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Gradescope Bubble Sheets

Gradescope Bubble Sheets

Gradescope Bubble Sheet Exams Available For Use

Gradescope, an integration that works with Canvas that is used primarily for collecting and grading on-paper assignments, now has the capability to score exam bubble sheets. That is, you can use it to scan and score “Scantron”-style exams on your own. And, since it links with Canvas, you can post your grades directly without needing to type them in from a report or worrying about importing a spreadsheet.

This is added functionality available in Gradescope. The existing functionality for scanning and grading written exams and homework (whether scanned by the teacher or the student) is still available. Using the other features of Gradescope is not required to use it for scoring bubble sheets.

Additionally, the Apperson DataLink Scanning System (commonly called “Scantron” on campus, though that’s a competing brand) exam scanning and scoring service provided by the Testing Center remains available. The Gradescope functionality is an additional option available to you as part of the University of Pittsburgh’s existing license. Some exam types may not be compatible with Gradescope (e.g., “gold form” 10-choices-per-question).

This feature is for students taking an exam on paper. There are other solutions if you want students to take their exams electronically with their laptop or phone.

Help Is Available

Exams can be a stressful time for everyone, as can trying a new system. The Teaching Center will be able to help you. Open a ticket with the Educational Software Consulting team to meet with a consultant to help you through the process. We can meet with you both before the exam to set up Gradescope and after to help you when you upload and score the scans.

You might be surprised: those who have tried it already have been enthusiastic about how quick and easy it is to do on their own after the first couple of exams!

If you’re curious about the other features of Gradescope, like scanning and giving feedback on a traditional “write on the handout” exam, we can help you to explore them as well.

Some Benefits of Gradescope Bubble Sheet Exams

Here are some of the reasons you might consider using the Gradescope bubble sheet system:

  • Integrates with Canvas to post your grades without working with spreadsheets or manual grade entry.
  • Control the entire process of the exam yourself, at your own pace.
    • Print the required number of blanks yourself on plain letter paper.
    • Scan at any scanner available to you, including most departmental copiers.
    • Create and revise the answer key on your own computer, with instant re-scoring or partial credit.
    • Once the bubble sheets are scanned, (optionally) return them digitally without a need to hand them back in class or office hours.
    • Potentially faster turn-around at busier times of the year (no bottle-necks at one scanning site).
  • Score multiple versions (up to 5) of an exam as a single assignment.
  • Easily add or replace submissions for student accommodations or re-takes.
  • Students just write their name and ID (no need to fill in bubbles for them).
    The top of the Gradescope bubble sheet template showing that the student name and ID are free-write boxes.
  • Works well with a wide variety of mark types and writing implements. (No #2 pencil requirement.)
  • If the system is ever unsure about a result, it will prompt you after scoring to review any uncertainties. The below screenshot shows some examples of marks that Gradescope correctly scored automatically, but asked for instructor confirmation because it was not certain.
    Screenshot of the review uncertain marks panel.
  • You retain direct access to the original scans of the student submissions, without risk of a student making additional marks during review (should you choose to keep or return the paper physically rather than online.)


Process Overview

While steps 1 and 2 can be done after you have given the exam, we recommend doing it before to make sure you have sufficient time to work out any issues that may come up.

  1. Set up Gradescope if you have not already.
    1. Enable Gradescope in your Canvas course.
    2. Create and link your Gradescope course.
    3. Tell Gradescope to import your roster from Canvas.
  2. Create the assignment.
    1. Create the assignment in Canvas and give it the proper point value (submission type: no submission or external tool). You do not need to provide any directions or upload the exam questions now.
    2. Create the assignment in Gradescope and link it to the Canvas assignment.
    3. Enter your answer key(s) in Gradescope.
  3. Print the Gradescope bubble sheet template (find in page “200”). You must use this template and not the pre-printed forms for the Apperson system.
    1. Do not edit the template.
    2. Print just the first page (for up to 100 questions) or both pages (for 101-200 questions).
    3. Do not make photocopies of this document; directly print the number required.
    4. Print at 100% scaling (do not shrink or enlarge).
    5. Note: While paper of different colors have been tested and work with Gradescope, the vendor reports that certain paper and pen color combinations sometimes cause automatic issues with scoring (e.g., light blue ink on blue paper). Encourage your students to avoid this, or use other colors. You will still be able to use Gradescope if this happens. It will prompt you to validate any marks it cannot clearly identify.
  4. Administer the exam.
  5. Scan your bubble sheets. (Just the bubble sheets.)
    1. It is not necessary to separate the exam versions when scanning. You may scan all submissions into one document. It is safe to scan separately as well.
    2. Scan in full color, not grayscale or black and white.
    3. Most copiers on campus allow you to scan to USB or email. Most also allow you to put in a whole stack of pages to scan at once.
    4. If you are not sure where to find a scanner, talk to your area or department’s administrative officer.
    5. For help using the scanners, please contact Pitt IT. The most common copiers on campus are documented on the Pitt IT web site. Search for “scan”.
  6. Complete the grading in Gradescope.
    1. Upload the PDF(s) of your scanned bubble sheets to Gradescope.
    2. Wait while it processes.
    3. Follow the prompts on-screen to review: Did all names match the roster? Are there any uncertain responses to confirm?
  7. Optionally: Post scores to Canvas and/or publish feedback in Gradescope.

Additional Notes

  • All the standard Gradescope features are available with these assignments but are outside the scope of this document:
    • Statistics, including reliability and per-item discrimination score.
    • Question tagging for deeper statistics.
    • Assignment regrade requests.
    • Downloading grades or submissions.
  • Gradescope can allow students to submit bubble sheet assignments directly. You might optionally ask them to bring their phone to submit themselves as they hand it in, allowing you to skip scanning later. While this is an option, it is generally not recommended, and especially is not recommended unless the students have been uploading to Gradescope consistently for low-stakes assignments.
  • You can use Gradescope without using Canvas. Sign in with Pitt SSO from, create your course, and upload a CSV file of your roster.
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