Getting Started with Gradescope

Dear Faculty, 

UC Davis has recently acquired a campus-wide license to Gradescope. Gradescope can make scoring student submissions more effective and efficient thanks to the time-saving benefits of horizontal grading practices

As Gradescope is now integrated into Canvas, curious faculty can turn to the Knowledge Base Article “GRADESCOPE: Information” to review the processes for syncing Canvas and Gradescope. The Knowledge Base Article also details some pedagogical considerations when using Gradescope. These pedagogical considerations include knowing when to use Gradescope as opposed to SpeedGrader, alerting students to the use of Gradescope in your course, and taking advantage of helpful additional resources when using Gradescope. 

Choosing Between SpeedGrader and Gradescope 

SpeedGrader and Gradescope have different affordances and constraints. As a result, Gradescope is most appropriate for certain grading situations. Consider the following lists to determine when to use SpeedGrader or when to use Gradescope: 

  • SpeedGrader is particularly well-suited for: 
    • Evaluating short answer and essay submissions
    • Scoring electronic submissions
    • Accomodating a single concurrent grader
    • Providing in-text or audio/video feedback
    • Grading using a mobile app 
    • Using with a variety of Canvas tools (e.g., Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes)
  • Gradescope is particularly well-suited for: 
    • Grading submissions with formulae or visual answers
    • Scoring paper submissions
    • Accommodating multiple simultaneous graders
    • Leveraging artificial intelligence for grouping answers
    • Applying retroactive changes when rubric is adjusted based on grading
    • Repeatedly communicating lessons in responses to typical incorrect answers

Sample Language for your Syllabus

If Gradescope is most appropriate for the grading of a course, students will need to be made aware of how to use Gradescope to submit assignments and access feedback. Principles of Universal Design for Learning recommend providing information to students in a variety of ways. Aligning with these principles, explanations of how Gradescope will be used in a course could occur in a syllabus, introductory video on the Canvas home page, the first lecture, office hours, and course announcements.

Sample syllabus language could be as follows: 

We will be using the Gradescope tool within Canvas this term, which allows us to provide fast and accurate feedback on your work. Homework will be submitted through Gradescope, and homework and exam grades will be returned through Gradescope. This means that no original work will be returned, and an electronic version will be available to you in the Gradescope tool in Canvas. You can, if you wish, download an original version and/or a graded version of your submitted work as a PDF file through Gradescope. As soon as grades are posted, you will be notified immediately so that you can log in and see your feedback. You may also submit regrade requests if you feel we have made a mistake.


The following resources can be used to help prompt innovative uses of Gradescope as well as help you navigate integrating this resource into your courses and Canvas.

Providing feedback on student work can be time-consuming and arduous. Using Gradescope effectively can make this process more efficient. For more information on how to use Gradescope to provide feedback in ways that support student learning, please feel free to schedule a consultation with an instructional designer by emailing


Alex Rockey 

Managing Editor of The Wheel 


Post Author: Alexandria Rockey

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