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So Long, Scantrons: Scanning Operations Expected To Close Amid Budget Cuts

Bubble sheets, be gone.

Penn State’s Scanning Operations is expected to close at the end of the spring semester. In other words, professors will have to find alternatives to the infamous Scantron exam sheet. Using this method, students fill in a multiple-choice bubble sheet, and a scanner scores the exams.

Executive Director of the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence and Associate Dean for Teaching Angela Linse sent an email to faculty last month regarding the decision.

“The decision was primarily based on a steady decline in faculty use of scanning services over more than 10 years, and a precipitous decline after the return to campus during the pandemic,” Linse said in an email to Onward State. “The total number of bubble sheets scanning in Fall 2022 (69,807) is 20% of the total for Fall 2013 (366,267) and 29% of the total for Fall 2016 (238,638). The number of instructors using our services is 10% (173) of what it was just seven years ago (1674).”

The declining usage and current financial situation at the university ultimately warranted the decision. Linse’s intention in sharing the decision with faculty members was so they had time to look into alternative testing options this summer, be it eTesting or a different scanning solution.

The decision did face some backlash at the Faculty Senate meeting last Tuesday. Therefore, the provost agreed to have a discussion about the decision. According to Linse, the group will be convened “as soon as possible” by the vice president and dean of Undergraduate Education.

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a washed-up biology grad and former associate editor. Her legacy will live on through stories like “10 Questions With State College Sensation ‘Hot UPS Bae’”. If you’re a STEM girlie, this is your sign to take the leap of faith and learn to write. It’s pretty fun. Colleen misses the hate mail and can be reached at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.

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