Iowa State University

ITInformation Technology

Using Bubble Sheets

Using Bubble Sheets

Administer the Exam with a Bubble Sheet

Please inform students using bubble sheets of these guidelines. While many are already familiar with this testing method, a review of the guidelines can ensure more accurate scoring of the tests.

  • Use only a #2 pencil to fill in bubbles. The scanner in Test and Evaluation Services cannot read any test or form that is completed in ink.
  • Do not make any stray marks on the form. If these marks are close enough to any particular bubble, the scanner may read the mark and the form will not be graded correctly.
  • Erase bubbles as thoroughly as possible. Do not, however, erase so hard that a hole is rubbed through the test.
  • In the NAME boxes, students should write their last name first, followed by their first name, and then their middle initial. The corresponding bubbles below each letter should be filled to match the letter indicated in the boxes above.
  • In the IDENTIFICATION NUMBER section, students should write the middle nine digits of their ISU Card number in boxes A through I and fill in the respective bubbles below. The ISU Card number is a university-wide identification standard. We recommend that students use this as their identification number rather than a Social Security number (because of privacy concerns) or some other number.
  • Make sure bubbles match questions. Students should periodically check to see if the bubbles they are filling in correspond to their respective questions.
  • It is a good practice to check (or have a TA check) each sheet as it is handed in to ensure that all sheets are filled out correctly.

Prepare Bubble Sheets for Grading

After filling out all the forms, sort them so they are all facing the same direction (e.g., the NAME box is in the same corner of every sheet facing you). The bubble sheets have one corner cut out to assist you in ensuring the forms are lined up correctly.

Complete the Answer Key

Fill out an Answer Key form, using the same form as the student sheets. This form should have the word "KEY" placed in the middle of the NAME section, and the corresponding bubbles below each letter filled in.

In the white space directly above the NAME section, the instructor should write out the department, course number and section, instructor, and quiz or exam number.

Prepare the Packet

If there is only one section or form and one answer key, put a rubber band around the sheets with the answer key on top.

If there is more than one section or form and one answer key, put a rubber band around each individual section's sheets with the answer key on top. In addition, label each group with the appropriate section number or letter for that group.

If there is more than one section or form and an answer key for each section, put a rubber band around each individual section's sheets with the corresponding answer key on the top of the respective stack.

If there is more than one section and more than one form per section and an answer key for each form, put a rubber band around each form's sheets and then put another rubber band around the packets of a particular form with the corresponding answer key on top. For example, if there are three class sections (1, 2, and 3) and three forms per section (A, B, and C), you would put one rubber band around the sheets for section 1A, one around those for section 2A, and one around those for section 3A. Then put one rubber band around the three packets (1A, 2A, and 3A) with the A version of the answer key on top of the stack.

Bubble Sheet Submittal

Each test submitted to Test and Evaluation Services for scoring must be accompanied by a Bubble Sheet Submittal.

Multiple-Version Test Scoring Key

If you give more than one version of an exam and wish to correlate questions among the tests, you will also need to submit a multiple-version test scoring key in addition to the standard test key. This form enables you to provide the information to map the questions on the additional versions to the first version. (Note that this is a two-page form.)

For example, if question 1 on version B is the same as question 15 on version A, and question 1 on version C is question 30 on version A, you would note that as:

Question

Always start with the second version and refer back to the original. Then go to the next version and refer back to the original, etc.

If you use color-coded test versions, you must provide the information requested at the bottom of the second page of the form. In an example where version 1 is red, version 2 is blue, and version 3 is orange, you would note that on the back side of the form as:

Version 1 color: red
Version 2 color: blue
Version 3 color: orange

Omitting a Question

If you choose to omit one or more questions from grading, you can do this by specifying which question(s) to omit in the "Additional Instructions or Requests" section (denoted by L in the example above). You must also state whether you wish to count the omitted questions in the total scoring. For example, if a test has 50 questions and you choose to omit question 19 from being scored, indicate whether you want the total scoring to be based on 49 or 50 questions. If you are giving credit for the omitted question, a student must have filled in an answer to receive credit for the omitted question.

Multiple Answers

If you wish to accept multiple answers as correct for a question, list the question(s) and the correct answers in the "Additional Instructions or Requests" section (denoted by L in the example above). Also indicate whether you wish to accept only one of the multiple answers as correct, or whether all the answers must be chosen to be considered correct.

If you choose to accept any answer (rather than one specific answer) for a particular question, you must note that in the "Additional Instructions or Requests" section of the submittal form and list the question. A student must have filled in an answer to receive credit for that question.

Question Weight

You may also use the "Additional Instructions or Requests" section (denoted by L above) to specify a weight for the questions. You can assign different weights to questions groups together, or you can designate all questions to be worth more than one point. All decimal-weighted scores are rounded scores.

Submission and Delivery of Tests

To submit the sheets for scanning, bring them to the Solution Center, 192 Parks Library. One of the staff will take your sheets, verify that you have filled out the Bubble Sheet Submittal in its entirety, and then your packet(s) will be picked up by Test and Evaluation Services for scanning and processing.

When a test is scanned, a paper printout of the processing results is produced. These will be delivered to a designated office in your area within two working days. Someone must be available in the office to sign a delivery acknowledgement. If you wish to pick up the forms at 95 Durham Center, check the appropriate box under "Additional Instructions or Requests" and give an approximate time when you will pick up the data.

The usual timetable for processing exams and results, shown below, is based on when the tests were submitted. Turnaround time will vary depending on the workload at a given time.

Dropped off Processed
By or before 9 am By 1 pm of the same day
By or before 1 pm By 4 pm of the same day
By 4 pm Morning of the next business day

Delivery of processed data sheets is approximately two days after an exam is dropped off.

If a re-score is necessary, you should contact Test and Evaluation Services for help, by phone at 515-294-1832, by email at tes@iastate.edu, or in person at 95 Durham Center.

Note: During finals week, due to an increased number of tests to be graded, it's best to ask for an estimated completion time when you are dropping the tests off to be graded.