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Scoring Scantrons

The following instructions are assuming you will use the autofeed Scantron machine in the AST lab of BioSci II (Room 5205) and the computer program scanTrax to score the exam.

Before scanning:

  • Sort the Scantron answer sheets by version.
  • Sort again by the first number of the student ID number within the version (e.g. make ten piles of Scantrons and then combine them in numeric order 0-9). This step is not absolutely necessary, but when you are trying to locate a Scantron (and you will be doing this) it makes the job extremely easy.


    • Have a formatted 3 1/2 disk to store your data. Use a disk with plenty of storage space.
    • Prepare the answer key. Note that scanTrax uses the ID number for identifying the answer keys of different versions.
	Version A: 199999999
	Version B: 299999999
	Version C: 399999999
	and so on through 5 versions.
  • Place the proper answer key on top of the scantrons or the test version to be scanned. Scantrons are run in batches by version. Because the Scantron machine simply reads the information off of the scantron and inserts it into a file, you can read the scantrons even if you do not yet have the answer key. When you get the key, open the raw data file created by the Scantron machine and type in the answer key ID number (see above) and the correct answers in the first line of the file. Note that because scanTrax actually scores the tests, you cannot score the test using scanTrax without the answer key.
  • Turn on the computer (switch is on the right).
  • Remove protective cover and turn on the Scantron machine (switch is in the back of the machine).
  • Insert disk into computer.

Read the scantrons

    • Choose A for Scanbook from the opening menu.
    • Using the right arrow key, move selection bar to “Process“.
    • Select “Read Forms“.
    • When prompted for Record Output File, backspace over C:scantron and replace it with A:filename. A .txt will automatically be added to your filename. Suggestions for filenames when using multiple versions or two test administration times:
   exam1a   exam1b   exam2a   exam2b   final2a   etc.

If you use a system for assigning file names, you can keep all of the files for the quarter on one disk without worrying about writing over files.

  • Press key 1 on the Scantron machine to move the loading platform (right side of machine) back into position for loading the scantrons. Load the Scantron forms, face up, answer key on top, with the left edge of the forms flush with the left edge of the platform.
  • Put the plastic guide on top of the scantrons. There is a small corner of the plastic that fits over the right edge of the platform. This guide provides the correct amount of tension to the scantrons for proper guidance through the machine.
  • Press key 1 on the Scantron machine again. This moves the platform back into position for reading.
  • Press F2 on the computer keyboard, then press Enter to view the list of forms.
  • Select F158.800
  • Press F3 to process the Scantron forms
  • Watch the screen as you are scanning the forms. Look for bad ID numbers and set aside for future reference these scantrons as they are discarded from the machine.
  • Press End on the Scantron reader when you are finished. Then press F-10 to Save the file of raw data to your disk.
  • To read multiple versions, select Read Forms as you did previously, then select F3 to process the forms. Continue this process until you have read all versions of your test (no need to choose the form type again).
  • Select Quit from the menu.


The function key F1 (reset) comes in handy sometimes when the Scantron computer is not cooperating.

The Scantron machine sometimes pulls a form through before you are ready to process or it does not process a form and displays an error on screen. In these cases, it has actually not read the data into memory. If this happens, move back the loading platform on the scantron machine and put the form back with the unread scantrons to be scanned.

Check for and correct incorrectly read ID numbers, wrong versions, and missing information:

Open up the raw data files (.txt files) for each version of the test to check for what appears to be incorrect ID numbers. For example:

		5 927387

You can do this in a number of programs, Excel is recommended for text files. Open the .txt file saved on your disk. Page down through the file and make sure each line of answers lines up with the other lines. If your last question of the exam is a version letter, this is a good time to check for scantrons that were scanned under the wrong version.

Go back to the Scantrons (aren’t you glad you organized them?) and try to locate the Scantrons that are related to the problem. Make the proper corrections in the raw data files (.txt). Note that it is not necessary to run these Scantrons through the Scantron machine again. If you have a number of scantrons that were scanned under the wrong version, you can open the two files and cut and paste the IDs and responses. BE SURE TO MAKE THE CHANGES IN THE ORIGINAL RAW DATA FILE (.txt) BEFORE MOVING ON TO SCORING WITH scanTrax.

Scoring Exams Using scanTrax

When you have all of the corrections made in the raw data files (.txt files), open scanTrax and score the tests.

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