Assessment & Marking Teaching Tools

Gradescope: Bubble sheet

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Bubble sheet assignments can be used for paper based multiple choice questions. Below you will find information on how bubble sheets work and a quick set up guide. For further information about Gradescope and a round of useful resources check out Gradescope: Frequently Asked Questions.

How do bubble sheets work?

  • Staff can predefine the answers for up to 200 questions, with answer choices A-E. Gradescope supports scoring options of exact, partial or either/or scoring.
  • Students are provided with a standard answer template, to enter their name, student ID number and their answer choices.
  • Completed answer sheets are scanned (using a standard photocopier). The scanned pdfs are then uploaded to Gradescope.
  • Gradescope automatically matches students to their scanned paper based on name / student ID. (Staff can assign any papers not automatically matched).

How does marking work?

  • Gradescope will automatically grade answers that it is sure about.
  • Gradescope will identify uncertain marks which require checking (typically this may be because a student has crossed out an answer).
  • Gradescope will identify any uncertain marks and also form answer groups for responses which it is unsure how to mark. Staff need to review, check and confirm these marks.

Key guidance for students

We recommend that you provide a practice test so that students have an opportunity to complete the answer sheet and you can see how the marking process works.

Download example instructions, that you can edit and add to your exam paper.

  • Students must enter their name and ID number onto the answer sheet in the relevant spaces.  (This information is used by Gradescope to match answer sheets to the relevant student).
  • For section use the unit code.
Image showing the name and id sections on the Gradescope bubble sheet answer template.
A multiple choice answer.  Answer options A to E are shown.  Answer B has been completed.  Answer D has been completed and crossed out.

If a student needs to change their answer we recommend they put an X over the incorrect shaded answer.

Creating a Bubble Sheet assignment

Once you have created your Gradescope course within Blackboard next, you can set up a Bubble sheet. The information below provides step by step instructions on how to set up a Bubble sheet assignment. Alternatively you can download the Staff Guide: Gradescope Bubble Sheet.

You may also want to read about how Bubble sheets are being used in FSE.

Quick steps

  • Open the Blackboard space that the Gradescope course has been linked to and click on your Gradescope link to open the Gradescope Dashboard.
  • Click on Assignment, then Create Assignment.
  • For Assignment type select Bubble Sheet and click Next.
  • Enter an Assignment Name.
  • Submission Anonymization (leave this check box unticked).
  • Who Uploads Assignment should be set to Instructor (as staff will be scanning and uploading the paper).
  • Click Create Assignment to save the settings you have selected.

Watch the view below for a summary of the steps which take place once an assignment has been set up.

Creating a Bubble Sheet assignment video

Edit Answer Key

Once you have created your Bubble sheet, you will need to define the correct answers for each question in the Edit Answer Key screen.

  • For questions with more than one answer option, the scoring key allows you to apply exact, partial or either/or scoring to all questions. The default point value for each question is listed as ‘1’.
  • Allocate answers to the numbered questions by clicking on a letter or letters underneath the question.
  • Click on the cog icon next to a question number if you wish to change the default scoring (exact, partial, either/or) or the points value for that question.

Once you have defined your answers click Save Answer Key. You can check or edit your answer key at any time, but opening the assignment and clicking on the menu option Edit Answer Key.

What happens if I need to change the answer to a question or exclude a question from marking after papers have been uploaded?

You can still Edit an answer key after submissions have been uploaded. Any changes that you make will be applied to the marking.

  • To exclude a question from marking, go to the Edit Answer Key screen and uncheck any selected answer bubbles for that question and then Save the answer key to apply the changes.
  • Next go to the Review Grades screen. You should see that the maximum total score for the paper has been adjusted to reflect that you have excluded a question from marking.

Manage Scans

Once students have completed their answers, the answer sheets need to be scanned and uploaded as a pdf to Gradescope. Gradescope recommends a maximum of 50 to 80 submissions per pdf upload. Therefore, for large groups we recommend that you scan papers in several smaller batches. (When scans are uploaded Gradescope will use the student name and ID number to identify split points and separate the papers into individual files for marking).

To upload scans follow the instructions below:

  • Open the relevant Blackboard space and click on your Gradescope link to open the Gradescope Dashboard.
  • Click on the relevant assignment from the Gradescope Dashboard.

NOTE: (If you cannot see the assignment, you may be listed as a ‘student’ in Gradescope. To change a role go to Roster screen.  Support staff can be given the role of TA, so they can access the assignment and upload scans).

  • Next click Manage Scans and then Select PDF Files. Then locate and upload your files.
  • Gradescope will process the files, splitting each file into a separate page and matching submissions to each student.
  • We recommend that you check the number of answer sheets against your class register. (You may have more than one batch of papers if the exam involved a main room and an extra time room).

You can return to the Manage Scans screen at any point to upload additional files.

Manage Submissions

The Manage Submissions screen shows an overview of students on the course.

You’ll see a summary of:

  • Number of submissions (answer sheets uploaded)
  • X/X Students Have Not Been Matched (click on this link to view a list of relevant students).   
  • All, Autoassigned and Unsassigned.  Click on these options to filter the answer sheets shown.
  • You can also use the Search by name field to search using a student name or student ID number.
Screenshot of menu options in Manage Scans screen

How do I match an unassigned paper?

  • Click on Unassigned to see a list of any answer sheets that Gradescope has been unable to match. 
  • Under Name & ID region, you will see a preview of the Name and ID number of the answer sheet. 
Image of Name & ID region
  • Check the name shown in the preview.  If you wish to view the full paper click on the icon shown above to (View Page) or Show Details.
  • To assign a paper.  Click on the Enter student name field.  You can search using the dropdown list or by typing in a student name or ID number.
  • Once you’ve located the correct record click on the name to assign it.  The name selected will appear alongside the paper.
  • If you accidentally selected the wrong name or ID use the pencil Edit icon to change an assigned student.

Grade Submissions

Gradescope will automatically grade bubble sheet assignments as soon as answer sheets are uploaded. However, staff will still need to review and confirm uncertain marks and any marks placed in answer groups. (Uncertain marks can occur when a student has crossed out or marked more than one answer.)

  • Open the relevant Blackboard space and click on your Gradescope link to open the Gradescope Dashboard.
  • Click on the relevant assignment from the Gradescope Dashboard.
  • Next, click Grade Submissions from the left menu panel.

Reviewing Uncertain Marks

To review a list of uncertain marks.

  • Click on the Uncertain marks link at the top of the screen.
  • Gradescope display a list of questions, with a preview of the uncertain answers for checking. Underneath the preview an answer bubble will be completed, indicating what Gradescope assumes the student’s intended answer is. If Gradescope has incorrectly interpreted the student’s answer staff can click to select/deselect the assigned answer so it matches the student’s paper.
  • Once answers are all checked, click Confirm All Marks.

Allocating marks from answer groups

Gradescope will also create answer groups for any answers that require clarification.

To access the answer groups click on the question link in the Grade Submissions Screen.

Within an answer group you’ll be able to see a preview of all the answers Gradescope has grouped. Answers can be removed from a group if they have been incorrectly assigned. You can also Grade answers within the group.

The Grade Submissions screen will show a summary of grading progress for all questions. Once all grading is completed, the next stage in the grading process is to Review Grades. 

Review Grades

The review grades screen provides an overview of graded work. In this screen you can check grades, access statistical information on grading, download summary data and choose options to release grades to your students.

  • Navigate to your Gradescope course via Blackboard and click on the relevant assignment from the Gradescope Dashboard.
  • Next, click Review grades from the left menu panel.
  • You can use the search box to search for an individual by name or student ID number.
  • Click on an individual student name to view that student’s full submission.

Downloading data

The Download Grades option provides a breakdown of student responses by question, summarising the student’s total score for the paper and points scored for each question.

The Download Responses option provides a full breakdown of student responses for each question (including what letter(s) they answered), alongside the correct response, question point weighting and points scored for each question.

Releasing feedback and grades

Posting Marking to Blackboard

To post marks to Blackboard a column must be set up within Blackboard Gradecentre and linked to your Gradescope course. To do that follow the instructions: Gradescope: Get Started- Post to Blackboard

If you have already linked your Gradescope course to Blackboard then a the link icon will show in bold in the Review Grades screen. You can link or unlink a course from the Gradescope Dashboard by clicking on Course Settings.

Go to the Review Grades screen within Gradescope and click on Post to Blackboard to push the student’s overall mark to a column within the Blackboard Grade Centre.

Unpublishing Grades

If you have published grades within Gradescope, to Unpublish grades go to Review Grades, click on More then Unpublish Grades. For any grades posted to Blackboard, you will need to hide the associated column in the Blackboard Grade Centre.