How does Gradescope work?

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How does Gradescope work?

In: Technology
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Please elaborate on the question.

Basically, you turn in a PDF, and then the website stores it so that a grader can look at it later

The idea is that for certain types of questions, like multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions, there is a single specific correct answer and possibly a limited number of other answers that would earn partial credit. So it would save a lot of effort if the computer could automatically group together responses that look similar. Then the instructor could just glance over all of the automatically-generated groups, verify that all of the responses are the same within each group, and specify what grade the whole group should receive.

For multiple choice questions, the instructor draws boxes (via Gradescope) on a blank reference exam around the bubble areas that students would mark. Gradescope would then try to align each student exam image with the reference exam and try to figure out which bubble(s) the student marked. All of the responses that marked the same bubble(s) are grouped together. This is basically just a fancier way to do Scantrons.

For fill-in-the-blank questions, the instructor marks on a blank reference exam where the student would write the answer. Gradescope finds that area on each student paper and tries to recognize the text that was written using [OCR](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_character_recognition). All of the responses that seem to be the same text are grouped together.

I’ve used these features as a course TA and to be honest, I find them pretty underwhelming. Gradescope frequently puts stuff in the wrong group requiring manual correction, and any answer that it isn’t “confident” about (which could be many of them) also needs to be manually assigned to a group. And these features only work for multiple choice and very short (1-2 word) fill-in-the-blank questions; it cannot group longer freeform responses. So most questions still need to be graded fully manually; Gradescope just makes it easier for instructors to maintain a consistent grading rubric and saves having to scroll through each submission to find where an answer is located (which actually saves quite a bit of time).