bubble sheet grader scantron answer key multiple choice grading
Advice, Teacher Life

Grading Multiple Choice Answer Sheets Quickly

We are all guilty at times of becoming stuck in our ways. Many moons ago when I started teaching science, I started a bad habit. It was time to grade my first set of benchmarks. I knew it was impractical to grade the answer sheet one letter at a time, so I wanted to make a master key with the bubbles cut out so I could quickly grade the document like a scantron. This seemed simple enough, until I discovered I did not have a simple single-hole punch.

bubble sheet grader scantron answer key multiple choice grading
My old method.

What I did have was a scalpel, so I proceeded to cut out a box around each correct answer choice. Problem solved…and I never got around to getting that hole punch. I continued to manually cut my own bubble sheet graders for the NEXT FIVE YEARS. Until now.

How to grade multiple choice answer sheets quickly by hand.

It’s all about the key, am I right? This year, I finally came into possession of a hand held single-hole punch. My life is forever changed, and the process of making keys has been simplified immensely. After some trial and error, here is the step by step method I use to quickly cut my bubble sheet graders.

Hole punch answer key sheet grading ruler scalpel pen

Bubble Key Grader

Grade Level: KG-12th | Duration: 5 minutes | Content: ALL

Materials: Hole punch, ruler, marker, utility knife or similar cutting blade.


Step 1 – Bubble in the correct answers on your answer sheet.

Step 2 – Use your blade and ruler to cut a straight line as close to the bubbles as possible. This will allow your hole punch to reach all answer choices.

Hole punch answer key sheet grading ruler scalpel

Step 3 – Stick your hole punch through the slits you have created and punch those bubbles out!

Hole punch answer key sheet grading bubble grader multiple choice

Step 4 – Grade your papers like a boss.

Pro Tip: I have a bad habit of sliding my answer key too far one way or another. I recommend punching the number one out as well to make sure you are always on the right number!

I will admit, after making my keys this new way, I felt slightly silly and upset with myself for the years of wasted time hand cutting. Live and learn, I suppose!

How do you quickly grade your multiple choice answer sheets by hand? Let me know in the comment section!

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