Scanning and grading exam booklets

Save time when grading in person exams with a scanning workflow.

The challenge: Grading paper based exams are slow

At least once a year, student's get into a big examination hall to sit paper based exams. Just collating and organising these scripts takes hours, but the thought of sitting down and grading them all causes most a lot of stress.

Forced to grade using old processes

When using more innovative tools to grade work, going back to pen and paper can feel very frustrating. No systems of consistency. No automatic summation of marks. No easy way to grade per question.

The solution: A fully thought out scanning workflow

Scanning in scripts may seem like a daunting task, but it can be quicker and easier than you think. In fact, many lecturers consider it a valuable investment that saves them time if they use the right tools.

Speaking of tools, you'll need a good scanner and guillotine to get started. Fortunately, our Graide exam package includes both of these items, so you don't have to worry about making an extra investment.

Our recommended scanner (Fujitsu Scansnap IX1400 or for high scale CANON DR-G2140) is reliable and produces high-quality scans that are easy to read and grade. With its user-friendly software and multiple scanning options, it's an excellent choice for both small and large batches of exam scripts.

When it comes to the guillotine, we recommend the Dahle 848 (link contains a video of use) that is precise, easy to use, and able to handle multiple pages at once. This will make the process of cutting and organising your scanned scripts a breeze.

How long does it take to scan scripts?

One of the main concerns many lecturers have when considering scanning in exam scripts is how long the process will take. Fortunately, with the right tools and approach, scanning in scripts can be a surprisingly quick and efficient process.

To give you an idea of just how fast scanning in scripts can be, let's take a look at a test run by Austin Tomlinson. In this test, he scanned 126 scripts, each consisting of 12 pages, in just 18 minutes. Here are some more details:

  • Trimming the edges of the scripts took 12 minutes, but with a guillotine, this step would have taken just 2 minutes.
  • In total, 1512 pages were scanned in two batches over the course of 18 minutes.
  • The average time it took to scan each script was 8.6 seconds, while trimming the edges took 5.7 seconds (which could be reduced to just 0.95 seconds with a guillotine).

When you add up the scanning and trimming times, the total time per script was just 14.3 seconds, which could be reduced to 9.5 seconds with a guillotine. We estimate that the unit cost per script would be 5.3p (whilst paying someone £20 / hour).

Most importantly, there were no errors during the entire scanning process. This suggests an error rate of less than 0.07%, which is impressive and highlights the reliability and accuracy of the recommended scanning tools.

Subsequently, he ran another 77 scripts with the same process and scaled times. When human error resulted in a script being scanned incorrectly, the scanner notified them of the mistake and it was easily rectified.

As you can see, scanning in scripts can be a very quick process with the right tools and approach. 

Uploading the scans into Graide

Once you've scanned in your exam scripts, the next step is to upload them into Graide for processing and grading. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:


  1. Scan an example booklet
  2. This allows Graide to know how many pages the exam booklet has and allows you to define components such as the identification areas, redundant pages etc.
  3. Highlight the areas that need to be identified
  4. In Graide, you can highlight specific areas of each page that you want to be processed by the optical character recognition (OCR) software. This helps ensure that the relevant information is extracted and processed correctly.


Once you've scanned in all of your booklets and highlighted the relevant areas, you can upload them to Graide for processing. Make sure to upload a whole number of booklets, as this helps ensure that everything is processed accurately.

  1. Check the output
  2. After the processing is complete, you'll have a list of names, IDs, and other relevant information for each script. Graide will highlight any scripts that don't match or have multiple matches, allowing you to check them and ensure that everything is correct.
  3. Optionally hide cover booklet or other pages to markers
  4. If you're using anonymous marking, you can choose to hide the cover booklet or other pages that may reveal the identity of the student. Graide will automatically tag these pages for you, making it easy to ensure that your marking is fair and unbiased.

With everything processed and checked, you're ready to start grading your exam.

Save time with Graide

If you are looking for an efficient and time-saving way to grade university exams, Graide is the solution. Here are some of the ways in which Graide can help you save time:

  1. Adding up marks is a time-consuming task, but with Graide, this task is automated. You can instantly save at least 15 seconds per script, allowing you to focus on more important aspects of grading.
  2. With Graide's parallel grading feature, multiple staff members can work on the same exam at the same time. This allows for faster grading, reducing the amount of time it takes to grade a large number of exams.
  3. Graide's question-based marking feature enables you to mark specific questions across all the scripts. This means you can focus on one question at a time, allowing you to grade more efficiently.
  4. Using Graide's workflow has shown to save around 50% of grading time. With automated processes and efficient workflows, Graide streamlines the grading process, reducing the time and effort required.

There are other workflow benefits too:

  1. The long term storage of the files is significantly simplified by digitisation. This means historical records are safe, and they can be searched easily.
  2. Quality control becomes much easier, and it can also be automated. Graide automatically checks if every page has been seen for example. Moderation is also easier with one source to check and changes being retroactively applied to all students with the same feedback.