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Aug 10, 2004

DRS streamlines student assessment at the University of Bristol

Data capture technology used to simplify procedures, speed up and improve accuracy of data collection.

DRS has announced the successful implementation of its sophisticated data capture technology to ensure the University of Bristol is able to obtain results from thousands of student exam papers much quicker than before. Using the latest Optical Mark Reading (OMR) technology, the University of Bristol is now able to electronically capture data from a number of key assessments used in the Medical, Veterinary and Engineering faculties and it will soon be used in other departments across the University.

The University is now saving as much as £500,000 a year on grading assessments, time, money and resource that has now been diverted to accommodating more students and fund more research.

Due to the dramatic increase in the intake of students in recent years, the University required a more streamlined method of processing student Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) assessments. The processing of these assessments was traditionally carried out by the University departments themselves, either by hand or by using a conventional scanner. However, these approaches were prone to error and time-consuming for the staff involved.

The University then purchased a CD800 Optical Mark Reader, a unique and sophisticated high-speed scanner designed by DRS, and housed it within its own Print Services - a centralised support service utilised by other departments throughout the university, to free up resource within the individual faculties. Specialist, multi-purpose forms were designed and produced by DRS specifically for the University. The University now offers an in-house scanning service to any department that wants to undertake a MCQ assessment.

“Almost immediately departments saw the considerable cost and time savings this service provided, making the assessment procedure more streamlined and beneficial to both students and lecturers”, commented Phil Langton, senior lecturer, University of Bristol. “Making the OMR service available to all departments has opened up a range of possibilities for this technology within the University.”

The DRS CD800 automatic OMR works by automatically scanning the assessment forms at a rate of 125 forms per minute through a sophisticated scanner head which recognises the marks on the page and securely records them to disk. This data is then sent back to the relevant department for analysis and archive.

“After a successful pilot scheme, the University of Bristol is pioneering the use of OMR technology in capturing higher education exam and assessment data”, commented Tony Lee managing director, DRS. “Historically it would have taken up to two days to manually mark a typical MCQ assessment, but using this leading edge, high speed equipment, turnaround can be as little as 15 minutes; drastically streamlining the bureaucracy involved and allowing the University to free up already strained resources.”

DRS designs, manufactures and distributes a wide range of sophisticated data capture technology to process data quickly, accurately and securely. Its next generation examination processing and marking solutions are already successfully improving the marking process and providing a wealth of added value in management information for further, higher and adult education establishments and assessment and professional bodies. DRS has over three decades experience in working with the national and worldwide examinations and assessment market, including national examination bodies, universities, schools and professional institutions.

Rekha Voralia 
DRS Press Office
Tel: +44(0)1908 423760