All schools are faced with many challenges when it comes to assessing how students are performing and finding money in their shrinking budgets to cover the expense of these assessments. Multiple choice testing is a popular method of measuring student achievement. Schools need to monitor and analyze their students’ knowledge of their curriculum. Using assessments and tests, schools can easily see how their students are performing and find lagging areas on which to focus and improve.
Traditionally, multiple choice tests required either the purchase of a dedicated scanning system, or a large investment in time on the part of the teachers who are giving the exam. Dedicated scanning systems are an expensive investment, requiring not just the purchase of the scanner, but the purchase of standardized forms, special pencils, and if the school wants any analysis of the test data, the purchase of special software to run the scanner and produce the reports. In total, these systems cost thousands of dollars and carry the recurring cost of maintenance and forms.
For many years, teachers have been grading multiple choice tests by hand. This obviously requires less of an investment by the school, but is it really a good value? Grading a 50 question multiple choice test for a class of 20 students may take a few hours of a teacher’s time; time when the teacher could be preparing lesson plans and analyzing this test data to better understand what her students know, and what they have not mastered. Automating this task saves teachers hundreds of hours per year, freeing them up to do more important tasks that will better utilize their talents and better serve their students.
A new generation of hardware and software products evolved that allows schools to take advantage of existing equipment to tackle their multiple choice testing problem. Over the past several years, manufacturers of photocopiers and laser printers have been adding optical scanning software to their machines. Manufacturers such as Lexmark, Xerox, Hewlett Packard, Samsung, Panasonic, Ricoh, Konica Minolta, Oki Data and Sharp have been selling photocopiers and laser printers to schools for many years for various printing and duplication tasks. These machines are heavily used for printing correspondence, communications, classroom materials, and all kinds of other materials. The new multi-function peripherals are typically network based and include functionality for controlling print, and now scanning jobs from a control panel on the device. The added ability to scan documents extends the usefulness of these machines to purposes other than printing and one of these purposes is to grade multiple choice tests and assessments with Remark Office OMR®.
Now, rather than purchasing a dedicated scanner, schools can purchase Remark Office OMR, which will take the scanned images of a batch of tests and quickly and accurately convert these images into data. Tests can then be graded within the software and reports can be produced that quickly give teachers and administrators feedback on how the class and the students did on the assessment. The data can even be disaggregated by content area so a teacher can quickly see in which areas the students are proficient, and in which areas they need more help or further review. Having this type of data at their fingertips allows the teachers to tailor their instruction so that they spend time in class on the areas in which their students really need help.
In addition to test scoring, Remark Office OMR and multifunction printers can perform many other applications such as: community surveys, student surveys, student balloting, teacher evaluations, training forms, attendance forms, parent surveys, and any other type of multiple choice form. These solutions are extremely powerful, flexible, and cost-effective in performing all of the paper data collection and analysis functions of a school.