How to Use a Scanner to Read Bubble Sheets

By Teddy Wilson

Use computer software to scan and analyze tests taken on bubble sheets.
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Optical answer sheets, more commonly known as "bubble sheets," are used to conduct academic tests by having students fill in the oval bubbles that correspond to answers for the test questions. In the past, bubble sheets had to be read by optical mark readers, also known as OMR scanners. Today, though, you can use a scanner, a computer and software to scan bubble sheets as well as analyze and grade them.

Install the software on your computer; typically there's an installation wizard that will walk you through the process. Next, open the software and determine which bubble sheet template you will use. You may be able to customize the template after you make a selection; after doing so, save your template and print out the bubble sheets.

Use the bubble sheets for a test. The type of test formats that you can use with bubble sheets can include multiple choice, true or false and Likert Scale.

Scan the bubble sheets after the tests have been completed and then upload the scanned documents into the software. The software will create a database or spreadsheet file from which you can analyze the test.

Enter the correct answers for each question in the template and then have the software analyze the test questions. Some software recognizes possible errors where students accidentally filled in multiple bubbles. After the software has completed analyzing the test you will have a report on all the test grades. You can download free software from Question Mark Perception Printing and Scanning and All In Learning Bubble Sheet Assistant App (links in Resources).