Marking an exam or homework assignment in Gradescope

Gradescope is now the School of Informatics’ default platform for marking exams and some coursework assignments.

The technology takes a much more innovative approach to marking which better aligns to the standard practices for marking paper-based exams, with some added benefits over traditional marking.

  • Horizontal marking (i.e. Mark papers by question) by default
  • Rubric based marking, with the option of dynamic edits which recalculate previously marked papers
  • Inline annotation / notes for markers

The exam spaces and initial setup is now managed by the ITO team.

Marking Submissions

You’ll find detailed help and guidance from the Gradescope Help section, but some key elements and videos have been highlighted in this article.

Horizontal Marking

The preferred marking workflow is to mark each question across all submissions, rather than marking a whole paper one submission at a time. The interface for marking is set up this way to apply your mark to the question and then proceed to the next ungraded question.

Rubric Marking

The points per question will be setup prior to the exam. The rubrics will use positive marking by default. Ahead of the exam, course organisers will have a chance to discuss with ILTS how they want their rubric initially setup for all questions. One of the key features for Gradescope is that the rubric can change and be adapted throughout the marking process with the changes being reflected in papers that have already been marked.

Making changes to the rubric can be done by any marker and could be for the following reasons:

  • Tagging responses marked in a certain way
  • Tagging responses for additional review
  • Awarding partial points based on certain criteria
  • Realising the original rubric design needed altered

Grading a Simple Question

Some tips

Students map their questions to the pages submitted

As part of the submission process students are asked to map which questions have been answered on which page of their PDFs. Some question components may be answered across multiple pages. You can check to see if there is an additional page by using the next arrow or using the “K” keyboard shortcut.

Rubric components can be scored the same and culminative

You can use rubric components for identifying features of how a question has been answered. You can award a rubric item the same points as any other rubric element. This allows you to allocate marks while identifying features of how the question was answered. You can then report on the marking breakdown by each rubric component to get a detailed understanding of how each question was answered across the cohort.

You can select more than one rubric element for each question and the score can build a running total. These settings can be customised and configured as required.

Moderation during the marking process

A suggested workflow for moderation during the marking process is as follows:

  • CO marks first sample of questions to confirm the rubric fits well
  • Markers continue to mark remaining questions
  • CO reviews rubric changes and areas for attention in stages throughout the marking process
  • Papers can be filtered based on the rubric criteria to look for anomalies
  • Standard moderation after marking can still take place

Keyboard Shortcuts

To help speed up marking Gradescope uses a number of keyboard shortcuts to apply the rubric components using the number keys, and you can traverse your stack of marking using a number of keyboard shortcuts.

An overview is available via the video below:

Grading Even Faster with Keyboard Shortcuts

Practice exam

Finally, we would like to stress the importance of running a practice exam, using Gradescope accessed via Learn. As with the real exams, the ILTS team will set these up, but you should identify a suitable timescale to run these, and ensure all students have completed this process prior to the date of their real exam.

Feature requests?

If you are interested in the development of Gradescope, you can view and contribute towards their roadmap here:


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