Using scanTrax

Use scanTrax after reading the scantrons with the Scanbook program on the Scantron machine. The data output files from Scanbook are text files; these files will have a .txt extension.

Example format of a text file from the Scanbook program:

19999999  BCABCACBABDDCDCCEBABCABCECBEEAEAC                             

scanTrax is currently available on the G: drive of the computer with the Scantron machine in the AST lab or on Darwin.

For the Scantron computer:

  1. From the Applications menu on the Scantron computer, choose exit.
  2. At the DOS prompt (G:HOMESCANTRON>), type in CD scanTrax.
  3. At the next prompt (G:HOMESCANTRONSCANTRAX>), type in scanTrax .

To access scanTrax from Darwin:

  1. Open the Rapid Filer icon and copy the text files from your disk to your file space in Darwin.
  2. Log onto Darwin with your usual login and password.
  3. Type in scanTrax (in the upper and lower cases shown).

You will see the following menu:

	1.  Score Exams.
	2.  Merge Midterm Scores for Cumulative Scores File
	3.  Calculate Scores Distribution.
	4.  Assign Grades.
	5.  Merge Class Roster with Class Summary File.
	9.  Help - explain menu choices.
	0.  Exit Program.

To Score Exams: choose menu option 1.

Follow the prompts and fill in the proper file names (Example: a:exam1a.txt, a:exam1b.txt).

If you make a mistake at a prompt, return through the remaining prompts and start again at the menu.

Answering yes at the prompt

Create a file with scores from all versions combined?

gives you the test scores file with all ID numbers from all versions (a .sls file), which you normally will want.

scanTrax takes the text files that were created by the Scantron machine when it read the scantrons and, by using the first line of data as the answer key, scores the exams.

The corrected responses file (.scn) created in this step contains the same information that the text file contained, with the score for each Scantron added to it.

Additionally, ID numbers are sorted in numerical order and the answer responses are altered to reflect correct (upper case) and incorrect (lower case) responses.

Once all versions of a test are scored, scanTrax creates a file of all test scores (.sls) by combining the ID numbers and scores from all of the versions scored.

This file contains the students’ ID numbers, in numerical order, and a score for each student who took the exam.

Additionally, a file with question statistics (.qst) for each version and a file containing test statistics (.sst) have been created with this step.

The .qst file contains the questions, by number, with the number of students who correctly answered each question.

The .sst file contains the number of students who scored each test score and a cumulative percentage of students, in descending order, from the highest score to the mean, and in ascending order, from the lowest score to the mean.

This information, with a histogram that can easily be created from this file in a spreadsheet program such as Excel, can be used to establish criteria to assign letter grades to specific scores.

Example output names for:

corrected responses files:   exam1a.scn, exam1b.scn
question statistics:         exam1a.qst, exam1b.qst, etc.

The file name of the last version you name in any option is used for naming the output files for the total class information:

	Class statistics is 	exam1b.sst
	Test Scores is 		exam1b.sls
	Class Summary scores	finalB.sum

Format of a .scn response file:

ID_NUM   SCORE	       ANSWERS                       		

700705    19    eaABCcCceB DDacCedBdB dABbdCBcEA EAC
1297200   22    BCABCACeAe bbecCCEcdB dABbdCBEEA EAC
 ... etc.

Format of a .qst file:

Question Statistics

ques#	#stu
1	 65
2	 85
3	 59		... etc.

Format of a .sst file:

Scores Statistics									ID_NUM 	MID1	MID2	SUM

score	#stu	 sum	 % top/bottm
  0	  0	   0	    0.0	
  1	  0	   0	    0.0	
  2	  3	   3	   -0.8	
  3	  6	   9	   -2.3	
  4	 17	  26	   -6.6	
... etc.

Format of a .sls file:

13385	 23
98291	 27
131662	 18
2359867	 29
3234591	 20
... etc.

Format of a .sum file:

700705	 19	 19	 38
1068743	  7	 26	 33
1534484	 18	 14	 32
1872808	  6	 26	 32
1913642	 20	 22	 42
1978353	 15	 26	 41
... etc.

scanTrax will also show, on screen, any incorrectly read ID number entries it detects. Write these numbers down for future reference.

If you have ID numbers that were incorrectly read or any othercorrections to make, make them now in the raw data files (.txt) by using Excel or Word (see previous directions “Check for and correct incorrect ID numbers, etc.), then, rescore the exams by choosing option 1 again in scanTrax>.

Rescoring with scanTrax will only take a few seconds and will save time later if you have to regrade the exam (i.e., there were two correct responses to a question).

Take the files .scn, .sls, .qst, and .sst and open them in Word or Excel (we recommend Excel). You will be able to make histograms for posting and determine grade distribution and print out the documents you want to post or will want for your reference.

The next thing you will want to do is check the question statistics files (.qst) to make sure a sufficient number of students answered each question correctly. A very low number may indicate either an incorrect answer key or a bad question.

Important Note: The crucial file to retain for future use is the .sls file. You will use this file later to merge with other files to get a total of combined test scores.

Therefore, make “after-posting” corrections in the .txt files and rescore with option 1 to create a perfect .sls file, or make score corrections in the .sls file itself (a slightly more hazardous procedure if you ever need to rescore the exams).

Merge Midterm Scores: choose menu option 2.

This option willl merge .sls files together to get the total of several exam scores for each student.

Choose this option to get a total final score. This file does not necessarily need to be printed, but it serves as a mid-term preparation for the final grades assignment or as an indicator to the students of their relative standing in the class before the final.

By using a grade assignment file that you create (see option 4 for details), you can assign grades to the total scores in the class summary file after any exam. Follow the prompts and fill in the appropriate file names.

Example: Merge exam1b.sls with exam2b.sls and finalB.sls to get a combined total of midterm scores with final scores: finalB.sum.

Calculate Scores Distribution: choose menu option 3.

Once you merge midterm scores, you may want to see how the combined test scores are distributed. Choose option 3, enter the name of the class summary file (.sum) you just created with option 2. This will give you a histogram similar to the one created when you chose option 1 to score a single test.

Example: Input file: finalB.sum; output file: finalB.hst.

Format of a .hst file:

Scores Statistics

score	  #stu	 % top/bottm
   20	    2	   -5.1
   22	    4	   -5.9
   24	    4	   -6.7
   26	    7	   -8.2
   28	   12	  -10.6
   30	   16	  -13.9
   32	   18	  -17.6

Open this file in a spreadsheet program, like Excel, to print it. By choosing the first 2 columns, you can make a bar chart for your students to use to gauge their performance against that of the entire class. Refer to the documentation for your spreadsheet program for further instructions.

Assigning Grades: choose menu option 4.

By using a grade assignment file that you create, scanTrax will assign grades to the test scores.

Make a grading assignment file for scanTrax to read.

This is easily done in Excel:
The first column contains the letter grade to be assigned. The second column contains the lowest score limit for the corresponding letter grade. The third column contains the highest score limit for that letter grade.

Example of a grading assignment file:

	A	91	100
	B	82	 90
	C+	79	 81
	C	74	 78

Therefore, an A would be any score from 91 to 100, a B would be any score from 82 to 90, and a C+ would be any score from 79 to 81, etc.

Important: This file must be saved in the text file (.txt) format.

Grades are quickly assigned with scanTrax . Make sure you have merged mid-term and final grade scores (.sls files) into a class summary file (.sum file), this is option 2. Choose option 4 and type in the name of the grade assignment file (.txt file) that you created (see above) and your class summary file (.sum or your .sls file if you are assigning letter grades to scores from a single exam) at the prompts.


Grade assignment file: fingrade.txt;
class summary file: finalB.sum;
output file (graded summary file): finalB.gsm

Format of a graded summary file (.gsm):

700705	 19	 19	 38	  B
1068743	  7	 26	 33	  C
1534484	 18	 14	 32	  C
1913642	 20	 22	 42	  A
1978353	 15	 26	 41	  A
... etc.

Combine Class Roster with Grade File (or Score file): choose 5.

The class summary file with grades can be merged with the class roster received from the registrar’s office via egrades.

This process can be used to identify incorrect or missing ID numbers and to submit final grades to the registrar via egrades.

This option will merge the class roster (.txt) that you obtain through egrades (see page 9) with the graded summary file (.gsm), the result of choosing option 4 above).

This is the file you will use to submit grades through email (.cls file). Non-matching ID numbers will be indicated on the screen by scanTrax. Be sure that your file is in the proper column format before attempting to submit to egrades.


Class roster file: bio71.txt;
graded summary file: finalB.gsm;
Output file: bio71.cls.

Format of a class roster received from the registrar’s office (names altered):

Roster for course code = 03240
IDNUMBER  NAME                         UNITS  OPTION  GRADE	
0098291   "AXXX,MXXX AXXXXX      "      4       GR	
0131662   "ABXXXX,SXXXA          "      4       GR	
0700705   "AXN,XXXXXRLY          "      4       GR	
1817166   "ANXXXXS,MXXXXX XXXXZ  "      4       GR	
1872808   "AXXXNIO,XXXXXY JXXX   "      4       GR

You can also combine midterm exam scores (.sls) with the class roster file (.txt) to assign scores to a class roster file (.cls). Format of class roster with grades (.cls) to be submitted to registrar (grades must be in the GRADE column as shown):

Roster for course code = 03240					
IDNUMBER  NAME                         UNITS  OPTION  GRADE	
98291     "AXXX,MXXX AXXXXX      "      4       GR      B	
131662    "ABXXXX,SXXXA          "      4       GR      A	
700705    "AXN,XXXXXRLY          "      4       GR      B	
1817166   "ANXXXXS,MXXXXX XXXXZ  "      4       GR      C	
1872808   "AXXXNIO,XXXXXY JXXX   "      4       GR      B

Special Features of scanTrax

  • Rescore your exam as many times as desired. There is never a need to rescan the scantrons.
  • Throw out a question by simply putting a non-answer symbol (i.e.&) in its place in the answer key in the .txt file before using option 1.
  • If you find that one question has up to 3 correct answers, put 2 or 3 answer keys at the beginning of the text file for each version. Have each key coded exactly the same except for the problem question. Each key should have one of the correct answers filled.
  • Weight questions by having the students answer 2 or more numbers with the same answer.
  • Weight scores for an exam by increasing all scores in the .sls file by a percentage (use your spreadsheet program to manipulate your data).
  • Additional information (such as version) can be bubbled in on the Scantron form after the test questions. scanTrax will only score those questions bubbled in on the answer key.
  • Use scanTrax files in other programs, such as Excel, to create histograms and charts,
  • Insert and submit final grades, using your grading criteria, into a class roster obtained from the registrar’s office via egrades.

Sign up for our e-newsletter to learn more about upcoming events and school news!