Spreadsheets, reassembly and return

Once marking is done (or very nearly done) it is time to reassemble the papers, build the spreadsheet and return results to students. But before that we need to check that everything is done so that we can assign any remaining tasks. We will use plom-finish to do this. Note that this can only be run by “manager”.

Is everything done?

Once we are mopping up the last few questions, and it becomes very important to know what is tasks are left to do. One way to access this information is through the manager-tools, but a simpler way of getting a quick overview is to use the plom-finish command:

$ plom-finish status
Please enter the 'manager' password:
** Completion data **
Produced papers: 20
Scanned papers: 20 (currently)
Completed papers: 1–20
Identified papers: 1–20
Totalled papers: 1–20
Number of papers with 0 questions marked = 0. Tests numbers =
Number of papers with 1 questions marked = 0. Tests numbers =
Number of papers with 2 questions marked = 0. Tests numbers =
Number of papers with 3 questions marked = 20. Tests numbers = 1–20
20 of 20 complete

This shows that everything is actually done.


Now that everything is done, Plom can build a CSV spreadsheet for us.

$ plom-finish csv
Please enter the 'manager' password:
>>> Warning <<<
This script currently outputs all scanned papers whether or not they have been marked completely.
Marks written to "marks.csv"

Please do note the warning — Plom will include all scanned papers in this sheet. While you can run this at any stage in the marking process, the sheet will not be complete until the marking is all done.

The sheet is saved as marks.csv and is human-readible. Take a quick look at the first few rows:

StudentID StudentName TestNumber Question 1 Mark Question 2 Mark Question 3 Mark Total Question 1 Version Question 2 Version Question 3 Version Warnings
67719396 Dickey, Rachel 1 1 0 5 6 1 1 2  
82911040 Hancock, Norman 2 9 5 1 15 2 1 2  

It contains the students ID and name, the number of the test-paper they wrote, their marks for each question, and the total. It also includes the versions of each question and a “Warnings” column. This last one will warn you:

  • [unidentified]: this test has not yet been identified
  • [unmarked]: at least one question on this test is unmarked
  • [no ID]: no ID given on test, but some questions were answered
  • [blank ID]: no ID was given was given and test is blank

It should not be too difficult to tweak the resulting spreadsheet for upload into your favourite LMS (or at least the one you have to use).


Once everything is IDd and marked and you’ve done any necessary mopping up and reviewing it is time to reassemble all the annotated page-images into papers complete with simple cover-pages.

$ plom-finish reassemble
Please enter the "manager" password:
Reassembling 20 papers...
100%|████████████████████████████████████████████████████████| 20/20 [00:04<00:00,  4.16it/s]

Note that for a long paper and a large class this could take some time. The resulting papers now reside in reassembled. Each is named <testName>_<studentID>.pdf where the <testName> is the short name that you gave your test in the specification and <studentID> is the ID-number of the student. Here is a sample paper (very obviously not real data, nor real annotations)

You can also prepare individual solutions: see plom-finish solutions --help.


There are various ways to return PDFs to your students.

Return via Canvas

As of Autumn 2021, we have been using an experimental code contrib/ to push PDFs, solutions and grades back to the Canvas LMS.

Website return

See plom-finish webpage --help which has various options to prepare a webpage of non-predictable file names, and leaves you the problem of returning a “secret code” (from return_codes.csv) to each student.

An example of this site is shown in the frame below. To try it out, use the following student number / return code pairs (also try entering an incorrect ID/Code pair and see the result):

Student ID Return Code
45769090 899456792930
54585230 950279836833
58701444 160191342694