Online tests: how to grade them

Populi automatically grades several question types:

  • Multiple choice
  • Multiple answer
  • Put in order
  • True/false
  • Matching
  • Short answer questions for which you have entered automatic-grading options.

If you compose a test entirely of such questions, Populi will grade the whole test for you as soon as the student submits it. If you have any essay questions and/or short answers for which you've not entered any answers, those questions will be ungraded. You'll need to grade ungraded questions manually.

To see how to regrade questions in the Test > Analysis view, jump down here.

How to get to ungraded questions:

Click the alert for ungraded questions on your Populi Home page, My Courses, or the course dashboard. This takes you to the To Be Graded view in Tests:

You can also navigate straight to the Tests > To Be Graded view from within your course. If there are any ungraded questions, you'll see a number indicating such in the navigation view:

On any test, click History. Select one of the student tests by clicking the start time. Ungraded questions will be marked with :

On the test's assignment page, you can find all of a student's test attempts (and ungraded questions) on the student assignment detail view:

How to grade questions

Under each question, you'll see the answers submitted by individual students. After evaluating their answers...

  1. To score the answer, type a number of points in the field or click a percentage in the radio buttons to auto-fill the number field.
  2. To give extra credit, simply type in more points than the question is worth. You can enter up to twice the point-value of the question.
  3. Grades are auto-saved while you work.
  4. To leave comments, click Add comment. After entering the comment, click Save comment. Comments are not auto-saved!
    • As you work through student answers on the To be graded view, click Refresh in the right column to hide your graded questions and display any new questions that came through while you were working.
  5. When you're done working, just navigate elsewhere. As soon as you've graded all of a student's answers for a particular test, the test assignment is automatically graded and entered in your gradebook.

Test history

The History view for each test lets you review how each student performed on the test and gives you some other important statistics, including duration, IP address, and proctor information.

  • Click the student's name to go to his student course summary page.
  • As mentioned above, you can click a start time to look at an individual student's answers. If the student started the test after the test's due date (but still within the availability window), you'll see a badge to that effect.
  • If you see -- in the grade columns, that test has ungraded questions and so cannot be graded.
  • The IP address tells you "where" the student was when he submitted the test. By looking at IP addresses, you might find out that a student retook a test four times from four different computers, or that a group of students all took a test, one after the other, from the same computer.
  • Click the proctor's name to see his contact information. appears when the proctor did not enter the check-out code; this could indicate that something about the student's test is not above-board.
  • To delete a student's test, click . This automatically recalculates the student's final grade. If you do this on a test for which no retakes are permitted, you'll need to add an availability exception for that student if you want him to take the test again.

Test analysis

After your students have started submitting their tests, the Analysis view aggregates their answers so you can see how they performed as a group. Each question type displays all the answers given by students and the answers' distribution (except for essay questions, which show only distribution of grades). You can also see how many times students took the test and the average duration.

Here are some of the things you might find out:

  • The students more or less aced the questions from Chapter 3, but bombed the questions from Chapter 4. Looks like you'll need to review Chapter 4 with them.
  • The True/False questions are just too easy. You might consider some more challenging multiple choice or multiple answer questions.
  • Almost everyone got the 8th question wrong... because you misspelled a key term you wanted them to define.
  • The variation in the short answers reveals that your questions need to be more specific.
  • Among many other things...

If you determine that an automatically-graded question has proved too hard or too easy, you can regrade it. Here's how:

  1. Click next to the answer you'd like to regrade.
  2. Select the percentage for the New Score.
  3. Click Save to finish.

After you regrade a question, Populi will recalculate test scores for all affected students.

Was this article helpful?
3 out of 4 found this helpful
Submit a request


  • 6
    Tyler Juell

    This is great! How can students view the results from their exam and how can they view your comments?

  • 1
    Carrie Underwood

    Yes,, I also would like to know how to view a student's test after it is graded. 


  • 1
    Tom Dye

    How do I go back and review the student's answers after I grade them?

  • 1
    Ric Bruce

    I understand that... but surely there should be a way for an academic admin to grade individual questions on a test without becoming a teaching assistant or faculty for the class? Seems that without the alert grading individual responses to test questions is impossible. 

  • 0
    Brendan O'Donnell

    Academic Admins can do as they please for most aspects of a given course, but with things like test questions, we confine the grading powers to the course faculty and TA's. Thanks for the feedback on this, though—we've never been asked about this  before, and it's good to know this might come in handy for some of our users. If you would, please leave us a feature request, which will help us gauge interest from our other users.

    Edited by Brendan O'Donnell
  • 0
    Meyling Wong

    Is it possible that a student has a question repeated on a quiz?

  • 0
    Brendan O'Donnell

    To see a student's test after you've graded it, click the test's Start Time in the History view (that's also how a student will view his old tests).

  • 0
    Dr. Morales

    Has anyone answered the question above by Tyler Juell? I have the same question: how do students review their exams/ instructor comments? Do the exams become automatically available for review once the exam-taking window is closed?

  • 0
    Brendan O'Donnell

    Dr. Morales, this article describes what students will see after they submit a test. The long and the short of it is that a test becomes available for review (correct answers, instructor comments, etc.) after all of the questions have been graded—sometimes that's immediately, sometimes they have to wait until the prof has had time to grade, for example, the essay questions. All depends on what kind of question types are on the test.

    At any rate, students can see their grades/feedback when they go to the Course > Tests view and click view history next to a particular test.

  • 0
    Brendan O'Donnell

    @Ric, the only folk who get such an alert are those listed as faculty or teaching assistant for the course in question. If we sent those alerts out to all admins, those users would be inundated with alerts certain times of year.

    If you think you should be seeing some alerts that you aren't, check in with me on a support request.

  • 0
    Ric Bruce

    Cool... but how does a teaching assistant or an academic admin do this? I don't see that "There are XX number of questions that need graded" as an alert on my screen. 


Article is closed for comments.