Zip-a-dee-doo-dah! ZipGrade – Scantron Scanner
Type of Technology: Cloud-based iOS and Android grading app for teachers
SAMR Model Rating: Modification/Augmentation, dependent on classroom applications
Grade Level: Any and all
Subject Area: Any and all
Cost: Free download (100 scans per month) or unlimited scanning for $6.99/year
Description: ZipGrade is a “mobile device app that turns your iPhone, iPad, or Android device into an optical scanner for grading paper multiple-choice assessments” (ZipGrade website). This post addresses both the technology itself and how I integrate this technology into my AP World History program to help students master content. The discussion applies to any classroom and any subject.
Santa Barbara Unified School District has journeyed through various iterations of testing data/scanning/scoring programs. It used to be EduSoft. Then Illuminate. The district pulled these expensive programs, which leaves a void for those of us who want to provide ourselves and our students with more immediate feedback to adjust the learning process. Out of necessity to continue running my “rapid feedback” tutorial program, I’ve investigated two programs: GradeCam, the program that Illuminate used to score scantrons and provide analytics, and ZipGrade – a no-nonsense app that scores quizzes fast, satisfying student and teacher needs: quick feedback and ease of use. The advantages of ZipGrade outdo the others I’ve tried. ZipGrade costs a mere $7/year, and works without fail. It utilizes an iOS/Android app that lends portability, so that teachers can scan anytime and anywhere with their phones and tablets. I’m hoping that the district will consider adopting ZipGrade, funding it for all teachers.
“ZipGrade turns your phone or tablet into an optical grading machine similar to a Scantron. It reads free-to-download answer sheets in multiple sizes. Provide instant feedback to students by grading exit tickets, quizzes, and formative assessments as soon as they finish.” (ZipGrade website)
ZipGrade is a teacher-friendly and easy to learn. After establishing a free account, the first step is to load your class rosters, including student names and ID numbers. This can be accomplished uploading a .csv file from Excel or Sheets. Once in, you can create a quiz, choosing between a 20- or 50- question scantron. The 20-question scantron does not include a place for students to record an ID number, but the 50-question scantron does, if that is of concern to you. Scantrons are downloadable and printable. There’s an option to fit two-20-question scantrons on one 8.5×11 inch sheet of paper, which economizes. Students mark their answers, and they’re ready for scanning by any device. Once scanned, you immediately see scores and can determine which items students missed by clicking on a students paper. ZipGrade records and saves a picture of the students’ papers. You also have the option of reviewing reports of the analytics to gauge where your class needs to review.
Screenshots: This is what I see when I login and create a quiz.
- Do Now’s – check for understanding
- Vocabulary or quick concept checks
- Exit Tickets
- Quizzes and Tests
- “Rapid feedback loops” – collaborative student tutorials*
Rapid Feedback Loop:
Each week, my AP World History students take a “Tuesday Teaser,” a 15-point, multiple choice “pretest” to gauge their comprehension of their assigned reading. Those scoring 80% on that initial test are rewarded for their preparation by not having take the multiple-choice portion of their “Friday Assessment,” comprised of the same questions in scrambled order. On Wednesdays or Thursdays, students, knowing their scores but not which items they missed, are invited to a lunch-time tutorial in which they form collaborative circles with no more than 3 of their peers and textbooks, and no electronic devices. They retake the “Tuesday Teaser,” investigating the rationale for the right and wrong answers in conversation with each other and their textbook author. Each member can have their scantron scored one time. With that feedback they return to their group to renegotiate their answers, the purpose being mastering the content. What ensues are often animated conversations, where students point to text and defend their answers, both enlivening and demonstrating the learning process in action. This investigation prepares them to re-read the text, increase their command of the content, as well as their score on the graded “Friday Assessment.” This is referred to as a “rapid feedback loop,” supported by educational research.* ZipGrade is essential to this rapid feedback and learning. Beats scoring scantrons by hand, hands down. In this case, technology directly and efficiently facilitates the learning process.
* A recent Hanover Research report suggested that “peer collaboration and ‘rapid feedback loops’ promote deeper thinking skills and better understanding… Google Apps for Education include popular cloud-based applications that allow for easy collaboration, facilitating group work, student-teacher interactions, and peer feedback” (Hanover Research “examines best practices in integrating technology in the classroom, with a specific focus on frameworks to guide integration and applications to promote higher-level and critical thinking”).