Marking > Assess: human scored Items (like Essay questions)

Cirrus Assessment Support Team -

Marking > Assess: human scored Items (like Essay questions)

This article describes how to mark or score essay questions in Cirrus:

Selecting the Schedule you want to score

To mark a candidate or a group of candidates you first select a schedule: a sitting where candidates took the exam and answered questions.

  1. Log in using the URL and account provided to you.
  2. Go to Marking by clicking the pencil icon on the left.
  3. Select the schedule (sitting) you want to score from the overview page by clicking it. 
    Click here for more details.


    Selecting an Assessment to mark - using the Marking overview in Cirrus

    A user can see assessments that he has been assigned to mark in 'Assess-tab' overview. Simply click on any of 'Ready for Assessing' assessments to start Scoring Items (Assessing) and Submitting results. Assessments with only Multiple Choice questions skip this step and move to Grading


    1. Go to Marking > Click on the 'Assess-tab':
    2. In this overview you will see a list of all assessments assigned to be assessed and graded and their status:
      1. Pending - Assessments that have not been taken by and candidates and cannot be assessed.
      2. Ready for assessing - Assessments that have submissions by candidates that can be assessed.
      3. Assessing in Progress - Assessments have submissions and assessment has started.
      4. Assessed - Marking /Moderation was fully done and submitted. They are pending publishing and only need to be published.
    3. Select a schedule from the list (the row will turn green). Tip: use the mouseover to quickly see the Assessment title (which can be different from the schedule title) and the Progress - x out y candidate(s) assessed.
    4. Using the hamburger icon (bottom left) you can open a filter or
    5. Use the search box or click the filter-icon for advanced search options like on hierarchy or date sat.

Submissions: selecting the User you want to score

After selecting the schedule to score the submissions screen will open:.

  • This lists all hand-ins by candidates.
  • Here you click on 'Show' to see the answers given by a candidates and start marking:


Candidate answers Summary page: selecting the question you want to start scoring

  • Once you've selected a user to start scoring the ‘Candidate summary screen’ will open showing a summary of the candidate's responses to the questions in the assessment.
  • Here you the question you want to start scoring:


  • You can then select an Item for manual scoring. These can be recognised as there is no score in the ‘Total score’ column and a ‘Needs scoring’ link appears next to that.
    Looking at the example screenshot, this is the case for question number 4.
  • Click on this ‘Needs scoring’ link and the ‘View and Mark questions’ screen will appear:

‘View and Mark’ screen: where you score the question


On the ‘View and Mark screen’ you can score the question, leave an overall conclusion and view / make annotations:

  1. Use this part of the bread-crumb to return to the overview of all candidates for this schedule.
  2. Navigation bar - allows the marker to navigate to the next question/candidate (< and >) or use the dropdown next to the candidate name to navigate through his/her answers.
  3. Question - shows the question
  4. Answer - shows the candidate's answer and if enabled a word and character count. In our example the marker has left comments which are visible upon mouse-over and marked red or yellow.
  5. Use these navigational buttons (a mouseover tells you which is which) to move between the 'Scoring', 'Marking scheme' or 'Section info'  for the item (when the item is part of a section of course). 
  6. Score -this is were you enter the points scored for this question. You can chose for 'Save' or 'Save and next' using the button.
    Scoring - Progress tells you how far you are in marking this candidate. The Max Score possible for this question is also shown.
  7. Overall conclusion -  In the Overall conclusion box you can enter the reasoning behind the score. This can be made visible (exported) for feedback or appeals for example. 
  8. Annotations - Use the dropdown to see an overview of your or other assessors annotations (when enabled by your marking coordinator). Use the annotation buttons to make or view a list of  inline comments on the candidate answer.
  9. The "<<"-button can be used to open or close the side-bar (right column).

Annotations before Scoring an Item

Cirrus offers several options for annotating a manually scored Item such as Essay questions:

  1. My annotations shows all your comments on this answer. If there are multiple assessors, you can view all comments here if this has been allowed by the author/scheduler.
  2. A text field is provided for an Overall conclusion.
  3. You can highlight or strike-through specific passages of the provided answer:

    1. Click on the tool of your choice
    2. Select the text to comment on.
    3. Leave a comment and click on ‘Insert’:
    4. You can view a specific comment by moving your mouse over the highlighted text:

  4. All comments will also appear under ‘Annotations overview’:


Once you have finished annotating the Item, you can move to scoring the next item by clicking on

  • ‘Save and next candidate’ - for scoring the next candidate’s answer to the same question
  • ‘Save and next question’ - for scoring this candidate's answer to the next essay question in this assessment.
  • ‘Cancel’ - you will go back to the overview page on this assessment.
  • Remember: use the breadcrumb to easily go back to the overview listing all candidates for the schedule you are marking.

Scoring per Item

‘Save and next candidate’ gives you a means for horizontal scoring or scoring per Item: looking at our example this means the Marker first scores all answers to question 2 of the test, then all answers to question 4 of this test. It can also mean that you score all answers to the first Essay question, while a colleague scores all answers to the second Essay question of the test.

Scoring per Candidate

‘Save and next question’ gives you the means to score per candidate, meaning that you score all responses to manually scored items of that candidate before moving to the next candidate and her/his answers.

When you've reached the end of you list of candidates to score you can this because the "Save and next Candidate"-button will 'gray' out / deactivate. If you enter a different score the button will become active again:


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