Grading software or marking software for teachers

This article reviews several grading software or marking software packages which can be used to mark assignments or grade papers. Most of the packages have advantages and disadvantages (highlighted in fuchsia).

This review focuses on grading software for teachers which an individual teacher can install on their computer without needing to buy an institutional site license or integrate the software into the Learning Management System or install software on a web server.

People may also want to refer to these guides:

1. Word Add-ins, Toolbars or Macros

eMarking Assistant

  • Website: http://emarkingassistant.com/emarking-assistant/
  • Type: Word addin that adds a floating toolbar to Word
  • More information and demo video: http://emarkingassistant.com/emarking-assistant/
  •  Features:
    • allows user to easily  create, rate, and insert comments containing text, images, tables, formatting, links
    • comes with several comment banks e.g. APA style comment banks, academic writing comment bank
    • can contain unlimited comments
    • create, save and use eRubrics which automatically rescale, total marks and convert the mark to percentages, weighted marks and grades
    • other tools allow you to highlight a phrase and do a good search or highlight the phrase throughout the assignment
    • can be used to grade a paper based or presentation by writing numbers on the paper and inserting comments into a feedback document
  • Requires:
    • Windows Office 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010 or 2013 (32 bit or 64 bit)
    • no Macintosh version of eMarking Assistant
    • Rubric-O-Matic has only the rubric component and works on Windows or Macintosh
  • Cost:

Rubric-O-Matic (was eRubric Assistant)

  • Website: http://emarkingassistant.com/rubric-o-matic/
  • Type: Word addin that adds a floating toolbar to Word
  • More information and demo video: http://emarkingassistant.com/rubric-o-matic/
  • Features:
    • create, save and use eRubrics which automatically rescale, total marks and convert the mark to percentages, weighted marks and grades
    • other tools allow you to highlight a phrase and do a good search or highlight the phrase throughout the assignment
    • can be used to grade a paper based or presentation by writing numbers on the paper and inserting comments into a feedback document
  • Requires:
    • Windows Office 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 (32 bit or 64 bit), 2016 (32 bit or 64 bit), or Office 3656
    • Macintosh Office 2004, 2011 and 2016 or Office 365
  • Cost:
    • free

T.A. Toolbar

  • Website: http://tatoolbar.com/
  • Type: Word addin that adds a ribbon to Word
  • Demo: http://tatoolbar.com/about-2 no longer working
  • Features
    • Allows you to insert comments into a word document by clicking a button
    • User can add more comments
    • comments can only include text (no images, links, audio, tables, formatting)
  • Requires:
    • Microsoft Word 2003, 2007, and 201
    • Microsoft Window XP, Vista, and Windows 7
    • You must have administration rights on your computer to install it
  • Cost: $USD 149.95

Gradeassist

  • Website: http://www.pappasvolk.com/gradeassist/
  • Type: Word addin that adds a ribbon to Word
  • Features
    • allows you to insert comments into a Word document
    • Comes with preloaded with either an APA, or MLA or Turabian comment bank (each additional comment bank costs $USD 99)
    • User can add more comments
    • comments can only include text (no images, links, audio, tables, formatting)
  • Cost: $USD 99 for a 1 year license
  • Requires:
    • Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 (no Windows XP)
    • Office 2007, 2010, 2013 32-bit and 64 bit (no Office 2003)

Annotate

  • Website: http://www.11trees.com/home.html
  • Type: Word addin that adds a ribbon to Word
  • Features:
    • allows you to insert comments into Word document by clicking a button
    • comments can only include text (no images, links, audio, tables, formatting)
  • Requires:
    • Windows Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013 (no 64 bit version)
    • Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013 (no Word 2003 version)
    • Macintosh Word 2011

2. Software to create a feedback file or document

Markin

  • Type: prepare feedback document
  • Website: http://www.cict.co.uk/markin/index.php
  • Cost: approx $US40 for a single license with discount for multiuser license
  • Features:
    • Import the assignment and then insert comments into the text of the assignment by selecting existing comments or inserting new comments
    • Insert feedback at the end of the assignment
  • Availability: Windows 2000or later

Electronic Feedback

  • Type: prepare feedback document
  • Website: http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/ITHelp/software/feedback.asp
  • Cost: free by applying on the above web site
  • Features:
    • Allows you to construct a feedback file by picking comments from a comment bank in Excel
  • Availability: Windows MS Office only

CAFAS: Computer Aided Feedback and Assessment System from UniSA

Essay Grader from Gatsby’s Light

3. Software to complete rubrics

Mark-rite

  • Website: http://www.mark-rite.com.au/
  • Features: allows the grader to complete a rubric when observing an Objective Skills Competency Exam (OCSE) which are commonly used in Medical Education.
  • Requires: any mobile enabled mobile device

iSocrates

  • Website: http://www.isocrates.org/
  • Features:
    • create and use rubrics
    • comments from a bank of up to 25 comments can be added to the rubric
  • Availability:
    • Windows (no Win 7 or 8 version)
    • Macintosh
    • $AUD110

EssayTagger

EssayTagger is a web-based application which individual teachers can license and use. to insert comments and rubrics.

  • Website: http://essaytagger.com
  • Features:
    • Student or teacher can upload the assignment
    • Teacher can insert rubrics into the assignment and add a comment to the rubric
    • can add other comments
    • comments and marks are stored on their server to they can give you an analytic report
    • Student can retrieve the file from the system or you can send it to them
    • Assignment cannot contain images or formatting and only text
    • need to be online to use it
    • comments can contain only text (no links, images, tables, formatting
  • Availability:
    • Software as a service
    • $20.00 per teacher per month

4. Grading systems that allow you to record audio or a screen recording

These systems either record audio or the screen as you are marking the assignment.

Jing or Camtasia or other screen recording software

  • Allows you to record audio and a screen recording and then stored the resulting video file with a password so only the student can retrieve it when you send them the link and the password

Sounds good or Audacity or other audio recording software

5. PDF Annotation tools

This type of software is a digital version writing comments on the paper using a red pen or perhaps adding stamps or text comments. Not reviewed further as these systems are simply a digital red pen and they do not allow efficiencies such as reusable comments or additional features of the computer. Examples of this type of software include

  • Adobe Acrobat: Windows or Macintosh

Some PDF annotation systems also allow other feature e.,g.

  • RemarksPDF allows typing comments and reusable comments
  • iAnnotate (iPad) allows voice comments

ReMarksPDF

RemarksPDF is a PDF annotation tool that also allows you to create and store reusable comments

  • Website: http://remarkspdf.com
  • Features:
    • draw over a PDF document
    • insert text comments into a PDF document
    • text comments can contain only text (no links, images, tables, formatting)
  • Availability:
    • Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 (no Windows 8 version)
    • Mac OS X 10.4 of later
    • iPad (no Android version)
    • $AUD 25.00 per license for a one year license

PDF XChange Viewer (Windows only)

Despite being called a viewer this application includes very capable tools for annotating and editing PDF documents. This includes inking, drawing, typing stamps and other annotation tools. In addition you can split and merge PDFs.  And is is free for Private, Commercial, Government and all other uses as long as it the software is not distributed for profit.

  • Website: http://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-viewer
  • Features:
    • draw over a PDF document
    • insert text comments into a PDF document
    • text comments can contain only text (no links, images, tables, formatting)
  • Availability:
    • Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
    • no Mac OS X 10.4 of later
    • no iPad (no Android version)
    • free

6. Tablet based tools

iAnnotate PFD

  • Website: http://www.branchfire.com/iannotate/
  • Features:
    • Allows:
      • typed text
      • pen and ink writing over the assignment
      • a highlighter
      • record audio
    • you can create a comment bank
    • you can create and store rubrics
  • Availability:
    • iPad (9.99)
    • Android

UQMarkUp

  • Website: http://uqmarkup.ceit.uq.edu.au/blog/about-uqmarkup/
  • Features:
    • Allows:
      • typed text
      • pen and ink writing over the assignment
      • a highlighter
      • record audio
    • you can create a comment bank
    • you can create and store rubrics
  • Availability:
    • iPad only
    • unclear if this is available to other universities

7. Systems that require an institutional license or to be installed on a web server

Rubrics and Marking guide within Moodle

Rubrics and marking guide are now standard components of Moodle 2.3 or higher.  get from http://flo.flinders.edu.au/mod/book/view.php?id=263709&chapterid=24175#rubric3

Grademark used within Turnitin

  • Website: http://turnitin.com/en_us/features/grademark
  • Features
    • Allows user to create, save and insert reusable text comments
    • comments can contain only text (no links, images, tables, formatting)
    • create and use marking rubrics
    • web-based system and you must be online to use it
    • you do not have access to all the features of Word when using it
  • Availability:
    • Purchased from Turnitin as an institutional license
  • Works on:
    • Windows, Macintosh, iPad

inline Grading for Assignments within Blackboard Learn

Lightwork within Moodle

Glenco Online Essay Grader from McGrawHill

8. Grading software to automatically mark or grade assignments

There is much debate about this e.g. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/science/new-test-for-computers-grading-essays-at-college-level.html

Not reviewed further as current evidence is that these systems are not as good as human markers except in certain constrained environments. Generally not relevant to individual teachers as they are generally licensed to institutions or states.

9. The following grading software and marking software is no longer available

Summary

The packages include eMarking Assistant, Grade Assist, T.A. Toolbar, GradeAssist, Annotate, Electronic Feedback, Essay Grader, iSocrates, EssayTagger, ReMarksPDF, GradeMark, and LightWork. Systems that are no longer available e.g. Writepoint, Mark My Words, and Markin are also listed. In future a grid will be added which will rate the grading software against the following features:

  1. Word add-in: is it a Word Add-in that lets you use existing Word tools (e.g. revision marks or spell checker) and is familiar to most teachers and students
  2. Reusable comment banks: can you create and use comments from a reusable comment banks. Can be any type or only text
  3. Inline comments: Can the comments be inserted inline or in the margin
  4. Feedback document comments: Can the comments be inserted at the end of assignment comments or in a new file
  5. Drawing: can you draw over the assignment or use stamps
  6. Complete a rubric: can you complete a rubric by selecting cells and calculating totals
  7. Document types: Which of the following document types can you mark Word, PDF, Excel, PowerPoint
  8. Hosted web service: is it a hosted web service that allows assignment submission and return
  9. Audio comments: can audio comments can be recorded and inserted
  10. Moodle integration: Is it standard or does it requires an installation and plugin
  11. Blackboard integration:
  12. Turnitin integration:
  13. Platform: what platform does it run on Windows, Macintosh, iPad, Android
  14. Cost: what is the cost

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