How to Use a Scantron Machine

Written by tessica cutchin
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How to Use a Scantron Machine
Scantron supplies offer an efficient way to grade tests. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

With standardised testing stressed more and more in school systems everywhere, many teachers turn to Scantrons to test and teach testing strategies. Scantron tests utilise a multiple-choice answer sheet that feeds through a machine reading each testing paper for correct and incorrect answers and providing test results for teachers. Before scanning students' test papers, the teacher must scan an answer key, to which the Scantron machine compares students' answers. Teachers can have incorrect answers marked and score display options. Surveys and ballot tabulation are also performed with a Scantron.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Scantron machine
  • Scantron answer key
  • Scantron answer sheets

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  1. 1

    Turn the Scantron machine's power on.

  2. 2

    Prepare the Scantron answer key with a regular answer sheet prepared with correct answers and the scoring program you desire filled in. Don't forget to always fill in the number 5 to indicate that this sheet is your answer key. If you plan on using both sides of a scantron sheet, you must have filled in 5 in the program key on both sides of the answer key and fed side one followed immediately by side two.

  3. 3

    Feed the students' answer keys into the machine right to left with the black keying marks downward. To score both sides you must feed sides one and two of the same student's sheet consecutively. You may not score all of the first sides and then all of the second sides of the student's answer sheets to receive a comprehensive score of both sides. Scoring all of the same sides separately provides individual scores of each side.

  4. 4

    Remove the students' answer forms and feed an Items Analysis form through to receive data of students' test performance. Teachers receive a class average and number of students who missed each question. Use data for necessary review of content that students have missed or to decide the validity of questions or their wording.

  5. 5

    Turn off your Scantron machine. If you wish to score a second, different test, you must turn of the machine between each scoring session and repeat the process each time.

Tips and warnings

  • Scantrons function as ballot and survey counters as well by choosing program key 4, filling in bubbles 3 and 5, and choosing the number of sheets between 1 and 999. After feeding ballots or surveys through, feed a tally sheet through. If you have more than 999 sheets, you must restart the machine and use a second tally sheet for the next set of ballot or survey sheets.

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