word segments. Each segment is then scored by the AI detection algorithm, ranging from 0 to 1.

A score of 0 indicates that the segment is not AI-generated, while a score of 1 suggests that the entire segment is AI-created. These scores are averaged to predict the overall extent of AI-generated text within the submission.

Turnitin’s AI writing detection algorithm has been trained to recognize popular language models like GPT-3 and GPT-3.5, including ChatGPT. Moreover, the system has been expanded to encompass the writing characteristics of GPT-4 (ChatGPT Plus). By continually refining its model, Turnitin aims to adapt to the evolving landscape of AI language models, ensuring accurate detection and indication of AI-generated content.

To ensure the reliability and effectiveness of its detection system, Turnitin employs a rigorous training process. The model is trained on a diverse range of AI-generated and authentic academic papers, allowing it to discover the distinctive features between AI-generated and human-authored content.

This training enhances the accuracy of the AI detection system, providing educators with reliable information to evaluate students’ work.

How Accurate Is Turnitin AI Detection?

Turnitin, a leading provider of plagiarism detection services, claims an impressive 98% accuracy rate in detecting AI-generated content within submitted documents. However, it is essential to acknowledge that, like any tool, Turnitin is not fully accurate and cannot guarantee 100% perfection.

To ensure the reliability of its detection system, Turnitin has conducted extensive testing on a staggering 800,000 academic papers. Based on the results and user feedback, they have made significant updates to their algorithms, aiming to keep the false positive rate below 1%.

The false positive rate of Turnitin remains consistently low, specifically when analyzing documents in which the percentage of AI content is above twenty.

In such cases, the false positive rate is below 1%, providing instructors with accurate indications of AI-generated text.

However, challenges arise when assessing documents with a lower percentage of AI content, less than 20%. In these instances, the reliability of the Turnitin score diminishes, leading to potential false positive indications.

To address this concern, Turnitin’s detection system appropriately marks such scores with relevant disclaimers, ensuring that educators are aware of the decreased confidence level in the AI detection results.

On average, we can say that Turnitin’s AI detection system provides an average accuracy rate of close to 96% in reality.

Yes, it’s not fully reliable and there are ways to bypass Turnitin AI detection. But still, it’s a handy tool to get an idea of the submitted content and how much AI help is used to produce it.

The company’s commitment to transparency, and accuracy, backed by rigorous testing and continuous updates, instills confidence in educators’ ability to evaluate student work and maintain academic integrity.

False Positives Is Indeed A Big Challenge

False positives refer to instances where AI detection tools incorrectly flag content as AI-generated when it is, in fact, created by humans.

These occurrences can arise due to various factors, including the complexity of the AI writing, the level of similarity to human-authored content, and the limitations of the detection algorithms employed by the tool.

Detecting AI-generated content becomes particularly challenging when it closely resembles human writing.

Most AI detection tools rely on patterns and predictability of word choices to differentiate between human and AI content. However, when AI text is heavily edited or written to closely resemble human-written text, it becomes difficult for tools like Turnitin to accurately detect it.

AI language models have made significant strides in emulating human-like writing styles. Advanced models, such as GPT-3 and GPT-4, have become increasingly proficient in generating text that closely mimics human language patterns, syntax, and even nuances.

This is especially true when these GPT models are prompted with advanced and specific prompts to mimic human-like writing style.

And this poses a substantial challenge for AI detection tools like Turnitin, as the traditional methods of pattern recognition and distinguishing characteristics may be less effective when faced with highly sophisticated AI-generated text.

Tools like Turnitin recognize the challenges posed by false positives and are committed to enhancing their detection capabilities. Through rigorous testing, and continuous updates to their algorithms, Turnitin and similar tools aim to minimize false positives and improve accuracy in distinguishing between AI-generated and human-authored content.

By employing advanced techniques and training models on a diverse range of AI and human-written texts, these tools strive to adapt to the ever-evolving nature of AI-generated content.

What Is The Most Reliable AI Content Detector?

There are no 100% accurate AI content detectors in the market yet. However, there are indeed some tools that are quite accurate in detecting AI-generated content.

AI ToolsReliability
GPTZero85% – 98%


Originality is one of the most popular and leading AI content detectors in the market. It became popular shortly after the ChatGPT launch, and ever since then, the tool has gone through a couple of updates. As of now, Originality is considered one of the toughest AI content detectors to bypass.

It is a paid tool and comes at a reasonable cost of only $0.01 cents for every 100 words of content scanned through the tool. Once your credit runs out, you can simply purchase more; the billing model is just like the CopyScape tool (a premium plagiarism checker) if you are familiar with it.

It not only has AI content detection but also a plagiarism checker. You also get its dedicated Chrome extension to check AI content with ease. It offers an overall score of AI content and highlights specific texts that it thinks are most likely created by AI.


GPTZero is a well-known AI detection tool, especially popular in the academic domain. It also has strict AI content detection that is quite hard to bypass. It offers both free and paid options. 

In the free option, you can detect texts up to 5000 characters at a time. Although it doesn’t give you any scores in its output but rather provides textual indications of how likely the text is written by AI. It also highlights specific sections of texts that it thinks have a high probability of being generated via AI.


Copyleaks is another tool that offers one of the most accurate AI content detectors in the market at the moment. It provides more than 90% of accuracy in detecting AI-generated content.

It gives a percentage score of how likely a specific text is generated by AI or humans. The higher the score percentage, the higher the likelihood of the text being written by a human. It also highlights specific AI-generated sections with red color.

As you hover through the texts you can see the percentage scores of each specific section.

It seamlessly integrates with Blackboard, so it is also a great content detection tool and can be considered a good alternative to Turnitin.


Is It Possible To Get 0 On Turnitin?

Yes, if you have written the assignment on your own without any plagiarism, then you can easily achieve a 0 score on Turnitin. A 0% similarity score indicates that the submitted content has no matches with the content present in Turnitin’s database. Similarly, you can achieve a 0 score in terms of AI detection in Turnitin, provided your content is unique and written by you (and if AI-generated, then still it should be heavily edited).

Can Turnitin Detect Undetectable AI?

Turnitin cannot detect Undetectable AI which is a tool specifically made to bypass AI content detectors. When content is passed through Undetectable AI, it goes through enough paraphrasing and restructuring that the AI detection tools including Turnitincan’t easily trace it as AI-generated content.

To learn more, we highly recommend checking out our detailed review of Undetectable AI.

Conclusion and final thoughts 💭

Turnitin’s AI detection feature offers significant help in preserving academic integrity in a time when AI-generated content is becoming widespread.

With a 98% detection rate, the system can reasonably identify AI-generated text. However, remember that it’s not foolproof. It can yield false positives, particularly when the AI content percentage is low.

False positives represent a crucial challenge as AI models advance and mirror human writing. Nevertheless, Turnitin is continuously striving to minimize this issue and increase detection accuracy.

Other reliable AI content detectors like Originality, GPTZero, and Copyleaks, are also valuable tools to consider.

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