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AI-Assisted Grading and Answer Groups

Answer Groups and AI-Assistance are available with an Institutional license.

In this guide:


Using Answer Groups for Grading

For fixed-template assignments, there are two features you can use to help grade multiple students' work at once:

  • Answer Groups (for all question types): the ability to form and grade answer groups, instead of individual student answers.
  • AI Assistance (for some question types): Gradescope AI automatically forms suggested answer groups for your review.

Setting Question Type

Please note that Answer Groups and AI-assisted grading are only available on fixed-template PDF assignments. They are not available on any question or answer fields in Online Assignments.

To get started, go to the Grade Submissions tab and click on a question. If you’d like to form answer groups for the question, click Form Answer Groups First. If you’d like to grade each submission individually (skip answer grouping), click Grade Individually. You can also save this setting for all other questions on the assignment by checking the “apply grading method to all other questions” box.

The first step in the Answer Groups workflow is selecting the type of question. Four question types are currently supported: Manually Grouped, Multiple Choice, Math Fill-in-the-blank, and Text Fill-in-the-blank.

Manually Grouped

This is suitable for all questions. Gradescope will simply find and group blank submissions for you. You can then manually form your own groups of answers.

Multiple Choice

Questions where students fill in bubbles or check squares. We do not currently support questions of circle-the-right-choice variety. There must be clear mark areas, and they must be clearly selected by the student (no half-filled bubbles). Students should use an ink pen to select the mark areas for maximum clarity.

Your uploaded assignment template must be completely blank; do not upload an answer key as your template. When drawing question region boxes on the assignment outline, make sure that each box only covers one question’s mark areas. The size of the question region boxes will not affect the AI’s accuracy.

Gradescope will show you the detected mark areas in blue. If the squares are not properly over the answer areas, you can click Edit Mark Regions to adjust them.

We recommend that the following types of marks are used:

Circular marks for single-select, and square marks for multi-select multiple choice questions

If you are making an assignment in LaTeX, we recommend following this LaTeX code example.

Math Fill-in-the-blank and Text Fill-in-the-blank

Gradescope AI is able to read student handwriting of English-language text and of math notation (including fractions, integral signs, etc.). The main constraint is for the student answer to be on just one line, which is most easily enforced by providing a clear box or underscored area in the assignment template, as in the two examples below. You can adjust the final answer area by clicking Final Answer Area from the question type selection page.

Examples of designated final answer areas added to the assignment template

Once you select a question type, click on “Set Question Type”.

Reviewing Suggested Groups

If you selected Multiple Choice, Math Fill-in-the-blank, or Text Fill-in-the-blank as your question type, Gradescope AI will search through your students’ submissions and group them by content. Each group will contain a minimum of two answers. The next step in the Answer Groups workflow is reviewing the suggested groups. Note that, if you edit the question region in the assignment outline, unconfirmed groups will be deleted for that question in the course of re-processing. Confirmed groups will remain.

On the Review Groups page, you will see an image of one of the responses within the group, the group name, and how many student submissions are in that group. You can edit the group name or delete the group by hovering over the group with your mouse and clicking the Rename or Delete (and Ungroup Answers) buttons.

Example answer groups generated from a sample math question

If there is a specific part of the question region that you would like to group the answers by, you can indicate the answer region by clicking Final Answer Area at the top of the page. Changing the final answer area will reprocess the submissions and update the groups.

Click on the image for your first group to review the answers in that group. If all of the answers within the group look the same, click Confirm & Review Next Group in the bottom action bar. If some answer does not belong in the group, click on it, or press the space bar while hovering over it. You can quickly navigate between answers by using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

If you find that two or more proposed groups have the same answer, you can click Merge to merge the groups. Select the groups you want to merge and then click Merge Selected in the bottom action bar.

Repeat this process until all groups have been reviewed. If you realize you made a mistake, you can go back and re-review a group by clicking View Groups in the bottom action bar, or by using the back button in your browser.

If you upload more submissions to the assignment at a later time, Gradescope AI will attempt to sort them into your existing answer groups, and you’ll need to re-confirm the groups. 

Why are student responses shown in blue? Gradescope AI compares each student submission to the original assignment template PDF (your blank exam) by overlaying the two files and extracts the differences and displays them in a blue color. Ideally, the only difference between the submission and the template should be the student's handwritten answer.


If you see more than just the student's handwriting in blue, this may indicate that the original template uploaded for this assignment doesn't exactly match the template that was used for student submissions. In this case, you can replace your template file on the Assignment Settings page (while still preserving all uploaded submissions and grading work). For more tips on improving answer grouping accuracy, check out our Formatting Guide for AI-Assisted Grading.


Manually Grouping Ungrouped Answers

Example answer groups generated from a sample math question

Once you’re done reviewing suggested groups, or if you selected “Manually Grouped” for your question type, you will be taken to the Ungrouped Answers page.

You will see the ungrouped answers on the left and a list of the groups (if any) on the right. You can create a new group at any time by clicking Create a Group in the upper right corner. Click on the Edit button below an existing group to delete the group, edit its title, or merge it with another group.

You can add ungrouped answers to a group by clicking and dragging, or by clicking on each answer and then clicking on the group. Note that you may add multiple answers to a group at a time. You can select all answers by clicking Select All in the bottom action bar.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to speed up the process of manually grouping answers. Use the N key to create a new group. Use the arrow keys to jump between ungrouped answers. Use the space bar to select or deselect an answer. Use the number key on your keyboard that corresponds to the group number to assign the answer(s) to an existing group.

When you’re done grouping, click Grade Answers in the bottom action bar. Feel free to leave some answers ungrouped: you will grade ungrouped answers individually after you have graded all of the groups.


Grading Groups

Grading interface for grading by group for a sample math question

The grading interface for grading by group is very similar to the regular grading interface, which our Grading section explains below. In this section, we explain the differences that Group Grading introduces.

On the left side of the grading interface, you will see the name of your group, the number of submissions in that group, and one sample submission. On the right side of the grading interface, you’ll see the progress bar and your rubric.

If you would like to review all the answers in the group using the grouping interface, click on the group name underneath “Grading by Group” on the left.

To grade a group, simply select the appropriate rubric items and click “Next Ungraded” (or press ‘Z’ on your keyboard). You will be taken to your next group, or to the next ungrouped submission if all groups have been graded. Note that the progress bar will change to reflect the number of individual submissions that were just graded.

Note that any comments you make in the comment box below the rubric will automatically apply to all students in the group. However, the annotation tools should not be used when grading groups, since the annotation would only apply to the sample submission that appears for the group. 


Grading Individual Submissions Within a Group

If you would like to find and grade a specific student’s submission in the group, click on the  Submissions link next to the group name. Clicking on a submission from that table will take you to the regular grading page, where you can grade each submission individually, rather than as part of a group. If you want to jump back to grading by group, just click Grade the whole group instead in the upper left section of the page.

Note that if you formed groups, submissions are presented for grading in group order, largest group first, and sorted by time of submission within a group.


Applying Regrade Requests to a Group of Submissions

If your student submits a regrade request, you have the option of applying the regrade to just that individual student (the default), or to the entire group that the student’s submission was a part of.

If you would instead like to apply the regrade to the entire group of submissions, simply open the regrade request and then click Grade the whole group instead at the top of the page. Your changes apply to all submissions in that group, except for submissions that were graded individually.

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