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Staples Moves Towards Cost-Efficient Test Forms

Hannah Foley
The social studies department and other teachers have started reusing scantrons in order to reduce spending. Each year, scantrons cost the school $5,000.

It’s a hallmark of the test-taking experience; an established figure in the lives of Staples students; a perpetual convenience to teachers. Indeed, the Scantron has an unquestionable omnipresence at Staples.

In fact, according to Principal John Dodig, Staples spends more than $5,000 a year on Scantron score sheets.

“We get less money every year to run the schools,” Dodig said. “When I saw that we spend so much money on Scantrons, I said, ‘Do we really need to be spending that much?’”

At a recent meeting, Dodig asked the administrative staff for strategies on reducing Scantron spending. The prospect of reusing the score sheets was suggested.

When a Scantron is used for a test that has fewer questions than there are available answer spaces, it is possible to reuse the score sheet. A separate program renumbers the questions so that “Question One” corresponds with the first question of the quiz, regardless of where the assessment actually begins on the answer sheet.

James D’Amico, the social studies department coordinator for grades 6-12, was present at a recent meeting of administrators, and later suggested to the entire social studies department that they try to use this cost-effective method.

“There’s really no reason not to,” D’Amico said.

Meanwhile, physics teacher Robert Andrew said he has been reusing Scantrons for years. He finds it to be convenient for the way he instructs his classes.

“I give a lot of quizzes that just have a few questions on them. If I didn’t reuse Scantrons, I’d be using a lot of them,” Andrew said.

For Andrew, using Scantrons works conveniently with his online gradebook on However, with next semester’s school-wide requirement of using eSchool as gradebooks, Andrew believes that reusing Scantrons to this degree will no longer be plausible.

Social studies teacher Joe Jelen has implemented a comparably economical method of grading by using The website allows teachers to print out bubble sheets similar to Scantrons, which can be graded instantly by using an Optical Mark Recognition technology similar to Scantron machines. All one has to do is simply hold the sheets up to a webcam or document scanner.

Claire Noyer ’14, a student of Jelen’s, sees as immediately gratifying.

“It’s nice because you get your grade that day,” Noyer said. “Even with a huge unit test, you can have your grade in a matter of seconds.”

However, while allows score sheets to be printed for free, the website has recently started to charge customers for membership, making it, ultimately less cost-effective. Still, teachers such as Jelen and Andrew are finding new ways to grade tests.

For example, in an effort to promote discussion in his classes, Andrew provides his students with scratch-off answer sheets to be completed in groups. Students work together to come up with an answer, and then scratch off the corresponding bubble.

“If you scratch off the right answer, you get a star,” Andrew said.

Jelen, though, believes the future of test administration at Staples may lie in the recently acquired Google Apps system.

“I believe students will be taking more and more assessments on a computer in their academic careers,” said Jelen, who expressed hope that Staples will move towards computer services for testing, such as Google Forms. “I believe test forms are a thing of the past.”

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About the Contributors
Katie Cion, Editor-in-Chief
The only girl surrounded by a brand-new Bernese Mountain puppy and four brothers (one a twin) Katie Cion is used to chaos.  She believes that she thrives in it, which is one of the reasons she and Inklings are such a perfect match.  The bedlam, she says, “is a lot like home”. A multi-talented member of the Staples community, Katie dedicates her time not only to Inklings, but also TAG, the Yearbook, Student Ambassadors, National Honors Society, and Spanish National Honors Society.  An English lover, Katie’s pursuit of Inklings and journalism helped bring her appreciation of reading and writing into a real world application. “I’m not sure if I want to pursue a career in journalism, but if I do I want to write long-form articles, like in magazines.  It’s so cool to combine the literary and reporting aspects, to see all the work the writer(s) put in, and to have all those little details,” Cion said. With a wide range of articles ranging from news to sports to opinions, Cion’s prowess in the literary field is clearly apparent, as is the pride she takes in her position as Editor-in-Chief this year. “It was so rewarding to know the people I looked up to thought I would do a good job,” Cion said.  “It was nice to get affirmation from people you respect.” With an equally impressive and overwhelming schedule, it is remarkable how well Katie manages herself.  Her composure and kindness make her not only a phenomenal addition to the Inklings staff, but also a thoughtful and capable leader.
Hannah Foley, Editor-in-Chief

Hannah Foley ’14 has many talents, but when combined together, she is unstoppable. As a major contributor to Inklings newspaper as Editor-in-Chief, WWPT radio, Staples’ award winning radio show, and Good Morning Staples, she is truly a triple threat. Each alone are impressive enough, but Foley is able to manage them all together.

It all started with journalism as a freshman, when her class joined forces with the television production class. She immediately began hosting at Good Morning Staples, where she can still be seen to this day. She later found herself as a part of the news department for WWPT, and the rest is history.

Foley has continued to impress, winning a John Drury Radio Award for second in the nation for a feature news story she wrote and read on WWPT.

Although each is unique, Foley feels that her participation in the individual organizations benefits the others. “Since they all have a base in journalism, they all require that you master different skills and those skills can be applied across the board,” explains Foley.

One of Foley’s proudest articles written for Inklings is a column  about her experience living in Brooklyn during the 9/11 attack.

But the thing that introduced it all to her still holds a special place in her heart.

“I love layout, I love eating food at layout, and I love the moments that happen at layout,” Foley says. “When I look back at high school, I’m not going to remember that test I took. I’m going to remember sitting at the table with my staff eating Roly Poly’s, laughing while Ms. McNamee and Mr. Rexford make jokes.”

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