St. Patrick’s College was undergoing an important quality assurance program involving both internal and external evaluators. The college gathered a huge amount of data from staff (250) and students (2,500) over two years. Data were collected on paper forms, and manually entered into databases or spreadsheets, then analyzed with Excel and SPSS. All exams were also marked by hand.
This system was time-consuming for staff members who had to do the manual entry and scoring. They needed to find a faster and more cost-effective way to gather data.
The college had made a decision to purchase a scanning machine and the services of a company that produces scan sheets. The start-up cost was going to be approximately $20,000 USD. Then Dr. Michael O’Leary, a Professor in the college’s Education Department, attended an AERA trade show and found out about Remark Office OMR. Impressed by its cost, ease of use and flexibility, he decided to purchase a copy for the Education Department as a tool to handle examination data. His colleagues learned of the program, and now it is being used by many other departments and offices. Dr. O’Leary says, “We use it for multiple choice exams, evaluation of courses, data gathering for services such as the library, resource centre, and admissions office.”
Dr. O’Leary especially appreciates the product’s ability to read a wide variety of forms. College staff can design their own scannable sheets rather than fitting their questions to a more generic form. He goes on to say, “The product has been a revelation. It was easy to use from day one… you have an excellent product which has considerably enhanced my ability to do my work.”
“The fact that the programme handles a wide range of possible layouts and data.”