Social Science Technology ServiceWestern Social Science

ScanExam-II - Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I do when I receive the DAT file(s) as attachments in an e-mail sent to me by the examination scanning services?

  • Extract DAT File - First extract the DAT file(s) attached in your e-mail.  We recommend that you use your UWO mail account to extract the DAT file(s).
  • Pickup Scan Sheets - Please pick up the original scan sheets after receiving your scanned examination results via e-mail. You will need these to complete the recommended steps that are outlined below.
  • Use the ScanExam-II software - The most current version of ScanExam-II is available for download at ssts.uwo.ca/network/software_resources/downloads. Use this software to error correct and score the extracted DAT files.
  • Check for Errors - It is your responsibility to verify the accuracy of the DAT file. Open the extracted DAT file using ScanExam-II, choose Edit > Scan Error Summary to determine the extent of errors in the DAT file. 
  • Locate Errors - If the Scan Error Summary indicates errors, locate DAT records in error by using the Find Next ERROR command button. Questions with errors are highlighted in light blue. If you have more than 60 questions, use the Flip Page button to see the overleaf. Errors are typically a result of incomplete erasures, more than one answer choice given, too faint answer marks, legitimate blank answers, missed or multiply marked bubbles in the student answer field, or a missing exam or section code if these are used.
  • Correct Errors - Retain your scan sheets in their original piles of 50 to make searching through the sheets quicker (Social Science Only). Compare the DAT error records with the corresponding scan sheets. The sheet number with the error is indicated in the left column of the screen. Verify the student number before editing any correction to the DAT record using ScanExam-II.  Never edit or change in any way the original student scan sheet.

Note:  Please contact the office where you had your exams scanned if errors are excessive.

2. How do I get my grades into OWL?

Choose Tools > Create DPC file (for MMS loads) and choose raw score (OWL does not allow percentage grade uploads). When you choose raw score remember if you have excluded a question that it will be marked out of a lower total (if you had 40 questions and had to exclude one, the raw score is now out of 39). The file is created with a .dpc extension that you will be prompted to name and save in the folder of your choosing. The output file is compatible for loading into OWL as well as spreadsheet packages such as Excel. 

If you had multiple versions of the exam and scanned them separately (you did not use Exam Mapping), create a DPC file for each version. Open each of the DPC files in Notepad.  Copy the contents of each DPC file into one combined DPC file and save the combined file.

For help in OWL, please contact ITS or view the OWL documentation available in OWL.

3. Why do I get a RELAYING error when I try to send email from ScanExam?

ITS blocked mail relaying from all non-uwo email addresses effective May 1, 2014. This change revealed an error in the ScanExam email program for which there is a simple workaround. When you are sending a message and you are in the Compose a Mail Message window, you need to edit the From: address.  Simply change the following:

Mail window with myemail <myemail@uwo.ca>

by removing the intial name and the angle brackets as follows:

Mail window with only myemail@uwo.ca

4. Why process multiple version exams as a single set instead of processing each version as a separate exam?

More and more instructors are adopting multiple versions of their exam to combat cheating. Unfortunately many choose to mark the multiple versions as if each version was a unique exam. This approach, although conceptually straightforward, results in more work and provides less useful results than if time is taken at the outset to use the capabilities of Scan Exam to mark the multiple versions as a single set. Scan Exam refers to this concept as Mapped Exams and it only requires that the instructor adopt specific Exam Codes (111, 222,..,999) and also specify mapping information. The benefits for doing this are:

  • No need to separate the exams into their separate versions; merely collect them and submit them for scanning.
  • No need to create separate answer keys for each version; there is only one master answer key.
  • Only one DAT file to mark; not one for each version of the exam, which also means that there will only be one transfer file for grades from Scan Exam to MMS, not one file for each version.
  • Question analysis is more significant when all the versions are processed together. The interpretation of the question analyses is simplified because there is just one set of results to examine, conveniently related to the master exam question order.
  • Post exam changes such as removing questions, adding multiple correct answers, changing a question into a bonus, changing question weights or simply fixing an error in the master answer key is done once and the correct ripple of those changes are automatic for the multiple versions.
  • Cheating analysis is much enhanced when all the versions are processed together because this increases the size of the analysis, which in turn improves the statistical accuracy for revealing possible cheating.
  • Complete subset analysis at the version and section level of the exam is provided.
  • It is possible to prepare the text copies for each of the multiple versions of the exam using a question exam bank, the mapping tables and a tool provided within Scan Exam.

5. How do I e-mail individual scan test results to students?

A send only e-mail tool is provided for simplified distribution of individualized student exam scores including a copy of their answers, exam statistics and exam answer key appropriate to the version of the exam that each student wrote. In addition, the instructor may optionally include with the mailing a common e-mail text message and file attachments if desired. Except for file attachments, the mail message and individual student exam information is formatted as HTML to facilitate the use of colour and tables. HTML formatted e-mail is readable by most if not all e-mail clients provided the option for reading HTML mail is enabled. Use the Tools menu, command Send HTML Student E-mails. Before using e-mail communications to your students please read all of the information below and the additional E-Mail Instructions provided in the above command.

Send email

The From: or return address used by Scan Exam for these bulk mailings does not require the instructor’s personal e-mail address, rather it may be set to a teaching assistant’s e-mail address, a generic course e-mail address, or use the default no-reply address to prevent student replies when one-way communication is intended. Carbon copies of the e-mail sent to students are retained in disk folders (mailfolder1, mailfolder2, etc.) for easy subsequent reference, archival and ultimately simple deletion at the conclusion of the course.

Scan Exam must obtain student e-mail addresses from either an MMS course file or a Registrar class file. Either of these files contain e-mail addresses that are the student’s official University assigned e-mail addresses; however, students do not always use their University e-mail address, preferring instead their private off-campus e-mail. The University recommends that all official student e-mailings be sent to the student’s official university e-mail address. Consequently, if e-mail communications will be used in a course then the students should be instructed to expect such communications via their University e-mail addresses. A student has the option of explicitly setting automatic forwarding of their University e-mail address to their preferred off-campus address, however, the University can not ensure arrival of forwarded e-mail. A test class mailing should be done to ensure that all students properly receive course related e-mails.

The default Mail From address is noreply to discourage the possibility of hundreds of cordial student replies of thank you. The default for authentication of the SMTP server at UWO is No, i.e. the UWO server does not require the instructor’s username and password to send mail from on-campus UWO locations. See the next section for sending mail from off-campus locations.

Sending E-Mail from your home computer using your home Internet provider, such as Roger’s Highspeed or Bell Sympatico, requires that you use their mail server and not Western’s smtp.uwo.ca server. Most commercial internet providers require authentication (username and password as provided to you by Rogers or Bell) to send mail through their mail server. Scan Exam is capable of sending mail from your home through the home service provider, but you must change the mail server name in Scan Exam to the name required by your home service. For example, at the time of writing this Help note, the Roger’s mail server was smtp.broadband.rogers.com and you must also change the authentication option to Yes, because this server requires authentication. When mail is sent by Scan Exam, you will be prompted for your Roger’s username and password. This personal access information is not stored in any way by Scan Exam, consequently you will be re-prompted at the start of each new bulk class mail send operation.

6. What is the minimum number of scrambled version exams needed to discourage cheating?

In order to achieve exam placements in the exam room so that every student is surrounded by other students writing different versions of the same exam you need at least 4 scrambled versions or in Scan Exam terminology 4 mapped exams with codes such as 111, 222, 333, 444. The following illustrates two possible exam layouts:

e.g. 1.  111    222    111    222    111    222
         333    444    333    444    333    444
         111    222    111    222    111    222
         333    444    333    444    333    444
         111    222    111    222    111    222
         333    444    333    444    333    444
e.g. 2.  333    444    222    111    333    444
         222    111    333    444    222    111
         333    444    222    111    333    444
         222    111    333    444    222    111
         333    444    222    111    333    444
         222    111    333    444    222    111

7. Is there an automated way to create multiple version exams?

Provided all the exam questions reside as simple text files or as Microsoft Word html files prepared from templates provided by Scan Exam, then the Create Mapped Exams utility found in the Tools menu will generate up to nine scrambled versions of the exam. The scrambling is based upon either question or answer choice rearrangements using mapping tables which can be custom defined or automatically generated by Scan Exam. Please refer to the Scan Exam Advanced Topics web document for full details.

8. How do I post the marks on my course web site?

This feature is no longer available.  Privacy legislation restricts the posting or storage of student information in any manner (paper or digital) which publicly discloses student numbers, names and grades.  An alternative is to use Scan Exam's built-in e-mailer as it is described in item #2 above.  In general, instructors are cautioned that most Scan Exam reports inherently contain student information which is protected by privacy laws.  The instructor requires this information for course management purposes and must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that such information is not publicly disclosed.  When discarding such information the instructor should shred paper documents and erase computer files in a manner approved by the university.

9. How do I allow for more than one correct answer for a question?

If you discover after setting an exam that two or more of your answer options are correct for a question, you need to set a Custom Alternate. Prepare your Answer Key as you would normally with only one correct answer option per question. Then, in ScanExam choose Options > Custom Alternates.  In the box that appears at the top, scroll down to the question that you need to alter.  If B was your original correct answer, you will see B(1) in the box to the right of the question number and this is taken from the Master Answer Key.  If you want C to be correct too, advance to the next box to the right and enter the second correct answer, for instance C(1).  The number one in brackets represents the weight or score given if this answer is selected.  You may specify up to four alternate correct answers plus alternate weights for every question.

10. How do I use ScanExam on my Mac or UNIX system?

ScanExam is a Windows only application and will not install and run directly on other computer operating systems such as Apple or Unix. This is not an insurmountable problem and two suggestions are offered:

  • Some Mac and Unix users utilize PC emulators installed on their Mac or other PC platforms. Such emulators permit the installation and execution of MS Windows based applications that would otherwise not be available on their platform. Using such an emulator, MMS and ScanExam may be installed and run on a Mac as if it were a PC. There are a number of different PC emulator programs available for download from the Internet, some are free and some are for purchase.
  • Social Science users can access SSC Network software and services from any Internet location using SSC remote access services. For example, the Remote Desktop client for the Mac can be downloaded from www.microsoft.com/mac and once installed, a Mac user may run a remote PC session without the need to install an emulator as described prior or install MMS or ScanExam since these are available on the remote PC. More information about remote access is available on our web site. Check with your IT department to see if a similar service is available in your Faculty or Department.