It is regarded as a form of cheating to plagiarise, as the student is intending to attain credit for something that is not their own work. Therefore it is taken extremely seriously by schools, universities and other academic institutions. Many institutions use computer programs which check through assignments that are posted electronically and compare them to past projects from other students, textbooks and internet sources. The reports from these anti-plagiarism programs return a percentage match with sentences and paragraphs highlighted so that tutors can see where the student may have duplicated work. It is expected that a certain amount of projects will find matches with others if they are written on the same topic, but a tutor will become suspicious if there are large amounts of text that are virtually identical to other sources and with no quotation marks or citations given to credit the initial writer. Sometimes the tutor grading an assignment is not the same person as the teacher who gave a talk on which the assignment may be based. Therefore it may be the case that students feel they can depend considerably on class notes without being caught out, however when most of the submitted assignments are practically identical, this becomes quite evident to the marker.

One of the most difficult forms of plagiarism for schools to discover is when a student presents an essay that has been penned by someone else. This counts as plagiarism under the classification of passing someone else’s content off as one’s own. Teachers may assume that the assignment has not been created by the pupil who uploaded it if they have seen earlier work by this student and the style is extremely different, or if the essay is very well-written and the pupil has not established that amount of academic skill previously. This is problematic to establish though, if the assignment has not been submitted anywhere else.