Touchless Grading for Grade School and Elementary Students



This idea came from a 3rd grade teacher in 2017.  In her classroom, students used M&M candies to mark their answers.  If the student answered all the questions correctly, they were allowed to eat their candy.  


Of course we can no longer have food in our classrooms, but the idea still works well in classrooms where you want to have frequent, quick formative assessments and have dedicated materials for each student.


Here's how:

  1. Sign-up for  Create a free ZipGrade account at or by installing the ZipGrade mobile application from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Create a custom form:
    • From a desktop browser, login to with your ZipGrade account.
    • Navigate to the 'Custom Answer Sheet Wizard' at the bottom of the 'Answer Sheets' tab
    • Follow the prompts to create an answer sheet that best fits your most common needs. Be sure to include a student ID section large enough to handle all the students in your class.
  3. Print the answer sheets:
    • For either option below, you'll want to print an answer sheet scaled above 100% to allow for larger markers to be used. Our use your photo copier to create a scaled version of the answer sheet. For our example, we scaled the answer sheets to 160%
    • If you have students and classes defined, use the 'Answer Sheet Pack' link on the 'Classes' tab to have the forms pre-filled with student's name and ID.
    • Otherwise, print a blank answer sheet on the 'Custom Answer Sheet Wizard'. You'll want to write in each student's name on the sheets so they which form belongs to which student.
  4. Laminate the answer sheets
  5. Provide each student with markers and their custom forms:  For our example, we used Lego 1X1 circle pieces.  These are available in bulk from Amazon and also can be joined together to reduce the number lost. While beads can work, we found that the hole in the center and shadows sometimes caused issues.  
  6. Define the quiz in the ZipGrade mobile app: Use the ZipGrade mobile app to create the quiz.  Be sure to select your custom form and enter the key.  Have your students put their answer sheet in the corner of their desk so you know when they're done.

Grading is now as simple as walking by the student's desk when they are done.  Before going to grade papers, press the 'Scan Papers' button.  Then walk up and down the desks.  The app will immediately identify the answer sheet and vibrate when graded. 

  • No need to stop and press buttons. 
  • No papers to collect
  • Students remain in their desk and do not congregate by your desk.
  • You retain an image of each paper as it was graded
  • Analytics and results are provided instantly within the app and website
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