Why Are You Still Using Bubble Sheets?

Today, I made a run down to our front office at school to find some office supplies.  While there, I ran across a large number of bubble sheets.  I asked the secretary in the office why there were so many.  She told me that there are a large number of teachers that use them.  I asked why, and she said, “tell me why you ask, because if we can avoid ordering them, they are expensive.”  I then proceeded to tell her about all of the online options that teachers have for grading student assessments.  She was unaware that there were so many options.  So, as a result I decided to write this article, asking the question:


Now, before we go down this path, I truly understand that in terms of assessments, the following still may apply:

  • I need to see the steps in my students’ math problems.
  • Students can cheat when they use online assessments.
  • My kids don’t have mobile devices to use in the classroom.
I understand how each of these may be true.  But while only the first one relating to math may still be unanswered by this article, the other two can be, in at least some way, solved by these options:

Google Forms

If you aren’t already using Google Forms, you should be.  Google Forms is the best thing since sliced beer (or is that canned bread?). Google Forms, while originally thought of as a survey tool or means to gather information, is a great assessment solution.  But as an assessment tool it works great in a 1:1 environment.  Here’s the rundown on how Forms works:
  • Forms allows users to set up an online document that users can fill in.
  • Users can add Multiple Choice, True/False, Short Answer, or Essay questions
  • All responses are collected and saved (New Forms collects answers in the Responses Tab).  Responses can be viewed in a Google Sheet if you’d like.
  • Watch this video for more information.

Since Google Forms allows Google Apps for Education Users to restrict who fills out a form, and to automatically collect usernames when filled out, it makes Forms a great tool for Assessments.  Plus, when you use Google Sheets Add-Ons such as Flubaroo or Super Quiz, all student submissions can be automatically graded for you.  See this tutorial on Flubaroo for more information.

And, if you still want a bubble sheet for kids to fill in when they can’t use a device to complete the assessment, you can always print your form as a bubble sheet.

Since Google Forms allows teachers to shuffle answer options, or shuffle questions, there is less chance of cheating in a proctored environment.


This one works equally well in a 1:1 environment, or one in which students have access to phones, tablets, or other mobile devices.  Socrative allows teachers to set up quizzes, tests, or exit tickets using their Socrative account online.  If you don’t already have a Socrative account, you can use your GAFE account to set one up for FREE.  Just use this link and click Sign In with Google.  

Once set up, teachers can administer tests using the Socrative website, or Teacher apps available for Android, ChromeOS, or iOS.  Students can interact and answer questions using the Socrative Student App available for Android, ChromeOS and iOS.  Since teachers can randomize questions and answers, you can reduce instances of cheating.  Here is a quick sample of how it works.

This option is great for schools in which teachers have access to a tablet or phone, but 
the kids may not.  Plickers is an app available for Android and iOS, that uses QR-style codes to gather responses from students.  The Plickers app can be used to scan the room for responses to questions that teachers create.  Each student has their own set of cards used to respond to questions (See below).  Students are assigned to a specific Card Number.  Depending on which way the card is oriented, the app will pick up the student’s answer.  

Responses are collected by the app and saved to your Plickers account.  Cards can be printed from the Plickers website.  Get started by visiting http://plickers.com


For bubble sheet users, this may be an appealing option.  ZipGrade is an app available for Android and iOS.  While this is a paid app, it is still very economical.  Here’s how it works: 
  • Users can pay $1.99 for 2 months, $6.99/Year, or a one time fee of $12.99 (iOS only). 
  • Set up your account at http://www.zipgrade.com to create tests and answer sheets.
  • Bubble Sheets can be printed here.   
  • As students turn in their sheets, teachers can use the app to scan in answers.
  • That’s it!  All answers are collected and can be viewed online or downloaded.


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