OMR

The Optical Mark Reader (OMR) Exam system translates the dots students pencil in on special sheets of paper into data and marks each student's exam against an answer key provided by the instructor. A variety of reports and data files are produced and returned with the original sheets to the instructor.

Overview

Exam Scanning Drop-off Location DSB B111

Exam scanning services drop-off location is at Media Production Services located at the DeGroote School of Business, DSB B111.

Clients will be contacted when scanning has been completed and packages are ready for pick up from Media Production Services. For inquiries and updates regarding submitted OMR packages, please call MPS at x24446.

OMR Services is a high speed information processing system that grades and records the results of multiple choice tests and questionnaires. This is achieved through a scanner reading pre-recorded answers on specially designed answer sheets with special software interpreting the data taken from the scanner.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

This March, McMaster University will replace much of its current student administration systems, including MUGSI and SOLAR, with a new system as part of Mosaic. As a result, MPS and UTS are working towards implementing a new and upgraded OMR scanning system in time for the summer 2015 term startup. This upgrade is necessary due to the replacement of the student number with a new, nine-digit Person ID, and further changes made to class information data as part of the new Mosaic student administration system.

http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/article/meet-the-new-person-id/

New Scantron forms supporting the new nine-digit person ID will be available for departments to order from MPS in April, 2015. Use of the existing seven-digit Scantron forms will be discontinued effective May 1st, 2015.

Please note that we will not accept returns or exchanges of the older seven-digit student ID Scantron forms during this transition.

For further information please contact 24446.

Tests & Examinations

Limitations

The scanning software does have a few limitations that you need to be aware of:

  • If a respondent does not clearly erase an answer before changing it, the scanner may read this as a multiple answer and report an error. This can be avoided by educating students on how to fill in their answers, stressing to students to clearly and fully erase answers when changing them.
  • The scanner only reads HB lead pencil marks. Pen, marker and nonHB lead are not readable. The scanner will produce an error message when processing sheets filled with these kinds of marks. This can be avoided by ensuring that students use HB pencils when filling out their response sheets.
  • There is a limit of five possible choices to a single question. The response sheets for tests have five possible options per question.
  • The software is capable of processing only one response per question on the answer key. The weighted file may be used to give credit for a second answer also deemed to be correct or to give part marks for answers other than the correct answer.

Enhancements

The process of replacing the hardware and software that is used to scan examination sheets has made it possible to look for ways to enhance the service for customers.

The following enhancements have been incorporated into the system:

  • Multiple versions with amalgamated results
  • Zero out questions, including in multiple versions
  • Exception or difference reporting, identifying:
    • Student IDs in the Registrar's class list for whom there is NO MARK
    • Student IDs NOT in the Registrar's class list for whom there is a mark
    • Duplicate student IDs (with sequence number in original scan)
    • For multiple versions, student IDs where version could not be determined
  • Reports in printerindependent format returned on CD only. Result reports will not be printed but files will be copied onto CD's provided by the faculty.
  • Scores in spreadsheetready file format, also WebCT and Gradebook specific data files
  • Weighted questions and answers, based on customersupplied file

Submissions

Steps to Follow

When submitting tests for scanning:

  1. Fill out the Request form. A sample request form and answer sheets with instructions can be found here.
  2. Prepare the student response sheets: right side up, timing marks on the same side, no extra paper or post-it notes, no paper clips or staples. When using multiple versions, make sure the version number is coded on each student's sheet.
  3. Prepare the paper answer key(s) or prepare a weighted file on a CD. Label them or it clearly.
  4. Put the answer key(s) on CD with weighted file and the student response sheets in an envelope, include a blank CD if you are not using a weighted file, and seal the envelope. Attach the Request form to the envelope.
  5. Submit your test to Media Production Services (DSB B111).
  6. Turnaround times for tests fluctuate depending on the time of year and can be up to 5 business days during exams. Please check with the OMR Technician for current turnaround times.

The Request form identifies exam information such as course name, Instructors contact info, and version information. The Request form can be downloaded or blank forms are available in DSB B111.

Please clearly PRINT all the necessary information on the Request form. Select the options that are applicable for the test you are submitting.

A sample request form and answer sheets with instructions can be found here.

  • Make sure all the response sheets are right side up and that the timing marks are on the same side.
  • Remove all blank answer sheets, other pieces of paper, paper clips, staples and post-it notes.
  • Check that the student numbers are all bubbled in or they will be rejected and instructors will have to mark by hand.
  • Paper answer keys are optional if you supply a weighted file (details.) When you use a paper answer key, clearly print the course information on the answer key and indicate that it is an "answer key". If you are using multiple versions, print the version number on the answer key, too.
  • If the test includes weighted questions or answers then a Weighted File must be supplied.
  • If you supply a Weighted File, you do not need to supply paper answer keys.
  • The Weighted File is a text file in a specific format. An Excel spreadsheet is available to help you prepare the weighted file in the right format. See details.
  • Please put the answer key(s) on top of the response sheets and into in a sealed envelope.
  • Include a CD for the reports (please note that we do not accept USB drives due to security concerns). Attach the Request form to the envelope.
  • Multiple versions do not need to be sorted into versions; they will be returned unsorted, too. (See details.) Submit to DSB B111.
  • Provide a CD to store all the reports and data files (please note that we do not accept USB drives due to security concerns).

Weighted Questions/Answers

By default the system gives a student one mark for each right answer and all other answers are considered incorrect with a mark of zero. A paper answer key is typically used for this marking scheme.

However, the OMR exam system allows for instructors to weight questions, answers or both using a "weighted file". If the test has weighted questions or answers then a weighted file must be supplied instead of a paper answer key for the test to be processed correctly.

  1. Chose a template below and click on the link to open the file in a new window.
  2. Select all the text in the new window. (Ctrl A)
  3. Copy the text. (Ctrl C)
  4. Open Notepad or another text editor on your computer and paste(Ctrl V) the text into the editor.
  5. Save the file on your computer with a .txt extension.
  6. See Creating the Weighted File for instructions on how to import it into Excel.

Templates

1 Version
     
25 questions 100 questions    

4 Versions
     
25 questions 50 questions 75 questions 100 questions
       

* Templates may be modified to add or remove extra questions and versions as needed. A space is required between versions. Do NOT change header information of the weighted file.

With weighted questions, only one answer per question is correct, but questions can be worth different amounts as assigned by the instructor

Example:
Question 1: Answer B = 2 marks (all other answers = 0)
Question 2: Answer D = 4 marks (all other answers = 0)
For example, the answer to question 1 is worth 2 marks; the answer to question 2 is worth 4 marks.

With weighted answers, one answer is correct, but other answers could be worth part marks as assigned by the instructor.

Example:
Question 1:
A = 1 mark
B = 0.5 marks
C = 0.3 marks
D = 0 marks

In the example above, the answers to question 1 is A and is worth 1 mark; answer B is worth half a mark or 0.5; answer C is worth 0.3 of a mark; answer D is worth 0 marks.

  • With the weighted file, it is easy for the instructor to allow more than one right answer to a question.
  • Although most instructors may not usually want to do this, in situations where a second answer to a question is determined to be correct after the exam has been written, the instructor can allow both answers by providing a weighted file that shows this.
  • The OMR exam system reads only one answer per question (the first bubble filled out).
  • If the student bubbles in more than one response to a question, it will be reported as an error and flagged with an asterisk (*).
  • If a student changes his/her mind and incompletely erases the first choice before or after bubbling in another choice, the scanner may detect the incomplete erasure and report a multiple response flagged with an asterisk (*).
  • five versions, 100 questions per version, 5 answers per question (like the student's response sheet)
  • values are comma-separated
  • for each version a header line with the word "Version", followed by the version number and four more empty fields separated by commas, e.g. Version,1,,,, The header line is followed by a caption line: "Question:,A,B,C,D,E".
  • for each question a line with the question number and a zero for each answer, e.g. 1,0,0,0,0,0. (You will replace some of the zeros by weighting values.)
  • As a flat text file with comma-separated values, part of the template file looks like this:

    Template File as Text 
  • After creating the text file, open Excel
  • Open the .txt file you just created
  • In Excel, open the txt file and follow the steps below to create a delimited file:
  • The Excel Text Import Wizard will automatically start.
  • Select Delimited. 

    (hover over image for expanded image) 

    Step 1
  • Click the Next> button
  • Select Comma (only) 

    (hover over image for expanded image) 

    Step 1
  • Click the Next> button
  • Choose General then click on the Finish button 

    (hover over image for expanded image)


    Step 1
  • In the Save As dialog box, choose CSV format as the "Save as type". Name the file as you wish and click Save.
  • If you use another spreadsheet, use a similar procedure, saving the file in a format that produces a flat text file with comma separated values.
  • In Microsoft Excel, part of the template file looks like this:

    (hover over image for expanded image)

    Step 1
  • The OMR system is limited to 5 versions, and the versions must be in sequence starting with 1.
  • Provide the weight for each answer for each question, in order from A through E. Supply 5 answers after the question number, separated by commas, whether zero or not, e.g. 2,0,0,1,0,0 (i.e. for question 2, the right answer is C which is worth 1 mark)
  • Unused questions may be left as they are (#,0,0,0,0,0) or deleted. For example if you have only 30 questions on your test, fill in the weights for the answers to the first thirty questions, and leave the rest of the questions with weights as 0,0,0,0,0 or fill in the weights for the first thirty questions and delete the other lines in that version.
  • Unused versions may be left in the file or deleted.

Multiple Versions

  • The OMR Exam system is capable of processing up to five versions of a quiz or exam.
  • Instructors can choose to use multiple versions of the exam which will require multiple answer keys.
  1. Version Field: Indicate the version by bubbling in the appropriate version # in the version column directly on the answer sheet.
  2. Version Question: Indicate the version by using a specified question on the answer sheet (ex. Question # 1 will be used to indicate the version #). In addition, some instructors choose to have the version question deleted while others give the students the mark. If the question is to be deleted, it must be indicated on the OMR Request Form accompanying the exams.
  • The OMR technician will select the appropriate setting within the OMR system to indicate where to find the version #.
  • Student responses will be marked according to the version specified on his/her response sheet.
  • If the OMR exam system cannot determine which version the answer sheet corresponds to i.e. the version is not marked or is illegible, it will be noted on the Student Difference Report (see sample). The particular answer sheet will not be marked and it will not be included with the other reports.
  • First and foremost all exams must be facing burgundy side up with the timing marks (bar code) all facing in the same direction. If the exams are not properly sorted they will not be processed until your department sorts them accordingly.
  • The exam sheets do not have to be sorted into versions before processing.
  • Some faculties provide the exams pre-sorted and separated with elastic bands. If this is the case then the OMR Technician will feed the exams in as pre-sorted and they will be returned as they were delivered.
  • The faculty should indicate if the sorted exams should be scanned separately resulting in independent reports for each sort, or altogether as one report.
  • Scantron paper answer keys are primarily used, unless you have weighted questions or answers. If this is the case then a weighted file must be supplied. (See details.)
  • When using a Scantron paper answer key, clearly write the word "answer key", along with the "course information" and the "version number" ex. Version 1 of 5.
  • Using the OMR Request form, indicate whether you are using the version field column or a particular question to differentiate between versions.
  • If you are using a specific question, write the number in the version question box.
  • The question used to show the version must be the same question number in each version.
  • If you are deleting the version question, indicate it on the request form under the zero out or delete section.
  • Keep all answer keys on the top of the exam sheets with the OMR Request Form.
  • Provide a CD upon drop-off. We do not accept USB keys due to security (virus) concerns.
  • Reports are system generated once the exam scan has completed. The OMR technician will copy the reports onto the CD provided by the faculty.
  • Click this link sample rep to preview the reports generated.

Reports

Samples

Sample Data Files

  • Raw Data (e.g. 17FEB2004SCAN1A06.dlm) - tab delimited, no answer key(s)
    Format: ID, version (for multiple versions ONLY), answers (* for multiple responses, no character for no response)
    For a single version exam, this format is compatible with the raw data format supplied with the previous OMR exam system.
  • Raw Data with Answer Keys (e.g. ExamRawData.csv) - comma separated, answer key(s)
    Format: one line identifying course, blank line, answer key(s) in version order, blank line, student responses (ID, version (always shown), answers (* for multiple responses, - for no response)

Student Scores

Viewing & Printing OMR Reports

The OMR reports are viewable in Mozilla Firefox, Netscape 6.x and higher, and in Internet Explorer 5.5 and higher. They may also be viewable in other Web browsers.

  1. Use Print Preview to preview the pages you intend to print to see if they are well sized and positioned. You can change the scale of the page you are previewing in the Print Preview screen, but it does not affect the size of the text on the printed page. If you are satisfied with what you see previewed, you can print from this screen.
    Step 1
  2. If are not satisfied alter margins within Page Setup.
    Step 2
  3. For more information go to the Firefox Help Page. (Help > Help Contents) Enter the search criteria for the knowledge base.
    Step 3

Do you need to print?
You may find you don't need to print all or any of the OMR reports since they are readily available for browsing with these Web browsers. This can help with security and control, as well as reducing the amount of paper used. Please consider the option of not printing!

The OMR reports are viewable in Mozilla Firefox, Netscape 6.x and higher, and in Internet Explorer 5.5 and higher. They may also be viewable in other Web browsers.

  1. Use Print Preview to preview the pages you intend to print to see if they are well sized and positioned. You can change the scale of the page you are previewing in the Print Preview screen, but it does not affect the size of the text on the printed page. If you are satisfied with what you see previewed, you can print from this screen.
    Step 1
  2. To change the page layout, choose the Page Setup option in the File menu. Here you can set the paper size, paper orientation and size of the margins, and control the information printed in the header and footer of the page. For help with the abbreviations used in the header and footer, look in the index of the Internet Explorer help file under "headers, printing Web pages", which also provides other help with changing how a Web page looks when it is printed.
    Step 2
  3. To change the size of the text in the page you are browsing, choose the Text Size option in the View menu. This change also affects the size of the text when you print the page. Check the page in Print Preview to see whether you like the results.
    Step 3
  4. Changing the font can also change the size and appearance of the text. You make this change through the Internet Options option in the Tools menu. Click the Fonts button at the bottom of the General tab to select from a list of available fonts. There is no way to choose the size of the font.
    Step 4

Do you need to print?
You may find you don't need to print all or any of the OMR reports since they are readily available for browsing with these Web browsers. This can help with security and control, as well as reducing the amount of paper used. Please consider the option of not printing!

The OMR reports are viewable in Mozilla Firefox, Netscape 6.x and higher, and in Internet Explorer 5.5 and higher. They may also be viewable in other Web browsers.

If the OMR pages appear as gibberish or do not appear in Netscape, use a later version of Netscape or use Internet Explorer.

Netscape provides help with printing Web pages in its help file. Note that the size (and other characteristics) of the printed page, not the size of the onscreen window, determines placement of content on the printed page. Text is wrapped and graphics are repositioned to accommodate paper size.

  1. Step 1Use Print Preview to preview the pages you intend to print to see if they are well sized and positioned. In the Print Preview screen, you can also change the scale and so the size of the page, change the direction of the page between Portrait (default) and Landscape (sideways), go to Page Setup for further customizations, and, when you're ready, Print.
  2. Step 2There are further details about Page Setup in the Netscape Help file. Note that the changes you make to Page Setup through the Print Preview screen and the Page Setup screen persist after you close those screens. If you don't want all your Netscape pages to be printed in the way you've set them up for the OMR pages, change the settings back when you're done.
  3. Step 3Changing the font and the size of the font can also change the size and appearance of the text. You make this change through the Preferences option in the Edit menu. The extended features of "Appearances" allow you to choose which font is used by default. Note that other pages will be affected by this change. There is more help with this feature in the Netscape help file: search for "font" and then look for the topics "Changing Fonts, Colors, and Themes" and "Fonts".

Compare Reports

New Reports (Samples) Compare to Sample Reports from the Previous OMR Exam System:
Exam Statistics (StatisticsReport.html) Statistics [Test] - close up
Student Differences (Exceptions)(ExceptionReport.html) (no equivalent)
Student Marks and Responses(StudentsReport.html)
Sample with Multiple Versions
Scores [Group] with names and Student Response Report
Marks for Posting (PostedMarksReport.html) Scores [Group] without names
Question Statistics (QuestionStatistics.html)
Sample with Multiple Versions
Statistics [Question]
Weights for Questions & Answers(WeightedReport.html) 
Sample with Multiple Versions
(no equivalent)