Grading Tests in a Zip With ZipGrade

What it is: ZipGrade ($1.99 2 months/$6.99 1 year subscription), an automated multiple choice grading app for teachers on the go.
Pros to using ZipGrade: 
  • Scores are returned instantaneously as the student waits.
  • You can see how your entire class did on a test from the Item Analysis screen. 
  • You can import students and classes and then export them to many online grading sites.
  • Backed up to the cloud.
  • You have the ability to reuse exams year after year.
  • You can email or download answer sheets.
  • Answer sheets can be downloaded from the internet for free and copies can be made on any copier.
  • Students can mark answers using any writing tool: pen, pencil, marker, even highlighter. 
Cons to using ZipGrade:
  • Student papers remain unmarked so kids can’t see which answers they got wrong.
  • rains the battery of your iPhone.
  • Teachers may have to pay out-of-pocket.
I want to be able to run the world from my iPhone. OK, if I can’t run the world itself, then I’d like to at least run MY world from my iPhone. iPhone. Not iPad (I have a mini and my school district has provided me with an Air), not Macbook or Macbook Air, just my iPhone. Whether it's because of my petite stature or the fact that I like to change bags daily, or simply because I hate extra baggage and I don’t like to carry too much with me on a daily basis, my goal has always been to find as many time-saving, life-altering apps for my iPhone arsenal. My latest accomplishment was grading my sophomore’s final exams, instantaneously, using my iPhone. 
The idea behind grading multiple choice exams in the blink of an eye using technology isn’t a new one. In fact, it’s been around since I’ve been in school. I’m talking about Scantrons (I realize some of you just groaned right now). For anyone who doesn’t remember good old Scantrons, let me refresh your memory: the most common variety is long and green and requires you to completely bubble in the letter of your choice using a number 2 pencil. FYI, all pencils are number 2 unless they are art pencils, but inevitably the direction itself “You must use a number 2 pencil” is enough to send the entire class into a chorus of “Is this a number 2 pencil?” Scantrons are really expensive. If you didn’t know that while still in high school, you found out in college when you had to purchase your own. The Scantron machine, which grades the tests, is even more expensive and sometimes difficult to maintain. I won’t go into what it takes to grade exams using the machine, but it is an art form all its own. The thing is, Scantron had a monopoly on the market. This year I was desperate for an alternative. Our Scantron machine is dying and there is only one for a staff of 100 teachers, all trying to jam in 150 final exams before semester grades are due. 
As always, I looked to my iPhone for a solution. Enter ZipGrade ($1.99 for two months of service and $6.99 for one year of service). Mind you, ZipGrade isn’t the only product in the app store to offer this service, but it is the one my co-workers and I chose to try while discussing Scantron alternatives. And, to give credit where credit is due, it was my husband who picked ZipGrade out of the Google Play app store (yes, it’s available for both iPhone and Android). I was so impressed with the functionality of the app I doubt I’ll be reviewing any of the competitors.
So, what can you do with this app and its corresponding answer sheets? Everything you can with a Scantron and then some. The principle is the same: you hold your phone over a student’s exam matching up the four corners of the paper and your phone returns the percentage the student received. The ZipGrade answersheets are free to print and print from any printer or copier ready to be used. Copies can be made from any copy machine. If you need to grade multiple choice exams in a hurry and are willing to spend a little of your own money, ZipGrade is a viable solution for any grade teacher. 
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Carolyn Grayson's picture

As an educator, I am always interested in new and exciting ways to engage my students and prepare them for life outside of a school setting. Technology not only improves the quality of education, it helps indoctrinate students into the professional world. As an actress in Los Angeles and freelance writer, I juggle the responsibilities and commitments of three careers. I depend on my iPhone and a myriad of apps to keep me ahead of deadlines, on time to auditions, and ready for each day ahead.