Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Grading Cheats- How to grade multiple choice quickly

This is not going to talk about essays or short answer tests. It also won't discuss the online versions (which are great!). This is just a quick blog on how to quickly grade multiple choice tests.

I make little Quick Quizzes for the beginning of class. Sometimes they are creative  but often they are just really easy multiple choice tests that see if they did the required reading or understood the grammar of the last class. Since the point is just to test recall, I don't feel too guilty about making it multiple choice.

Even though these quizzes are super fast for them, they take me a while to grade. That's what this blog is about. Quick ways to grade these, "Quick Quizzes."

1. Make all of the answers the same. 
I don't do this often, but occasionally I make it so all the answers are A, or B. This way I can tell by a quick glance if students got them right or not. (Note: I usually have two versions of the quiz, so one the answers would be A and the other C). As a bonus students learn that they should trust their instinct and not change an answer just to make the pattern nice.

2. Make a pattern
Again, not very creative, but make your answers follow a pattern: ABCDC. This way you can tell quickly if a student got the questions right or wrong.

3. Use an overhead transparency 
Make a copy of the quiz with the correct answers bubbled in or circled onto an overhead transparency (alternatively place a transparency over the quiz and mark the correct answers). Lay the transparency over the students' quizzes and see if their answers still show. If they do that means their answers are incorrect. Personally, this method drives me crazy!

4. Hole puncher
Again, using your own copy as an answer key take a hole puncher and punch the correct answers. Hold this over the student's quiz and highlight the holes. Remove the paper and see if they have any answers not highlighted. If their answer is not highlighted, it is incorrect.

5. Quick Key
If you are fortunate enough to have an iPhone or an iPad you can use a free app called "Quick Key" Essentially you let quick key see the answers and it grades your students quizzes (also submitting it to your electronic grade book if available). I am very sad this isn't available for Android yet. If you are sad too you can contribute to the kickstarter campaign or just let them know that you would be interested (by going to the kickstarter link and voting in the survey they have there).

So there we go five quick ways to grade quizzes in class. Another great way is to get students to grade a partner's paper. I don't do this unless the students ID number (not name) is on the quiz and it is 100% confidential (no one would know who had graded their or whose they were grading). I don't use this much as I would rather use my time to grade than use the time of students in class.

What do you think? Any other quickies I missed?

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to create an exam and let the computer shuffle the answers randomly. How about writing the answers on each test itself as an encoded message. For example, if the answers to a specific exam are ABCD, we can write on the test itself "4379" which is 1234+3145, thus in this case the secret key is 3145. The secret key would be the same for all exams and in order to know the correct answers we should only subtract it from the number written on each exam.


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