Penn State University

Scanning Best Practices

Creating an Exam

When using the scanning system to score your exams, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • We have 2 types of sheets available:
    Half-sheet, 200 bubble responses with 5 choices
    Full-sheet, 105 bubble responses with 10 choices
  • The exam needs to have at least one question/response.
  • If you have an essay or project component to your exam, you can include an instructor graded score. This score cannot include extra credit.
  • You can have up to 10 different answer keys.
  • Submit a clean answer key for each version of the exam, each time you submit an exam. Multiple correct answers are allowed so it's important that there are no stray marks on the keys.
  • If you have multiple keys, you may wish to include a "Scramble key", which links the questions on the forms. This is only required if you wish to receive a "Combined Item Analysis" report. If you do not include a scramble key, you will still have individual item analysis reports for each key.
  • The scanning system has many options, but not every possible combination will work. We recommend going through the Scanning Request Form prior to creating your exam to see the options and information needed.


The system will automatically generate scores for your exam. The default is one point per question or you can select points according to the following guidelines. Additionally, the system will generate a report showing each answer given by the students so that you can use your own scoring system.

  • The minimum scanned item score is 1 (i.e. a student could receive 0 to 1 out of 1 points). The maximum score is 999.
  • To omit a question, set the question's point value to zero in the scoring profile.
  • Student Responses
    • The student must answer the question to get points.
    • Only one student response per question is allowed.
  • Correct/Incorrect Answers
    • Use a soft pencil (#2) on all bubbles (including keys).
    • To indicate correct answers, use the answer key and the scanning request form.
    • To allow more than one answer to be correct, bubble in all of the possible correct responses on the answer key.
    • You can assign partial credit to questions. On the answer key, bubble any response that is worth points and include a response weighting form to let us know which answers are partial credit.
    • You can assign questions as extra credit on the scanning request form. Extra credit can be "Add", which allows the score to exceed 100%, or "Replace", which only replaces a missed question.

Taking the test

Students should follow these guidelines while taking the exam.

  • Use a soft pencil (#2) on all bubbles.
  • You must answer the question to get points.
  • Only one answer per question may be bubbled in. Stray marks or incomplete erasure on the answer sheet may be interpreted as extra marks. Carefully erase any mistakes prior to submitting the exam.
  • Carefully fill out the student number and name. Student numbers that do not match LionPath roster data will be not be scanned. It is up to the discretion of the instructor regarding how to handle rejected sheets.

Submitting an Exam (to be scanned)

Use the Scanning Request Form to tell us how to process your exam. Include the printed form with the answer sheets and keys.

If your course has multiple sections in one exam, please choose the section combination for which you wish to organize your reports. For example, if you choose section 001L, you will receive all of your data in that one section. If you choose sections 001 to 010, some reports will be by section. See the Results for more information.

If you have an Instructor Graded Score, make sure to enter it and bubble in the score before you submit the exam. The system does not know the difference between an empty score and a zero score.

After the Scanning is Done

We will send an email to the instructor when we have completed the scanning process. We ask that you do not attempt to modify the exam using the Instructor Tools website until we send you the message.

As part of the request form, we ask how you would like to retrieve the scanned sheets. You may pick them up in the scanning office, or we can send them to your office by campus mail.

We will separate the sheets that have errors into two groups. Those with a yellow sheet note are sheets that have been scanned, but have a minor problem, like a double-mark. Sheets grouped with a pink note were not scanned. If the sheet was scanned, you can fix the error in Instructor Tools. If the sheet was not scanned, you may resubmit these sheets after making corrections.

The instructor can use the Instructor Tools web site to make changes to the keys, student responses or scoring of the exam.


The Instructor Tools web site provides the following reports for your exam.

  • Data Export = all sections
  • Canvas Export = all sections
  • Score Export = one file per section
  • Missed Response Analysis = one file per section
  • Answer Key Analysis = one file per form
  • Exam (Item) Analysis = all sections, one file per form or one file if you include scramble data

Scanning Links

Penn State University