Toward the end of 2006 one of our customers approached us asking if we had something to help him score practice SAT exams.
We looked into it and created a solution revolving around the BubbleScan 101, the OMR scanner we sold at that time. The solution involved custom OMR forms and a custom Excel spreadsheet – that’s the way we create our custom solutions. We start with the OMR scanner/scanning technology and then add custom OMR forms and a custom Excel spreadsheet.
As our OMR scanning technology has evolved, so have our SAT forms and SAT scoring spreadsheet. Now, after almost 2 years of using our current BubbleScan OMR software, we are ready to give this successful solution a thorough overhaul. We’ve asked our current customers what they want and developed a road map from that.
Today, I want to take a moment and introduce you to Phase 1 and briefly discuss other suggestions which we are also considering. I also invite you to leave a comment or two and tell us what else you want.
Phase 1 includes new forms that ‘look more like the real SAT forms’. The idea behind this is that our customers, SAT prep companies, want to give their students a testing experience that is as similar to the real thing as possible. We have updated our BubbleScan OMR software to handle the more densely (bubble-) populated forms. We will be introducing two sets of forms, both will be available as PDFs for our customers to print themselves. Set one is set of 4 colored (red!) forms that have the look and feel of the real SAT forms. The answer letters are inside the bubbles. When these red forms are scanned, the scanner (and virtually all document scanners have this capability) will drop-out the red, leaving only the dark marks.
Click here to view the PDF of our new (red) practice SAT forms.
The second set is our ‘economy’ set, which can be printed on a regular laser printer in black/white. What makes this form ‘more like the real SAT form’ than what we currently offer, is that each multiple-choice section has 40 questions and pages 1-3 contain the GRID answer section.
Click here to view the PDF of our new economy practice SAT forms.
We are currently still working on updating the scoring spreadsheet. We can already handle the new forms, but our customers asked for a couple more enhancements. We are adding a Navigation or Home page. This page will be the starting point for the user. From here they can more easily navigate to the correct place in the spreadsheet to either perform a setup function (add/edit names list, answer key, or scale), begin the scanning process or add essay scores, or create a report (student report, summary report, analysis report).
These immediate updates to the spreadsheet will not alter the functionality of the current spreadsheet, but should make it easier to use the spreadsheet.
This is our Phase 1 and we plan to release this by the end of March.
Phase 2 … and this is where we could use additional input, will address the customers’ request for progress reports over time. Our customer would like to show the students and/or their parents – and of course use that information themselves to better focus their coaching – how individual students progress in individual areas, such as Math, Reading, Writing, but also more granular such as Algebra, Geometry, … or event more specific Triangle, Circles, …
We want to give our customers this level of reporting. We also had several tell us they would love to be able to share this kind of information online.
At this point, our plan is to create an online DB, where our customers can upload test data from our scoring spreadsheet and where they can track student performance over time. An online solution will also allow each student/parent/instructor to log in and view the data they are authorized to see.
This is our current Phase 2 and we plan to release this by the end of the Summer.
If you have comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them.