It improves clarity, saves time: Faculty list varied reasons for using Gradescope

Using a pencil to take a test

UC Davis faculty curious about new approaches to grading might want to read this recent post in The Wheel. In it, instructors from different fields explain why they use Gradescope, a relatively new grading app on campus. Their answers are positive and varied.

One says Gradescope’s rubrics “allow for quick, clear grading” for questions “ranging from a few sentences to a full page of writing.” Another uses the app to “evaluate and improve my exam questions and structure.”

Other faculty credit Gradescope for its ability to “manage multiple TAs and calibrate grading, save time, and streamline the grading process in very large classes.”

Previous evaluations such as these helped convince the campus to buy Gradescope licenses to cover all UC Davis faculty, effective this academic year.

The tool, which has roots at UC Berkeley, has attracted an initial set of faculty at UC Davis. At the end of fall 2019, about 75 instructors and 180 TAs at UC Davis were using the app in 115 classes that enrolled about 19,000 students. As of late January, about 70 courses were using Gradescope for winter term, so far.

Because of the tool’s potentially significant benefit to faculty, Information and Educational Technology is offering to show more instructors what Gradescope can do.

Talking with faculty

Andy Jones, a continuing lecturer in the University Writing Program and academic associate director in IET, is presenting a series of Gradescope sessions with instructors in different departments this term and next.

“We’ll demonstrate Gradescope, discuss ways UC Davis faculty are using it, and respond to questions,” Jones said. “Many faculty find this tool valuable. We want to offer all instructors a chance to evaluate it for themselves.”

Faculty who cannot attend one of the sessions have several options for learning more about the tool:

  • For an introduction, read the IT Service Catalog entry. (A webpage with more resources is in the works.)
  • For a discussion with one of IET’s faculty support instructional technologists, visit them during their office hours or schedule a consultation. See the workshops & forums page for more information.
  • To receive periodic updates, join the campus Gradescope listserv (send an email with “Subscribe Gradescope Firstname Lastname” in the subject line to sympa@ucdavis.edu), and subscribe to The Wheel academic technology blog.

Gradescope, the vendor, offers these resources with ideas and information about how to use the tool and integrate it with Canvas:

These resources might also be useful:

And to get one-to-one support assistance from the vendor, email help@gradescope.com.