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Automated Scoring of Multiple-Choice Tests

Instructional Consultation offers instructors access to sophisticated test scoring software and hardware for scoring and subsequent analysis of multiple-choice tests. The purpose is to provide tools and information leading to the improvement of tests as measures of the outcomes of instruction.

The Simple Approach

Simple, easy-to-use scanners (Scantron half-sheet readers) are available in multiple locations on campus to score multiple choice exams, for the many situations in which all that is necessary is a score of the total number of correct responses by each student (and, optionally, a marking of which specific responses were correct and incorrect). Two such scanners are located in Kerr Hall (Room 1124, 893-4278), which typically is open 9:00-12:00 and 1:00-5:00. These scanners use “half sheet” forms which are readily available for student purchase in the Bookstore, the Arbor, and other locations on campus and in Isla Vista.

The ParScore Option

OIC’s test scoring system (ParScore) is not especially complex, but its use does require some familiarity with: handling of mark-sense response sheets, operation of an optical scanner, obtaining electronic enrollment rosters, operation of software that manipulates the scanned data, and interpretation of item analysis results. It is typical that OIC staff must provide some familiarization and orientation to those using the system for the first time.

ParScore requires that students respond on particular forms, the ParScore sheets, also referred to as the pink scantron forms. The ParScore sheets are available in two sizes: 8 1/2 x 11 inch (full sheet) and 4 1/4 x 11 inch (half sheet), both containing a maximum of 200 questions.

In order to provide service to as many instructors as possible, we have developed the following guidelines.

  • Operation of the scanning system must be done by faculty members, TAs, or other authorized representatives of the course, department or program involved. OIC cannot afford to do the scanning for you.
  • OIC will provide training only once for each course per quarter, typically to one person who will do all the scanning and scoring for the involved course(s). Particularly encouraged are approaches in which one person is responsible for test scoring for many courses. We encourage discussion of how this sort of arrangement may work best in specific situations.
  • Access to the scoring system is on a scheduled basis. Drop-ins are sometimes possible, but advance scheduling is strongly recommended (call 893-4278 or 893-2972). The basic principle is “first-requested, first-scheduled.”
  • The primary justification for using the ParScore system is its item analysis capabilities, which enable informed decisions about individual test questions. Manipulation of class rosters, rescoring of tests, and other information management capabilities are certainly helpful and convenient, but are not by themselves sufficient justification for using ParScore – there are many inexpensive or freeware course management software packages that can address those needs. We will be glad to help you identify long-term solutions to your needs

For further information and assistance:

Test Scoring Assistant
Instructional Development

Available DownloadsSize
Example_ParScore_FullSheet.pdf707.1 KB
Example_ParScore_HalfSheet.pdf235.82 KB
Example_Scantron_Form_882-E.pdf188.4 KB

consultation contacts

George Michaelsexecutive director2130 Kerr Hall
lisa berrysenior instructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
mindy colininstructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
Mary Lou Ramos database and ESCI administrator1130 Kerr Hall
TBD ESCI assistant1124 Kerr Hall


Laurel Shaddixoffice manager 1130 Kerr Hall
faxfax: 805-893-5915