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Gary Wilson

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Paper Survey Forms - Not Dead Yet!

Posted by Gary Wilson on Sep 24, 2013 8:32:00 AM

While not as widely used as they once were, mail and other paper surveys as scannable machine-readable forms still provide, in many cases, a reliable and cost-effective means of data collection. Thanks to online technology and some other factors, mail and paper surveys are used less frequently today than they were previously. Paper based surveys, however, still have their place in survey research and always will. Nevertheless, continued advances in online survey technology may increasingly diminish the demand.

Benefits of using paper surveys

·         Mail surveys are convenient for respondents; they can complete them when and where they prefer

·         Easily inserted into other customer or marketing mailing

·         With customization, some people feel paper surveys offer a more personal approach

·         Bulk-rate postage, automated mail preparation, large-quantity printing, and printing paper are all relatively affordable for document distribution with direct mailing services

·         Provide an efficient and often the only way of targeting opinions from populations without internet access, email addresses or phone numbers, or who refuse to respond to other types of surveys

·         Easily distributed to customers post transaction such as hotel or restaurant visits,  training seminars, conferences, etc.

·         Allow those being surveyed the chance to think about their answers in their own time

Designing, printing and processing machine readable paper surveys

Designing, producing and processing paper surveys have evolved and users of these types of survey instruments have a variety of different options available. Companies such as Scantron, Survey Systems, Data Blocks, etc. provide software applications that enable users to design and print their surveys as customized machine-readable documents. The surveys can be designed to be read by the traditional OMR (optical mark recognition), Scantron type devices or off-the-shelf image scanners which most organizations own. These software applications also create scanning templates; information passed to the scanning devices that determine respondents' choices to quantitative questions. Some of these software products also capture images of respondent free hand comments to subjective questions as well.

Machine-readable customize scan form survey–OMR technology versus Image technology

The major difference between a customized scannable survey designed for one technology or the other technology is the amount of content (survey questions, responses, demographics, etc.) that can be accommodated on a standard sheet of paper. The following are images of surveys designed based on the type of scanning technology that will be used to read these machine-readable forms:

 

survey documents

 

As seen in the examples shown above, a survey document designed for OMR scanning can accommodate a much larger amount of information on a smaller sheet of paper and still be accurately read during the scanning process using OMR scanners.

WHAT SURVEY SYSTEMS CAN DO FOR YOU?

Researchers, analysts, social scientists and individuals involved in gathering data, analyzing, reporting and making recommendations like most people have a fixed amount of time that they can devote to any given survey project. Survey Systems can offer these individuals a wide range of different products and services that would enable them 100% control of the entire data collection process or to selectively use Survey Systems to provide various levels of services.

One of the decisions that would need to be made is the type of technology (OMR or Image) that would best fit the requirements of the project. In most cases, this decision is tied directly to the amount of information individuals are looking to collect. Simple surveys (small number of questions, responses, etc.) without dense demographic fields (i.e. membership ID numbers, dates, vital statistics, etc.) can best be addressed with surveys designed for image scanning. Surveys requiring large demographic fields (machine-readable name and address fields, ID numbers, etc.) are best served using surveys designed for OMR scanning.

Software Option

Survey Systems provides and supports software products that address both technologies; the Magenta Suite is based on OMR technology and the Concord Suite is based on image technology. Both of these products will allow individuals to control the entire process from survey design through production, scanning and data transmission. In some situations and depending on a survey project requirements, data can also be tabulated and various types of anaylsis reports created within both the Magenta and Concord applications.

Service Option

Another decision is your level of involvement in the entire survey process. Using your input on survey content, Survey Systems can design the document for either type of scanning, print the survey, distribute the surveys, process completed surveys, send you scanned results or tabulate scanned data into reports that meet your specifications. A detailed description of each of these service components associated with most survey projects can be provided upon receipt of the project specifications.

Summary

Paper survey documents will continue to have a place within the survey industry on many data collection projects that do not, for a variety of reasons, lend themselves to online or other forms of electronic data collection. Survey Systems can help you define and implement a paper based survey program that will meet your objectives in the most cost effective manner.

 

 SURVEY SYSTEMS SPECIAL OFFERS

Topics: OMR customized form, custom scan form, survey form, customized survey form

Employee Survey Data - Key to meeting EHS Objectives

Posted by Gary Wilson on Aug 1, 2013 3:31:00 PM

 

Emplopee survey

Your organization's EHS (Environment, Health & Safety) and sustainability performance is most affected by employees' behavior and this behavior is driven by the intangible aspects of your company's culture; culture that is not necessarily written down in policies, programs and procedures. All behavior is rewarded, whether it is desired or unwanted behavior, whether an employee recognizes it or not, whether a manager recognizes it or not, and it is the intangible aspect of employee perceptions, beliefs, values, motivations and attitudes that guide and drive employee behaviors. Every company encounters this situation and the question is whether employees' behavior supports your EHS and sustainability objectives and how your measure this behavior. One of the foundations of EHS and sustainability performance is employee behavior because without a deep understanding of employees it is possible that your objectives might never be met.


EHS AND SUSTAINABILITY EMPLOYEE SURVEY What Survey Systems can do for you!

Survey Development & Administration

Employee surveys are a great tool to use in order to understand your employees' behavior, morale and motivation. They can help gauge if the perception of your workplace is in line with how employees feel about working there. They can evaluate many different things, but most commonly measure whether employees are receiving constructive feedback, if there are opportunities for job growth, the level of teamwork, quality of the work, whether employees understand the company mission and purpose, and the degree of work-life balance. Along with these items, focused surveys can also let you know employees' perception of its organization EHS and sustainability program.

The most successful employee surveys ask tough questions and address company pain points, rather than seek confirmation of areas you already believe to be strengths. This way, they not only build trust within an organization, but also help create EHS and sustainability goals the company can strive for together.

As you set out to do your employee survey, here are suggestions and how you can make sure it's useful for you:

1. Be prepared to do something with the results. If you ask employees to go through the exercise and then do nothing with it, you're guaranteed to disappoint them, and discourage them from participating next time. If you do EHS and sustainability surveys regularly, be sure to routinely recognize achievements and convey that you're working together toward achieving stated goals.

2. Explain honestly why you're conducting the EHS and sustainability survey and make it clear that, although the data will be carefully assessed, unfortunately not every issue that employees mention will be addressed.

3. Make sure employees know that all data is confidential. If employees think their answers are going into 'files,' their responses are less likely to be honest. Using generic customized survey forms is one way to insure anonymity or contract with a third party that can host an online version of the survey independent of the organization.

4. Conduct your survey at your facility. If a survey is held off-site, it relays a message that it's not safe to be honest or critical at work. That message undermines any value from the results.

5. Ask all employees to respond to your survey, or randomly select those who will. It is not a good practice to allow employees to self-select to participate. If you do, you'll find that only very satisfied or highly dissatisfied and those highly communicative employees will sign up. Your less approachable staff is guaranteed to be unrepresented. To encourage participation, remind employees how past survey results have helped to implement specific changes to the organization's EHS and sustainability programs.

6. Make sure the employee survey is something that translates into measurable results and tangible action. Employees won't groan when you ask them to complete another survey because they'll look forward to making their voices heard.

Sharing Survey Results – Last, But Not Least

Sharing the EHS and sustainability survey results with employees is the last but a very important step. The messenger and the means of communicating these results are very important and will send an underlying message to employees about the importance of your EHS and sustainability program.

Conclusion

Recognizing and managing employees' behavior is critical to understanding and managing EHS and sustainability performance. Performance is driven by this behavior, and employee behaviors are driven by the focus that the organization places on EHS and sustainability objectives that are not necessarily written down in policies, programs and procedures. Understanding employees' behavior from survey data and other types of interactions should allow an organization to reshape and manage progress toward the achievement of your EHS and sustainability objectives.


Topics: Employee survey, Survey Systems, Customized Scan Form

Health Risk Assessment - How to Collect Confidential Information

Posted by Gary Wilson on Mar 4, 2013 1:40:00 PM

OMR SCANNABLE FORMS COLLECT A LARGE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION USING A MEDIA THAT MOST PEOPLE ARE ACCUSTOM TO USING

 

HRA – HEALTH RISK ASSESSMENT

A health questionnaire used to provide individuals with an evaluation of their health risks and quality of life. A wellness program using HRA questionnaires incorporates three key elements:

  •  an extended questionnaire

  •  a risk calculation or score

  •  feedback report or face-to-face meeting with a health advisor

Many healthcare technology and data processing companies in the health risk assessment industry use the HRA questionnaire to provide preventive health plans, applications and services to health improvement organizations, pharmacies, and directly to employers. These companies offer services that support the delivery of health improvement programs to individuals with the following characteristics:

  • health risk assessments

  • integrated personal health records

  • personalized push messaging and content

  • personalized action plans

  • health coach program management support tools

  • administration tools for data management and reporting.

HRA – Customized Scan Forms

Even with the increased emphasis on collecting data electronically (online), an industry leading company still has the need to provide OMR customized scan forms to collect health risk assessment (HRA) information as part of their services. Reasons for continuing to use OMR scan forms in both English and different languages (most prevalent is Spanish) to collect this type of information are:

  •  An employee population with low computer literacy skills

  • Employees who understand and are comfortable in answering questions on paper

  • Employees who are skeptical about submitting personal health information electronically

  • Hard to reach employees

  • Spanish speaking employees who have difficulties understanding EnglishHRA OMR Scanner Forms

There are several reasons that the workplace wellness company made the decision to use OMR customized scan forms to collect HRA data for some of their clients:

  • OMR technology provides the capability to collect a large amount of personal information, family history and advanced demographics to include biometric test data in the smallest possible footprint on paper based media.

  • OMR technology is widely used in education and all people understand how to answer questions on forms designed with this technology

  • OMR scanning technology has been proven to be the most accurate method (+98%) in capturing data from paper, as evidenced by the continued and extensive use of this technology in education to test and evaluate student performance.

HRA Processing

OMR scannable HRAs are administered to individuals on a regular schedule in order to collect data which is used to monitor their risk factors over time. The completed HRAs are processed at a central location in a tightly control environment that is compliant with HIPPA requirements concerning personal medical information. The processing center has procedures to insure that HRAs are accurately read by routinely performing redundancy checking of data recorded against date actually marked on the HRAs.

Once individual HRAs are processed, individuals receive a personalized report, detailing their health rating or score, often broken down into specific sub scores in areas such as stress, nutrition and fitness. These reports also provide recommendations on how individuals can reduce their health risks by changing their lifestyle

In addition to individual feedback, HRA results are also used to provide aggregated data reporting for employers and organizations. These reports include demographic data of participants, highlight health risk areas and often include cost projections and savings in terms of increased healthcare, absence and productivity. Organization-level reports can then be used to provide a first step by which organizations can target and monitor appropriate health interventions within their workforce.

OMR TECHNOLOGY

OMR technology has been around for the last 40 years and in certain applications such as collecting HRA information, it is still one of the best and most reliable ways to collect information and turn it into actionable data. This technology lends itself to those situations where there is a need to collect a large amount of information with the smallest possible footprint in order to keep production, processing and distribution costs to a minimum.

 

 Free Sample - Your HRA as an  OMR Readable Document


Topics: OMR, Health Risk Assessment, OMR customize form

EHS Program - Confidential Employee Feedback with OMR forms!

Posted by Gary Wilson on Feb 19, 2013 10:46:00 AM

An essential part of any EHS (environment, health & safety) Program is a survey that can be answered anonymously by all employees. Data collected from this survey helps Management understand the level of employee engagement, strength of their EHS program and the employees’ view of the company leadership commitment to EHS. Paper based, scannable surveys are the best method to use to insure that employees can express their opinions to specific questions openly and feel secure that there will not be any "blow back" on any of their responses.

A employee survey designed with OMR technology is still one of the best and most reliable ways to collect this type of information and turn it into actionable data. This technology lends itself to those situations where it is important to fully understand how the employees honestly feel about the EHS program. A successful EHS program is based on partnership between employee and management with performance predicated on the degree of trust and commitment among all members of a facility workforce.

MANUFACTURING SAFETY SURVEY (FORTUNE 500 COMPANY)

Over the past 2 ½ years, one of the largest operating divisions of a Fortune 500 copies with multiple domestic and international facilities has been using OMR customized forms to collect EHS survey information from their employees. These surveys are conducted repetitively every 9 to 12 months in order to gather employees’ feedback on how their issues and concerns about safety are being addressed over time.

Employee Survey

Each of the 65+ facilities has unique organizational or operational characteristics that are addressed with surveys designed specifically for each location. Employees in all categories are required to participate in the survey process as part of regularly scheduled events such as group or department level meetings. Using an OMR customized survey form that all employees can complete in a single setting is the best method for collecting feedback from the maximum number of employees in a timely manner. At most facilities and given the diverse population of employees (factory workers, clerical, engineers, management, etc), paper surveys have and will continue to be the method of choice for collecting safety information within this division.

Get a Free OMR Sample  Form Design!

Topics: Employee survey, OMR customized form, OMR

Financial Customers Surveys -Better Results with OMR!

Posted by Gary Wilson on Feb 15, 2013 4:20:00 PM

DOES YOUR CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY PROGRAM HAVE THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERTICS AND REQUIREMENTS?

  •  WIDELY DISPERSED POPULATION
  •  DIVERSE GROUP OF CUSTOMERS
  •  HIGH RESPONSE RATE
  •  MINIMAL PROJECT COSTS

OMR (optical mark read) technology has been in use for the past 40 years and most of us have used this technology as part of our K-12 education experience. Today this "old" technology continues to be used outside of education in a large number of different applications that require the collection of data from paper-based media. In many situations, collecting data using OMR customized forms (forms designed for a specific application) is the best alternative with much better results; getting enough relevant information for data analysis and implementation of appropriate results based activities.

CREDIT UNION & CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

An 80 years old, member owned credit union whose one of its stated missions is “… believes in the power of the human spirit...a business model that trusts and believes in people...we are here to do what many consider naïve and unrealistic - put people first.” As part of this mission and over the past three years, the organization has conducted monthly, in-depth member satisfaction surveys using OMR customized forms to continually measure the organization performance in meeting the mission.

Customer Satisfaction SurveySurveys are mailed monthlyto selected groups of members. The survey questions are directed toward specific areas of importance (mission related) to the credit union such as trust, experience and overall satisfaction. Given the number of questions and the goal to keep mailing costs to a minimum, a survey document designed as an OMR customized form would best fit these needs since all of the survey questions and the ten point rating scale could be accommodated on a single sheet of paper. One of the real benefits of using OMR technology is the capability to accurately read densely compacted documents with an optical mark recognition scanner. Prior to the monthly mailing, each survey is overprinted (pre-slugging) with machine-readable members’ ID numbers. The ID numbers are captured during the scanning process and provide the credit union with the capability to address specific issues and concerns from individual members who responded to the survey.

OMR TECHNOLOGY

OMR technology has been around for the last 40 years and in certain applications as highlighted above, it is still one of the best and most reliable ways to collect information and turn it into actionable data. In my opinion, this technology lends itself to those situations where there is a need to collect a large amount of information with the smallest possible footprint in order to keep production, processing and distribution costs to a minimum.

Get a Free OMR Sample  Form Design!

 

 

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Topics: Customized Scan Form, OMR printing, Customer Satisfaction Survey

Retailers - Use OMR to find out what your customers think!

Posted by Gary Wilson on Feb 15, 2013 3:10:00 PM

DOES YOUR CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY PROGRAM HAVE THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERTICS AND REQUIREMENTS?

  •  DIVERSE GROUP OF CUSTOMERS

  •  CONTINUOUS PROGRAM TO MEASURE CHANGES OVER TIME

  •  HIGH RESPONSE RATES

  •  MINIMAL PROJECT COSTS

OMR (optical mark read) technology has been in use for many years and is most frequency used in K-12 education. Today, this "old" technology is also used outside of education to collect data using scannable paper-based media. In many situations, collecting data using OMR customized forms (forms designed for a specific application) is the best alternative with much better results; getting enough relevant information for data analyst and implementation of appropriate results based activities.

RETAIL CONSORTIUM

An East Coast consortium represents the largest group of retailers in a specific industry. The consortium collectively leverages the strength of the group and provides its retailer members with enormous buying and marketing power. It has also developed proven systems that create powerful new brand identities where there were none, along with tactical suggestions for product marketing and customer support. These items are shared with their members; members who are constantly seeking new methods to improve profitability and grow their independent businesses.

One service offer by the consortium is to help members measure customer satisfaction with products, sales, installation and support using postage pre-paid, self-mailer, OMR customized survey documents.


Customer Satisfaction Survey

Pre-coded surveys are allocated to members who pass them on to customers at the completion of the product sale and/or product installation. Customers mail the postage pre-paid surveys back to a third party company for processing. The surveys are scanned and data files sent weekly to the consortium for analysis. The consortium prepares customer satisfaction reports for each member. Included as part of the report is a comparison on how their customers evaluated their performance when compared to other members’ customers.

OMR technology has been around for many years and in certain applications as highlighted above, it is still one of the best and most reliable ways to collect information and turn it into actionable data. OMR technology lends itself extremely well to those situations where there is a need to collect customer satisfaction data with the smallest possible footprint in order to keep production, processing and distribution costs to a minimum.


Get a Free OMR Sample  Form Design!

Topics: OMR, Customer Satisfaction

Online Course Evaluation - Is This the Answer?

Posted by Gary Wilson on Jan 23, 2013 2:23:00 PM

Midwest College Online Course Evaluation Program

The College of Business within a large Midwestern University has decided to go back to using OMR customized scan forms to collect feedback from students on how they rate their instructors and quality of classes. Over the past two years they have captured this feedback information using an online course evaluation system with results that did not meet their requirements and objectives. Several factors were involved in the decision to again start using OMR course and teacher evaluation forms, but foremost was the need to increase student participation rates as part of the process, and to clearly understand the quality of education provided to the students along with the effectiveness of their instructors.

Student Participation

Up until two years ago, the college had exclusively used OMR scannable course evaluation forms to collect student feedback information with a student participation rate of +70%. Then the college stopped using these forms and implemented an online course evaluation system. One of the many goals of the new system was to eliminate the administrative tasks required to support the OMR form based program on the part of administrators and faculty. Course Evaluation Response RateThe student response rates to the online course evaluation systems, unfortunately, fell below 40%; well below the response rates achieved in the past, and prevented the college from effectively measuring the quality of their education programs currently and historically.

Online Course Evaluation Two Year Experience

During the two year course evaluation period, several ideas and suggestions were either made or implemented with the goal of improving students' participation. Some of the actions taken were:

  • Multiple email reminders to students to complete their online evaluation for all classes taken.

  • Incorporated rewards programs to encourage students to participate in the evaluation process with items such as raffles or early grade releases.

  • Punitive consequences such as withholding grades were considered but not implement; detrimental to the scope of the program that promoted the benefits of the course evaluation program.

  • Energized faculty to support the online course evaluation program. Instructors who emphasized this to their students generally received a much high response rates for classes taught.

After two years, the college Deans determined that poor student response rates did not provide sufficient data for them to accurately measure the effectiveness of their classes, the quality of instructors or the satisfaction of their students. Also, it was not fair to pass judgment on faculty especially those members seeking tenure; to have their performance based on such a small amount of student data.

Paper Course Evaluation Expectations

The college's decision to go back to a course evaluation system using OMR scanned forms was made to meet the following objectives:

  • Regain a student participation to the previous levels of +70%OMR Scan Form, Course Evaluation

  • Collect enough feedback from student that would enable the college to reasonably assess their organizational performance.

  • Obtain sufficient data to effectively evaluate individual instructors.

The reimplementation of the OMR scan form course evaluation program included some slight changes to improve the effectiveness of the program. The course evaluation document was simplified (less questions) and the logistics of distributing and collecting the documents was revamped. They also contracted with a third party company on the timely production, processing and providing data files to allow the organization to quickly tabulate data and provide reports to administrators and individual instructors. 

Download - A Step-by-Step Process on a  High Response Rate Course Evaluation Program!

 

Topics: OMR scan form, course evaluation, teacher evaluation

School Climate Survey - OMR Scanned Forms!

Posted by Gary Wilson on Jan 4, 2013 4:55:00 PM

 

School District Climate Survey – OMR Scanned Forms!

Many school districts place a very high degree of value on regularly obtaining input from their stakeholders such as parents, students and staff concerning their opinions and perceptions of a school climate. School climate generally refers to the social andSchool Climate Survey environmental factors that contribute to one’s objective experience of a school and attitudes toward a school. Positive school climate reflects well-managed classrooms, high and clearly stated expectations concerning individual responsibility, feeling safe at school, and teachers and staff that consistently acknowledge all students and fairly address their attitude and behavior. Input from the stakeholders is periodically and routinely collected by conducting surveys of these groups. These surveys cover topics of safety, communication, diversity, student learning and performance. 

Virginia School District

Once again and for the seventh consecutive year, Survey Systems has been awarded the contract to provide OMR custom scan forms to one of the largest school districts in the state of Virginia. This school district annually seeks input from parents, students and staff in order to measure how these stakeholders view the climate within the school district. It believes that a healthy school climate will definitely contribute to the achievement of all of its students. The climate surveys are designed to gather opinions from parents, students and staff concerning their perceptions of school climate. The 2013 climate surveys are to be administered to nearly 58,000 elementary to high school level students, 3,800 staff, and 47,000 parents. An online survey component will be implemented to survey 3,500 teacher and other instructional personnel.

Survey Systems’ participation with the school district in support of their annual division-wide survey project has evolved over the past few years. Initially, and using their input, we reformatted their surveys (different surveys for each of the stakeholder groups) into OMR customized scan forms which were then printed and packaged. Prior to packaging, each survey was individually personalized with the name of the school and a machine-readable school ID number; information consider critical to the success of the survey project that is captured during the scanning process of completed surveys and is used to accurately identify survey responses back to specific schools. In 2012, Survey Systems will print the 2013 surveys directly from scan form design files created by the school district and will personalize each survey prior to shipment with school identification information. Even though most of the completed surveys will be sent back to Survey Systems for processing, we have been contracted to develop the scanning templates that would enable the district to scan their own surveys if and when required.

School Climate Surveys

Survey Systems has worked with other school districts in support of their school climate survey projects. Our support activities in most cases mirror those provided to the Virginia school district but with some notable distinctions. Survey projects with large school districts in Massachusetts and Minnesota also included a direct mail component; survey documents were mailed directly to parents and completed surveys mailed directly back to either the school district or Survey Systems for processing. 

OMR scanned forms for conducting school climate surveys have proven in many districts to be a better alternative than attempting to collect this information via the Internet. It is easier and more effective with less schedule disruption and a faster turn around time to have all students complete an omr scannable climate survey on paper in a classroom environment.  The alternative would be scheduling time for all students to complete the survey in the school computer lab over some extended period of time.

Collecting climate survey data from parents using OMR customized scanned forms has been proven to be most effective as measured by response rates. Parents in most school district tend not to respond to a notification to log on to a specific URL in order to complete a survey. There is a higher probability that the parents will complete a survey if the documents is handed to them by either their child or when visiting the school for teacher conferences, PTA meetings, etc.

The school district in Virginia has continued to utilize our services to support the annual school climate survey project. Each year for the past seven years, Survey Systems has been awarded the contract to provide our services through a competitive bid situation. We have been able to streamline our processes, provide competitive prices for our services and meet their tight deadlines for providing and processing OMR scan forms for their school climate project. This experience, working with other school districts with different requirements, will enable us to provide the same types of services to support their climate or other types of survey projects with competitive prices, accurate data and shorter lead-times.

 

DOWNLOAD THE SCHOOL CLIMATE FACT SHEET



Topics: OMR scan form, custom scan form, scan form design, omr form design, omr scanner

Scannable Forms = Better Results Than Online Course Evaluations

Posted by Gary Wilson on Dec 21, 2012 3:18:00 PM

Are Response Rates Valuable to Course Evaluations?

Many colleges and university are moving away from the traditional method of using machine-readable paper course evaluation documents such as Scantron forms to collect feedback information from students on the quality of their classes and the effectiveness of their instructors. The “in-vogue” method of choice is to capture this information entirely electronically using online course evaluations. The challenge presented with this choice is how to motivate students to take the time to provide this evaluation information while classes are either in session or after the conclusion of their classes.

Attempting to collect this information while classes are still in session could lead to skepticism on the part of students and their belief that how they evaluate the class/instructor might affect their grade. Collecting course evaluation information after completion of classes without introducing some level of bias is also increasingly difficult since most students have moved on to other interests. Students that do respond after completion of their classes might have a tendency to only respond to the online course evaluation if they have strong thoughts, either good or bad, on the quality of the class and/or instructor.

Are Course Evaluations Scan Forms More Effective?

Over the past decade Survey Systems has worked with several educational organizations supporting their course evaluation programs. We have provided both paper and online course evaluations and have found that the method using paper-continues to provide the greatest number of responses resulting in a far superior level of actionable information.          

A case in point is a recent project completed for an east coast college. The response rate for students completing a customized Scantron-type course evaluation in class was ten fold greater than students who were notified via email to evaluate their distance learning or hybrid classes by completing an online evaluation (See Figure 1). In many cases, the number of online evaluation responses on a class by class basis did not result in sufficient data to clearly calculate how students felt about the quality of the classes and instructors.

Figure 1:  Paper vs. Online Course Evaluation Response Rate Comparison

Response Rates

Distributed

Responses

Percentage

 

 

 

 

Paper Evaluation

 

 

 

In-seat Classes (349 classes)

3,803

2343

61.61%

Hybrid Classes ( 27 classes)

393

218

55.47%

 

 

 

 

Online Evaluation

 

 

 

Distance Learning (40 classes)

459

42

9.15%

Hybrid Classes (24 classes)

413

26

6.30%

 

Customized Scan Forms for Course Evaluation Programs

There is an extremely strong argument for moving toward an online course evaluation system from both a timing and cost standpoint. The trade-off between these two methods; response rates with a high level of meaningful information achieved with paper-based course evaluations versus cost, immediacy of feedback data and extremely low response rates to online course evaluations that might not provide enough decision making information. Course evaluation programs based on the use of customized scan forms from companies such as Survey Systems, Scantron, etc. have become more adept at providing the following benefits for educational institutions that are continuing to use paper-based course evaluation as part of their program to collect student feedback information:

  • Designed and printed to meet the precise needs of an educational institution.

  • Coded to insure accurate class and instructor specific data captured through the scanning process.

  • Pre-packaged by course that can be either be delivered to a central distribution point or sent directly to using departments for dissemination to the classes.

  • Custom scanned forms that can be processed internally or by an outside source in a matter of days as opposed to weeks.

Conclusion

Most educational institutions would prefer to eliminate the need for a paper-based course evaluation programs; paper is bulky and hard to keep track of given the number of different classes that need to be evaluated. What is important is the data collected from the students concerning their feedback on the quality of the class and instructor. Over the years, providers of custom course evaluations have developed processes that eliminate most of the frustration associated with paper-based programs. Most importantly these processes have relieved educational institutions of much of the responsibility for managing this type of program and given them more time to analyze data and produce reports on the performance of the faculty and institution in meeting the needs of students.

The bottom line is that the use of custom, scannable course evaluation documents continues to be a viable alternative. Many educational institutions still find it necessary to use these paper-based course evaluations as they decide whether or not an online course evaluation system will meet their needs.

For more information and samples of the course evaluation process, download our Course Evaluation Planning Guide.

 Download Course Evaluation Guide  and Plan Your Success!

 

 

 


Topics: scantron form, course evaluation, customized scan forms