COVID-19: Giving Math Feedback on Google Forms Submissions

Now that my first week of distance learning is done, I feel pretty good about most of my class structures. The one thing I couldn’t solve was how to give feedback to students on their written/diagrammatic work. But just today I explored a solution I think will work: the comment feature on Google Forms.

Most of my students are able to successfully take a picture of their written work with their phones, email it to themselves, download the image to their laptops, and then upload it to the assignment’s Google Form. This first week of remote classes, I just wanted students to get comfortable with this new method of submission, so I haven’t been grading the work on correctness and completion. To reduce their stress and mine, I told them it was even fine if they were able to attempt just one problem (all of them ended up doing more, but this was still good for morale).

Next week I aim to grade their assignments as usual, and I’ve realized I can do this fairly thoroughly with the comment feature on Google Forms:

I go into the folder that collected all of their answers and click on the student’s work which I want to grade. All of my students uploaded PDF’s or .jpg’s and this method works for both.

Once the file is open, I click the “plus comment” button in the top right corner.

This prompts me to highlight a section of the file with a rectangular box which will have the comment “attached” to it.

I then write my comment. Luckily, because I’m teaching quadratics this unit the most complicated math I’d need to write without the usual symbols would be x^2 or sqrt(x), but those two notations will be easy enough for the kids to remember, especially because they’re used to using the carrot button (^) on the TI-84 calculators.

Once I’ve added all of my comments, I can use the “Share” feature to send the commented file to the student.

You might be wondering if because of this email step, it would have just been easier for the students to email me each their work individually in the first place, but so far I’ve really liked having all of their answers in the same folder. It is much easier for me to grade all of the same assignment at once.

So I’ll try this starting Monday!

I also wanted to note that after some reflection yesterday, I don’t know if I totally agree with my conclusion in my previous post: that remote teaching is about the same difficulty as regular classroom teaching, just in different ways. I was MUCH more tired at the end of this week than in the past year of teaching. I’m hoping that I will get into the groove of this new style of teaching, like I have with regular teaching. Maybe my fatigue came from learning so many new systems, or from easing the kids’ fears, or dealing with all the OTHER new things about living life in quarantine, but it was certainly a lot. However, I will say to you fellow teachers: it feels really really great to know that you’re helping your students and families in this crazy time. Whether you’ve sent home packets and proposed schedules, or are assigning things on a Google Classroom, or teaching Zoom classes like me, you’re doing your part, and I thank you. And I want you to take care of yourself, too.

Wishing you health, safety, and happiness,


2 thoughts on “COVID-19: Giving Math Feedback on Google Forms Submissions

  1. Nice! I didn’t realize the comment feature was so powerful, I guess I’ve never tried it. Do you have to rely on the student’s name being in the picture or does Google give you a way to track where the file came from? Can you save commonly use comments? I know that’s a feature somewhere else in Google classroom or something


    1. Yeah, I’d never tried it before on PDF’s or images either! So far, in every method of upload the kid’s name has been included in the file name – I think Google does this automatically. I’m not sure about commonly used comments. I’ll let you know if I see that this week.

      Liked by 1 person

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