Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Parscore--Technology for Easier, More Accurate Grading

I used to spend a lot of time grading, but no more. The good people at Scantron developed a product that saves me a lot of time and provides more accurate grading for students. The product is Parscore. Because this post is going to sound like a commercial, I should mention that I'm not a stockholder in the company.

Here's how Parscore works. The Parscore grading service on my campus creates an electronic gradebook for me. After my students take their exams on the Parscore forms that they purchase at the university bookstore, I walk the forms over to the Parscore office where the Parscore staff grade them and record the results in my gradebook. It's all accomplished with a Scanmark scanner, a computer, and a sharp PC specialist who knows the Parscore software. The grades are provided to me in printed form and in a spreadsheet. It takes the Parscore office about 15 to 30 minutes to grade 300 exams, with zero errors in grading and in recording the grades. In the old days, it would always take me about two days to process 300 exams and then key in the students' names and grades into an Excel spreadsheet. I made a lot of mistakes, too. Parscore is a huge improvement for students and faculty. Like me, the faculty on my campus love the service. As a Jewish mother would say, "What's not to love?"

I was responsible for bringing the Parscore technology to our campus back in 1997 or so. When I took over direction of our Teaching and Learning Center in 2000 I was pleased to be able to oversee the growth of the use of Parscore by our faculty. By the time I left the director's chair in 2004, the center was grading over 200,000 exams a year. It was all done quickly and efficiently, saving thousands of hours of valuable faculty time every year. Parscore is a technology that pays for itself. I once wrote an economic analysis of our Parscore service that showed the value of faculty time saved was over $200,000 a year. Of course, since faculty are paid salaries, not hourly wages, the $200,000 in savings does not appear on the university's bottom line.

It's no wonder that when a faculty member from Algeria visited our center several years ago, his head was turned by the Parscore technology. He wasn't aware than anything like Parscore even existed. His mission in the U.S. was to visit faculty development centers and bring back to Algeria a model for the creation of a center on his campus. Judging from his enthusiasm for Parscore, it wouldn't surprise me if, indirectly at least, I was partially responsible for the sale of the ONLY Parscore system in Algeria that year!


Blogger Dr. Tammy said...

I wasn't aware that the ScanTron folks had advanced their business this far. Is their a website to read more about Parscore?

3:54 PM  
Blogger Paula Bustamante said...

I sure do give you credit for a job well done, not to mention the headache teacher's had back then.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Christie Davidson said...

I'm so glad we have parscore. It's nice to know what we made on a test the same day.

4:25 PM  
Blogger rosario said...

I'm sure professors appreciate the benefits of Parscore. No more endless hours of test grading. As for students, we appreciate quick exam grades.

10:56 PM  

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