Grading a Handwritten Assignment

Learn how to review and grade handwritten assignments.

In this guide:

Grading Dashboard

When you're ready to start grading, the Grading Dashboard will list all the questions of the assignment and the grading progress for each question. If you're ready to start grading, you can select a question link or select the start grading button in the bottom right.

Column Description
Question The questions of the assignment that were added in the Questions Editor. Questions are listed in the chronological order. You can select the question link to view or start grading the question and its submissions.
Grading Method The method chosen to grade student answers for a question. You can set and edit the grading method in the Assignment Settings or in the Questions setup.  
Auto Grouping Progress The status of the answer grouping process for a question. During this process, similar student answers are detected and grouped together for review and grading. This only applies to questions that have the grading method set to Grade Answer Groups.
Points The total points possible for a question. You can edit the points anytime in the Questions Editor.
Grading Progress Shows the grading progress that’s been done for a question.The progress is tracked by percentage out of 100%.
Graded By Lists any graders that have worked on grading for the question.
Submissions Use the view link to see a list of all submitted answers either from each student or from each answer group (if question has answer groups) for the question.

Scoring Criteria, Point Adjustments, and Scoring Settings

Handwritten assignments are graded question by question and not by individual student submission. Learn how to create a grading checklist, scoring criteria, make submission or group point adjustments, and change the default scoring settings. 

Scoring Criteria, Point Adjustments, and Scoring Settings

Scoring Criteria, Point Adjustments, and Scoring Settings

Grading with Scoring Criteria

When grading each question, you will make a list of scoring criteria or items as you are grading. Scoring items allow you to grade quickly and consistently, applying the same set of feedback to every submission. You can apply one or multiple scoring criteria when grading. For each question, you’ll need to create a new set of scoring criteria to use in your grading checklist.

Formatting Scoring Criteria

You can use LaTeX to add math symbols in scoring items, comments, text annotations, answer group names, and regrade requests. For more information and a full list of functions, visit KaTeX’s documentation.

Creating and applying scoring criteria

When you get to the grading page, there are some auto populated scoring criteria to help you get started. You can edit or delete this scoring criteria as needed as well as create as many new ones as you desire. 

  1. To start grading the question, select Add Scoring Criteria. A scoring item will be listed and numbered chronologically as it appears in the grading list).
  2. Enter the Points and a Description.

At least one scoring criteria must be applied for the question to be considered graded. You can select and apply as many scoring criteria as you’d like for each submission as long as the score remains within the scoring bounds or the scoring bounds are removed.

  1. To reorder a scoring criteria, drag and drop the item where you want it.
  2. To apply a scoring criteria to a submission, select the checkbox next to the score.
  3. To make an edit to the score on one submission you will have two options depending on whether you’re grading answer groups or individual answers:
    1. For grading individual answers, use the Point Adjustment field in the side panel.
    2. For grading answer groups, go to the Review Grades page, locate the student’s submission, and select Adjust Score or the pencil icon next to their score. You will be able to make Submission Specific Adjustment.
  4. To edit the points or description of a single scoring criteria, you can make the desired changes. 

Editing the points of a scoring criteria will automatically update all previously graded submissions where this score has been applied. If you want to make an edit to just one student’s submission and not affect any other graded submissions, we recommend using the applicable option in step 5.

  1. To move to the next submission for the same question, select Next Ungraded

Moving to the next ungraded submission avoids more than one staff member grading the same submission at the same time. If another staff member is currently grading a submission, you will see a grading in progress alert and the submission will be temporarily locked until they finish reviewing or grading it.

  1. To move to the next submission, whether graded or ungraded, select Next.
  2. To go back to the previous submission, whether graded or ungraded, select Previous.

Creating and applying a Scoring Group

Scoring Groups allow for your grading criteria to be organized and structured in a variety of ways. You can batch similar scoring criteria together, provide more qualitative feedback on a sliding scale, easily grade multipart questions at once, and better communicate how points are awarded or taken off by providing more specific scoring criteria.

  1. To create a scoring group, select Add Scoring Group.
  2. Once created, you can give a description for the group and create sub-items. 
  3. To add a sub scoring criteria to a scoring group, select Add item to group to group.

Here is an example of grading a question with a scoring group (with a positive scoring method):

Question: What is the integral of x?  

Answer: ½ x2 + C 

Scoring Group Points: 3

Scoring Group Description: The answer has included all necessary parts of the equation and is correct. You can use this group option to apply the full 3 points. 

Scoring Item A - Description: The coefficient is missing. Points: 1.5 

Scoring Item B - Description: The constant is missing. Points: 1

Scoring Item C - Description: Both the constant and the coefficient are missing.  Points: 1

If you are using a negative scoring method, the group would have negative point values instead of positive values for the scoring items in this example.

  1. You can drag existing scoring items in and out of a scoring group.
  2. You can expand or collapse the scoring group by selecting the arrow in the top-left corner.

Submission or Group Adjustments

Submission Specific Adjustments

While you’re grading a question with an Individual grading method or ungrouped answers, you can use a Submission Specific Adjustment to change the score on one student’s answer.

Any newly applied points will be added or subtracted to the student’s original score for the question, and can’t exceed the scoring bounds, or they won’t be applied. If the points would cause the total score to go outside the allowed scoring bounds, you can edit the ceiling or floor scoring bounds setting anytime in the Scoring Settings. 

We recommend adding or subtracting points for a student’s answer via a submission specific adjustment instead of editing an existing scoring criteria because doing the latter will retroactively modify the score on every submission where the scoring criteria was previously applied. 

Group Specific Adjustments

While you’re a question with answer groups, you can use a Group Specific Adjustment to add or subtract points to the total score of one answer group and not have it affect every other answer group in the question. This is useful to apply things like bonus points or extra credit to a specific group. When you make a group adjustment change, it applies to every submission in the answer group. 

Any newly applied points will be applied to the total score and can’t exceed the scoring bounds, or they won’t be applied. If they do, you can edit the ceiling or floor scoring bounds anytime in the Scoring Settings.

We recommend adding or subtracting points from an answer group via a group adjustment instead of editing an existing scoring criteria because doing the latter will retroactively modify the score wherever the scoring criteria was previously applied. 

Using the Scoring Settings

With Scoring Settings, you can set defaults for the scoring method and scoring bounds you want to use for grading each question. 

Positive and Negative scoring

  • Positive Scoring (the default scoring method) means that scoring criteria defaults to adding points, starting from 0 for that question.
    • For example, for a question that is worth 3 points the scoring criteria would look like the following:
      • Correct - add 3 points. Final score: 3/3
      • Partially correct - add 1.5 points. Final score 1.5/3
      • Incorrect - keep the student’s score at 0 and no need to apply points. Final score 0/3
  • Negative Scoring means that the scoring criteria defaults to subtracting points from the total points available for that question. 
    • For example, for a question is worth 3 points the scoring criteria would look like the following:
      • Correct - keep the student’s score at 3 points and no need to apply points. Final score 3/3
      • Partially correct - subtract 1.5 points from the total score. Final score 1.5/3
      • Incorrect - subtract 3 points from the total score. Final score 0/3

Regardless of the scoring method, you can apply positive or negative values by changing the sign before the point value to a minus sign (-) or to a plus sign (+).

Scoring Bounds

  • Ceiling - imposes a ceiling or maximum point amount to prevent scores greater than 100%. 
  • Floor - imposes a floor or minimum point amount to prevent scores less than 0%. 

These are both enabled by default so that you don’t apply points or a total score that is out of bounds, but you can disable them for extra credit questions, late penalties, or other situations where you don’t want the default behavior.

Changing the scoring settings

  1. In the grading side panel, select Scoring Settings. The Scoring Settings modal will open. In the modal, you can change:
    • Total Score - set the total points possible for this question.
    • Scoring Method - positive or negative. 
      1. Positive scoring - add points starting from zero. 
      2. Negative scoring - subtract points from the total points.
    • Scoring Bounds - Ceiling or Floor
      1. Ceiling - set a ceiling or maximum point amount to prevent scores greater than 100%. 
      2. Floor - set a floor or minimum point amount to prevent scores less than 0%. 

By default, the Ceiling and Floor scoring bounds are both enabled. You can change this setting anytime in Scoring Settings.

Grading with Annotations and Feedback 

Create a comment or annotation

  1. Select anywhere on the submission page to create a comment or annotation. This will open the comment tool. 
  2. You can:
    1. Enter a comment and change the size of the text.
    2. Change the color of the text to Blue, Green, or Pink.
    3. Delete the comment with the red trash icon.
  3. To edit a comment, select on the text.
  4. Your comment is automatically saved when you click away from the comment tool.

If you apply annotation or comment to one submission when grading answer groups, it will be applied and appear on all submissions in the answer group. To make a comment or annotation on one submission, go to the Review Grades page, and open a specific student's submission to do so. 

Submission Navigation 

Submission View

In the Submission View, you have various options that let you navigate the submission.

In the top left, you can choose between two views: the full page view and the question-only view. The Question Only view allows you to change your view to the specific question regions that you set up during the Questions step. The Full Page view allows you to see the whole page of the submission.

In the bottom-left corner of the page, select the page counter to navigate between and jump to other pages of the submission. You can also rotate, zoom in, or zoom out on the current page.


Learn how to grade questions with the Individual and Answer Groups grading methods as well as grade questions with ungrouped answers.

Grading Questions with an Individual Grading Method

Grading Questions with an Individual Grading Method

  1. From the Grading Dashboard, select a question that has the grading method set to Individual. You are immediately taken to the grading page o begin grading. 
  2. To create a list of scoring criteria for grading:
    • Select Add Scoring Criteria. Each scoring criteria will be given a number in the order they were created. 
    • Add the Points.
    • Add a Description of the scoring criteria.
  3. Repeat step 2 to create as many scoring items as you need for grading the question.
  4. Once you have scoring items, you can select the checkbox next to scoring criteria you want to apply to the answer. This submission is now graded and the student's score should be updated.
  5. Select Next to move to the next submission irrespective of whether it’s been graded.
  6. Select Next Ungraded to move to the next ungraded submission.
  7. Save Changes
Grading Questions with Answer Groups

Grading Questions with Answer Groups

Using Answer Groups Dashboard

For the questions you’ve chosen to grade with answer groups, there are two parts involved in the grading process: 1) Reviewing and confirming the answer groups and then 2) Grading Answer Groups

From the Answer Groups Dashboard, you will see all the suggested groups you need to review, an answer preview for a group, the group name, how many student answers are in a group, as well as status indicators that let you know if the answers need to be reviewed for grading or if they are ready for grading.

Answer Groups Summary Description
Total Groups The total number of suggested Answer Groups that need to be reviewed. 
Total Answers The total number of answers submitted to this question. 
Groups Reviewed The amount of answers groups of the total groups that have been reviewed.
Ungrouped Answers The total number of answers that aren’t in an existing answer group. 
  • Edit an answer group name, locate the answer group, and choose Edit Group Name. Enter a new name in the field. 
  • Merge Answer Groups -  select the relevant answer groups, and select Merge Groups. Select the group you want the answers to merge into and select Merge Groups.
  • Ungroup Answers & Delete Group - To ungroup the answers from the answer group, select the dotted menu and choose Ungroup.

If you ungroup answers and delete the answer group, this will only delete the group that contains all the answers; the answers within it will not be deleted. All answers will be moved into Ungrouped Answers and will need to be graded individually or one at a time.

  • Reset Answer Groups - Deletes all existing answer groups and forms new answer groups for you to review.

Once you’ve reset answer groups, any previously graded submissions within the original answers groups will maintain their scores and be moved to Ungrouped Answers

  • Start Reviewing - You are taken to review the next unreviewed Answer Group.
  • Continue to Grading - You are taken directly to grading each question and their answers. 

If you haven’t confirmed all answer groups or ungrouped answers, you will be asked if you want to continue grading or go back and review answer groups before grading.

What happens if I want to make question changes after I start grading? If you make any changes to a question for the type and grading method the following applies:

  • Unconfirmed groups will be deleted for that question in the course of re-processing.
  • Confirmed groups will remain intact.
  • Any previously graded submissions for a question will retain their grade.
  • Any ungraded or newly uploaded submissions will be graded with the newly applied question type and grading method.

Part 1: Reviewing and Confirming Answer Groups

If you selected Multiple Choice, Math Fill-in-the-blank, or Text Fill-in-the-blank as your question type, Paper to Digital’s AI will search through your students’ submissions, detect similar answers, and group them by like answers.

The first step in the grading answer groups workflow is reviewing and confirming the suggested groups. 

To review and confirm an Answer Group:

  1. To review an answer group, locate the group, and select Review Answers. You will be taken into the group to review and confirm the answers in it.
  2. In the answer group, go to the Needs Review tab and make sure each answer is correctly placed in this group. 
  3. To move answers, select the answer(s), and then select Move to or drag and drop them to another Answer Group in the side panel. 
    1. If you selected Move to, you’ll need to choose an Answer Group from the list, and then select Move Answers.

      Answer Groups are referenced by their number and not by their name. Keep note of which answer group has what Group number for easier moving. 

  4. To remove answers from the answer group, select the answer(s) and then select Ungroup. Select Ungroup from the confirmation modal.

Any answers removed from the group via ungroup will be moved to Ungrouped Answers.

  1. If all of the answers within the group look the same, select Confirm All Answers.
  2. To create a new answer group:
    1. Expand the Answer Groups side panel. 
    2. Select Create Group.
    3. Enter a Group Name and select Create Group, in the Create Answer Group modal.
  3. To mark an answer group as reviewed and ready for grading, select Confirm All Answers. Once confirmed, all reviewed answers are automatically moved to the Reviewed column.
  4. To review the next Answer Group, select Next Group.
  5. Repeat this process until all answer groups have been reviewed. If you realize you made a mistake, you can go back and re-review a group by selecting the Answer Groups link or Back to Answer Groups button at any time.

 Part 2: Grading Answer Groups 

  1. Once you are done reviewing answer groups, select Continue to Grading to start grading all answer groups, or Grade group to grade a specific group.
  2. From the grading page, create your grading checklist and scoring criteria for the question, and select to apply one or multiple.
  3. To go to the next group, select Next Ungraded. You will be taken to your next ungraded answer group (or to the next ungrouped submission if all groups have been graded). 

Any comments or annotations you make when grading an answer group will automatically and universally apply to all student submissions in the group. For this reason, you might not want to use these tools when grading answer groups.

If you want to leave feedback or comment for just one submission in an answer group, go to the View Submissions page, open the student’s submission, and make your desired feedback changes.

Grading Questions with Ungrouped Answers

Grading Ungrouped Answers

Answers are categorized as ungrouped because they either weren’t found to be similar to any other answers and couldn’t be grouped by our AI, or because you selected Other for your question type. 

Once you’re done reviewing suggested groups (if there were suggested answer groups to review), you will need to review Ungrouped Answers before grading them.

  1. From the answer group dashboard, locate the Ungrouped Answers, and select Review Ungrouped. 
  2. Go to the Needs Review tab and review the answers.  
  3. If you want to move any answers into groups you can either create a new group or move them to an existing group:
    1. You can create a new group at any time by selecting Create Group from the side panel and then add in the answers or drag them into the new group.
    2. You can move any answers into an existing answer group by selecting Move to or dragging them to a group in the side panel.
  4. If you want to keep the answers as ungrouped and grade each answer one by one and not grade them in an answer group, select Confirm Ungrouped.

If there are suggested answer groups, you will grade ungrouped answers only after you have graded all of the answer groups.

Reviewing and Publishing Grades

When you're finished grading, you can review grades, adjust a student's score, publish or export grades.

Reviewing Grades

Reviewing Grades

The Review Grades page has an overview of student submissions, their grades, and grading statuses. You can view, edit, publish, and export grades or download a student submission as a PDF. 

Column Description
Student Name The first and last name of the student as it is recorded in the course roster.
Email The student’s email as it is recorded in the course roster
Score The final score of the graded student submission out of the total score of the assignment.
Status The grading status of the student submission. 
  • No Submission - There is no uploaded submission for the student.
  • Not Graded - The student’s submission hasn’t been fully graded or is only partially graded.
  • Graded - The student’s submission has been fully graded.
  • Published - The students submission grade has been published and made available to the student via their TFS or their LMS account.
Published The date and time the student’s grade has been published and made available to the LMS or TFS.
Viewed The date and time a student has viewed their graded submission. 


Viewing Graded Submissions

  • To view a student’s graded submission, select a student’s name.

This is mostly the same view that the student will see once you publish grades, with the possible exception of hidden scoring items. 

Adjusting the score or feedback on one submission

Sometimes you want to give local, individual feedback to only one submission (e.g., you want to give one student a point adjustment for an entire assignment, extra credit or bonus points). You can do this with Submission Specific Adjustments, which allow you to add or subtract points as well as provide specific comments to a student’s submission. 

  1. Go to the Review Grades page and change the points in the Score column. 
  2. Find the student, and select edit next to their Score. This will open the Submission Adjustment modal.
  3. Edit the Score Adjustment or Comments and then Save Changes.

When you make a Score Adjustment, the points you enter are added or subtracted from the student’s original score on the assignment. 

  1. You will need to republish grades when there are any changes to a score and a student’s original score has been already published. 
Publishing Grades

Publishing Grades

On the Review Grades page, you can publish and unpublish student grades. In order for students to be able to see their grades, grades must be published. 

  1. To publish, select Publish Grades. When published, the student submission status changes to Published.

You'll only be able to publish grades for submissions that have been assigned and fully graded.

Unpublishing Grades

  1. To unpublish grades, select Unpublish Grades.

Posting assignment grades to an LMS

When you publish grades, whatever LMS your institution has set up to integrate with TFS, the grades will automatically be published and synced to your LMS gradebook.

Downloading and Exporting Grades

Downloading Submissions

  1. To download a PDF copy of a student submission, go to the Review Grades page, and select Download. 
  2. Select whether you would like to download the original or graded submission. If you download the graded submission, the grading criteria will appear on the first page of the downloaded PDF.

Exporting Grades

  1. To export student grades as CSV file, go to the Review Grades page, and select Export Grades.
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