Plainpaper User Guide
The Plain Paper Pre-Slug and Scan option is a great alternative to pre-printed scan sheets and dedicated scanning equipment. It allows you to print auto-generated, pre-slugged answer sheets (also known as bubble sheets) using a standard black and white printer. After students complete their assigned test by filling in the bubble sheet, you can scan the sheets using a Lexmark image scanner and send the scanned images to Insight for processing. Insight will score the scanned tests and populate the assignment data with the completed and scored test results.
The Plain Paper solution is easy to use and can be very effective; however, it should be noted that it is not 100% accurate 100% of the time. Mishaps in printing and scanning the bubble sheets can cause failures in the ability for Insight to accept and/or accurately read scanned images. For this reason, Insight includes a grading screen that you can use to proof completed assessments and ensure that the scanned images were accepted and read accurately.
Before you get started, it is important to note these basic requirements for use.
- Printers must be configured to print the bubble sheets in grayscale. You can set this by going to Preferences in your print menu, selecting Color, and checking the grayscale option. Printing when your printer is not set to grayscale could result in errors reading the scanned images.
- Bubble sheets must be printed on white paper only. Using any type of colored paper could result in errors reading the scanned images.
- Printed, pre-slugged bubble sheets must be clear and free of stray marks in order to be readable. Low toner or defects in the printer that cause fading or stray marks on the page will result in errors reading the scanned images.
- The bar code printed at the bottom of each bubble sheet must be straight and clear. Distortions in the bar code will result in errors reading the scanned images.
- Testers may use a #2 pencil, black or blue pen, or other writing instrument that makes dark marks.
- The bubble area (the area within the answer circle) must be clear and dark. Answer bubbles must be filled in completely, not circled. Answers that are too light or that are circled and not bubbled-in could result in errors reading the scanned images.
- Changes to answers must be completely erased.
- The bubble sheets must be void of all writing or marks beyond the bubbled-in answers. Additional marks will result in errors reading the scanned images.
- The bubble sheets must be loaded correctly into the scanner. Scanning the bubble sheets with the wrong side up will result in errors reading the scanned images.
- The scanning device must be free of any defects or blemishes on the glass or scanning cartridge. Smudges, lines, or other imperfections caused by defects or blemishes during the scanning process will result in errors reading the scanned images.
- Only the pre-slugged forms generated through the Insight Plain Paper interface and associated with a valid test and class assignment will be accepted. Scanning other types of bubble sheets will result in a failure to read the scanned images.
In order to make sure that your devices all work and that your scanning will be successful, follow the set-up instructions below.
We recommend that you test the process by creating a sample assessment and assignment before using the feature with a live assessment.
In Appendix A of this documentation you will find examples of bad bubble sheets to help you recognize problems before you start scanning. Identified errors or problems with your bubble sheets should be corrected before you scan them.
How to Print your Bubble Sheets
After you log in to Insight, select the Assignments link in the top menu bar.
A list of assignments and test names will appear.
Click on the Assignment name for the assignment for which you want to print bubble sheets.
After you select the Assignment, another screen with details about the assignment will appear. This screen includes a section called “Plain Paper Scanning” that will have a link called “Generate preslugged forms”.
Click on the link to generate preslugged forms and wait for it to process. The process bar will fill and the status on the screen will change from Requested, to Queued, to Processing.
When the forms are ready to print, the status will say, “Download File”. This process can take anywhere from 10 seconds to a couple of minutes, depending on how many students there are in the assignment.
Click on the Download File button. You might be prompted with a message box to save or open the file. Choose to open the file. A PDF file will open that contains a bubble sheet pre-slugged with student, test, school, and class information for each student in the assignment.
Print the PDF document from a printer that you have already checked and verified does not have any printing defects (low toner, erroneous marks, bad alignment, etc.)
Your printed bubble sheets should look like this:
Examples of Bad Bubble Sheets
The primary reasons Insight will not accept or read scanned bubble sheet images are:
- Bad bar codes
- Marks and smudges in the margins
- Answers are circled not filled in
- Answers are filled in too lightly
The bar codes on the bottom of the bubble sheet must be straight and clear. This is what a good bar code looks like:
These are samples of unreadable bar codes:
Printer was low on toner and the scan sheet is faded.
Printer fed the paper crooked and caused the bar code to bend.
Marks and smudges in the margin
Smudges, lines, writing, doodles, or marks of any kind in the margins of the bubble sheet will cause the scanned image to be unreadable.
Below are some examples of the kinds of marks that will cause problems. These marks can be caused by defects in the printer or by students or teachers marking on the bubble sheet.
Answers circled not filled in
If the answers on the bubble sheet are circled instead of filled, the scanned image could be unreadable.
Answers filled in too lightly
If the answers on the bubble sheet are too light or have not been completely erased, the scanned image could be unreadable.
Always Double Check
If you check all bubble sheets after they have been printed to ensure they are clean, clear, and straight and again before you scan them to ensure they do not have any stray marks or doodles, your Plain Paper experience should be a success.