Bubble sheet fans have new option this fall

With Scantron Bubble Sheets sunsetting after the summer session, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) has created several resources and is hosting learning opportunities for instructors to experience Gradescope, a Canvas-integrated assessment feedback platform that includes automated bubble sheet scoring.

Learning opportunity

CELT will host a virtual Gradescope user panel on April 4 (11 a.m.-noon).

Gradescope enables instructors to administer, grade and provide students feedback on pen-and-paper, bubble sheet and computer programming assignments. The switch to Gradescope bubble sheets will impact about 150 instructors who had student answer sheets from nearly 1,300 tests scanned during the 2021-22 academic year.

"Information technology services is transitioning to Gradescope. It wanted an assessment product that is more robust for campus and is excellent for instructors who require handwritten work and bubble sheet users," said Lori Mickle, CELT instructional technology specialist.

Supply chain management assistant professor Rob Overstreet made the switch to Gradescope to administer a final exam for the fall semester that used the bubble sheet function. He continues to use it for a pair of courses this spring because of ease of use and time savings.

"I am able to build the answer keys in a few minutes and by the time I scan the sheets, email them to myself and walk to my office, they are waiting for me in Canvas," he said. "Previously, I would have to collect all my forms, walk it over to the library, sign them in with the answer keys and wait up to five days to get the grades back."

The bubble reader is so efficient, Overstreet can collect the assessments, grade the sheets and post grades in about 15 minutes. It also allows instructors to provide feedback on bubble sheet assessments.

Written work also can be scanned and uploaded to Gradescope, where instructors digitally grade it. Although students can submit written work digitally using Canvas, instructors must upload each manually one at a time. Grading is easier and faster through grading guides the instructor creates beforehand or in real time, which can be changed and applied, and submissions can be grouped to provide fast and effective responses. Gradescope also allows multiple graders to work at the same time.

CELT instructional technology specialist Sonya Nichols said more than 6,000 submissions have been made through Gradescope this semester. 

Mickle said the response from the fall semester pilot of Gradescope was "overwhelmingly positive" from disciplines across campus.


Nichols said Gradescope makes grading and feedback easier and less time consuming for instructors in multiple ways:

  • Provides targeted and specific student feedback
  • Applies retroactive scoring adjustments to all submissions
  • Grades late submissions automatically
  • Recognizes and grades bubble sheet forms that are damaged, bent or folded
  • Keeps digital records to lessen paper records

Help available

CELT has a Gradescope resource page with more information about the app and a training course to help instructors link it with Canvas.

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Gradescope test pilot open to all instructors this fall, Sept. 22, 2022