Jul 13

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06. Digital Scantrons with Google Docs

I can recall a time when I took stacks of quizzes home to grade.  Hundreds of papers. An answer key.  A red ball point pen.  I’d say aloud, “A, C, D, B, C, B, A,” etc. until I had the key memorized.  (Some tests that I created, I made easier to grade by spelling words with the answer key (BAD DAD).  Most of us who have been teaching a while have hand graded many tests.  Then our schools got a scantron machine.  It made our lives easier.  Put the paper through the machine and voila! the test is graded.  What could be better?  I’m glad I asked.  Paperless scantrons.  That’s right.  I’ve been using Google Documents to create and grade quizzes.  I have used a few different forms created by other users.  I’ve also created some on my own.  It’s fairly easy.

Ten Reasons I like using Google Docs digital scantrons:

  1. No paper!
  2. Access from any device with an internet connection.
  3. Results are automatically graded and sorted.
  4. Results can be exported if you prefer to sort them in another program (i.e. Excel spreadsheet).
  5. Graphs and charts are automatically generated from the results.
  6. Forms can be their own web page or embedded into an existing web page.
  7. Your Google account is secure (unless someone figures out your log-in info).
  8. Docs can be easily shared with other teachers.
  9. It’s free!
  10. Autosave.

Here’s a tutorial I created:

Another tutorial (by quiz-creator.com)  can be found here:  Making Online Quizzes with Google Docs

I hope Digital Scantrons make your life easier.  Do you know of any other digital scantron equivalent to Google Docs?

I’ve used Edusoft’s Assessment Management System (Riverside Publishing) at two different school districts.  I found it to be slow and cumbersome to navigate (not to mention, expensive for your district).  That’s why I use prefer to use Google Docs over Edusoft.  What do you think?

Permanent link to this article: http://mulloverthings.com/2011/07/06-digital-scantrons-with-google-docs/


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  1. Benjamin Dalgas

    Thanks for the tutorial on self-grading quizzes using Google docs. I really like this tool. I like that Google forms can be used to collect a wide variety of information in addition to classic multiple choice feedback.

    I found this useful tip for making the data in a google spreadsheet easier to view once it is collected from Google forms. I thought you might be interested. It converts the information to a top to bottom view instead of left to right. I think this format makes longer answers a bit easier to read. Thanks again. See Tip Here

    1. Anonymous

      Thanks for your response, and sharing the very useful tip! Tammy Worcester’s website is a great resource for tech tips.

  2. Youssef Elias

    Matt, Thanks for showing my Digital Scantron. Great Job.
    -Youssef Elias

    1. Matt Hurst

      Thanks for creating such a fabulous assessment tool!

  3. Ben

    I work in a school where computers are feared. So I would love to use this, but it would need to be done without student access to a computer. I’d love to find a way to auto-import paper copies by scanning them…

    1. Matt Hurst

      I know there are some companies with scanners that electronically grade plain paper tests (such as Edusoft), but they’re very expensive. It might be worth trying to change the culture of your school so that computers are no longer “feared”. How can you prepare students for careers in the digital age when computer technology isn’t integrated into the learning environment?

  4. Toby K

    Wow…that totally DOES not work. Talk about a frustrating waste of time.

    1. Matt Hurst

      Sorry! This post is about 3 years old. I need to update the information.

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