Grading an exam

There are two options summarised in our creating the examination guidance for Planners. Each option has a different workflow for marking your exam. Staff are encouraged, where possible, to use option 2 where questions and grading are all done within Inspera.

Option 1 workflow

  • The Author uploads the exam paper as a PDF document into a Question Set.
  • Marks are set to the total marks of the exam (ideally marked out of 100).
  • Students respond by uploading their completed submission (in a PDF document) to the Inspera Test.
  • Marking and moderation is completed offline
  • Marks are entered in SAMIS using a .csv file

Option 2 workflow

  • The Author uses available Inspera question types for each question in the Question Set (a range of question types is available).  This requires some understanding of the different properties.  All questions will require a mark be set (preferably totalling 100 for the whole exam).
  • Students respond directly to each question in the online Inspera Test (i.e. question by question)
  • Marking is determined by question types (automatic and/or manual) and manual marking is completed in Inspera by Graders
  • Multiple markers (Graders) can grade the exams (if enabled with default settings, Planners can assign markers by question)
  • Moderators (Graders) can flag samples and reply to comments for moderation
  • The Unit Convenor will need to confirm the final grade, triggering grade transfer to SAMIS
  • If optional questions are present on the exam (e.g. 4 Inspera questions where students are only answering 3, and leaving one blank), grades must NOT be confirmed as grades will be incorrect and must be manually overwritten in SAMIS

Please note there can be a delay between the close of a test and the appearance of some student submissions for Graders. In particular, if there are candidates with extra time, their submissions will not be visible or downloadable until the end time plus their extra time. e.g. if an exam finishes at 2pm and a student has 2 hours extra time, their submission will not be registered until 4pm.
This is not a cause for concern, please remain patient until all candidate submissions come through.

Option 1 – Marking offline

This video shows you how to download all submissions (in a merged or separate PDF files), and how to access the zipped files for marking offline.

Graders should then complete marking in accordance with Faculty / School arrangements for offline marking. Once marking is completed, marks can be uploaded directly to SAMIS via spreadsheets provided by local Administrators. 

Some users may find it helpful to be able to print scripts for offline marking – if you would like to print submissions, please see the note at the top of this guidance page in the Inspera Help Centre.

Option 2 – Marking completed in Inspera by Graders

You can review the video guide which shows you how to navigate the marking workspace in Inspera.

For manually marked questions (Essay, Text area, Upload assignment, Programming, Math(s) working) you can move between candidates or navigate between questions to enter your marks. It is possible to record your marking comments as notesPrivate notes are visible only to you (though keep in mind that any marking comments or notes you enter in Inspera should be suitable for reading by students in the case of requests to receive exam feedback or appeals processes)

For auto-marked questions (Multiple Choice, Multiple Response, Text Entry, Numeric Entry, Inline Choice, True / False, Matching / Pairing, Composite) you can review the answers. It is possible to override calculated marks should you need to.

It is also possible to correct the answer key in Multiple Choice (not Multiple Response) questions. This is described in the Inspera Help Centre page.

The video below shows how to mark manually in Inspera (e.g. Essay questions).

In addition to adding marks, Graders can also add Annotations and Page Notes to scripts and student answers which may be useful for sharing with moderators, or to refer back to should students request feedback on their results after an exam. Please note that these Annotations and Page Notes can be kept private to the Grader only, or shared with co-graders (e.g. internal/external moderators) as desired. The video below details how to add Annotations and Page Notes to student answers:

Please bear in mind that any comments added to a script would have to be revealed on request to a student making a Subject Access Request under GDPR legislation, so comments should always be clear and appropriate. Please see Data Protection Guidance for more information.

Once the marks have been entered and checked, marks must be Confirmed (usually by the Unit Convener) to trigger mark transfer to SAMIS.

Mixed marking (Combination of auto-marked and manually marked questions)

If you have, for instance, a set of automatically marked Multiple Choice questions and a manually marked Essay question, you may wish to download the scripts to view them offline as shown in the video above. Note that Planners are able to download a csv file (including the marks for auto-marked questions) for an exam. You may choose to combine marks downloaded by csv with your offline manual marks.

Note if you wish to transfer your grades to SAMIS via Inspera, you will need to enter marks for any manually marked question (e.g. Assignment upload questions) into Inspera first. Make sure you have input any offline marks before you Confirm grades in Inspera (otherwise this could result in an incomplete mark set being transferred to SAMIS).

Alternatively, if entering marks directly in to SAMIS, you will need to make sure the final exam marks are entered in the appropriate spreadsheet format for import to SAMIS (provided by local Administrators)

Multiple Markers

In instances where there are multiple markers, and grading is taking place offline, please note that markers will need to work from a single download of the student scripts. We would advise that markers share this via a secure University means such as OneDrive.

Where marking is taking place in Inspera, each grader can enter marks as shown in the Option 2 – marking completed in Inspera by graders video guide. Exams have been set up so that one grader can confirm grades. The Unit Convenor can confirm the grades once all markers have completed marking. Exams have been set up so that graders can be assigned by question (by default the Planner can allocate graders by question).

Ouriginal Originality Checking

Ouriginal (previously known Urkund) is integrated with Inspera, and where ‘Anti-plagiarism checking’ has been selected in test settings prior to test activation, Ouriginal reports will appear in the Grader interface for Essay and document upload question types, via an Ouriginal score above the student’s response in the Grading interface. Clicking on the score will open an Ouriginal report for that response. Please see the video below for an overview of Ouriginal in Inspera: (Note that it uses the old name of Urkund, but functionality remains the same).

Moderation in Inspera (internal / external)

Inspera can support an online moderation workflow allowing Graders to flag candidates, and to share Annotations and Page Notes (see video above) on student answers with internal and external moderators who share the Grader role in Inspera. These co-graders can then reply to Annotations and Page Notes. These Grader comments can all be printed/downloaded from Inspera on a candidate-by-candidate basis.

Please note that downloading grades/comments from Inspera may differ from your usual approach to gathering comments/marks for moderators in your department, as any Comments can currently only be downloaded/printed on a candidate-by-candidate basis. This differs from the download of Marks from Inspera by a single CSV file.

Please also note that there is no requirement to complete moderation online. If you prefer to mark in Inspera and follow usual offline moderation procedures, you can do so.

Important! Finally, please note that Inspera currently only retains completed exams for a 2 year period. We therefore strongly recommend that you make your own Archiving provisions in accordance with your local needs and requirements.

The video below shows how to flag candidates, and how to reply to Annotations and Page Notes:

The video below shows how to download/print comments recorded by graders, for moderation records or for reference in the case of individual feedback requests.

Guidance for External Moderators detailing the steps to login to Inspera, to find scripts requiring moderation and respond to Annotations and Page Notes on the scripts can be found in the video below:


In most instances, you will not need to provide feedback to students, but please liaise with your School or Department for local guidance on feedback and moderation procedures. The default test settings mean that Page Notes and Annotations will not be visible to students. You may wish to refer to private notes or notes shared with moderators / externals as a basis for providing individual feedback to students on request. Follow the guidance provided (see Moderation tab) for adding Page Notes and Annotations, and Downloading / Printing comments to extract a record of individual comments

When entering Marks it is also possible to add Private Notes. Please also note that any notes that are hidden from students would have to be revealed on request to a student making a Subject Access Request under GDPR legislation, so comments should always be clear and appropriate. Please see Data Protection Guidance for more information.

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