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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Economics midterm Scantrons lost by IT Services, every student receives 100 percent
Photo by Maryam Tunio
The IT Services Help Desk, who handles the grading of scantron tests, declined to comment on the matter at this time. Photo by Maryam Tunio/[email protected]

Chandler Brase, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, pulled an all-nighter studying for his ECON 1104 Principles of Macroeconomics midterm. He studied 15 hours total for the exam, which consisted of 35 questions and was scheduled for March 14 at 9 a.m. He said it went “OK.”

“I put in a decent amount of work,” Brase said. “I would have guessed that I would have gotten a solid B on it.”

He ended up getting a 100 percent, but not because of his vigorous studying.

After spring break, his Associate Economics Professor Heather Kohls informed the 35 students in his class that their exam Scantrons were lost before they could be graded.

Marquette’s IT Services Help Desk, which handles Scantron grading, received the completed exams and a required test form in an envelope from Kohls’ teaching assistant on March 14. Kohls said she then received an email from IT Services indicating that her envelope was received.

Over spring break, Kohls was on a service learning trip in Guatemala and realized she never received an email from IT Services confirming that the exams were graded, even though she should have gotten it by then. She emailed IT Services to ask why.

“That’s when (IT Services) basically told me that they could not find the exams, they were not panicking and they were hoping that they would show up,” Kohls said.

Kohls communicated with IT Services while in Guatemala, and it began looking into the situation. While Kohls was in Guatemala, Amy Connelly, an office associate for economics and marketing, said a student from IT Services stopped by Kohls’ office the Monday or Tuesday of spring break.

Connelly said she and the student looked through Kohls’ office for about 15 to 20 minutes for an envelope that might have had the Scantrons but found nothing.

When Kohls addressed her Principles of Macroeconomics class the Wednesday after break, she could only share that all the exams were gone and IT Services would locate them.

Kohls said students were concerned about how their grades would be affected, and she discussed options with students and other faculty members in the College of Business Administration. She initially planned on adding questions to the final exam and creating an online homework assignment, but after hearing feedback from students, Kohl’s decided to give every student 100 percent on the midterm.

“What it does is it takes your curve that was really spread out and kind of smushes it down. It brings the people who were at the bottom part of the curve closer to the people who were at the top of the curve,” Kohls said. “That changed my average grade in the class but not by an outlandish amount. It’s going to work out just fine.”

Brase said he appreciated Kohls approach to finding an alternative for the midterm, but he would like to see how he did on the exam.

“I used to think it was a dream that somebody would lose a test and now I’m like, I actually put in hard work for this, so its kind of a bummer,” Brase said. “We’ll see how it affects everyone’s grades in the long run.”

Kohls said there is a specific process for submitting Scantrons for grading to IT Services. At the beginning of the semester she submits a form called “Form One,” which generates the Scantrons for her classes.

“Form Two” is the document Kohls includes with the completed Scantrons when she drops exams off at IT Services. This form indicates who is allowed to pick up the exams and how many questions and points are on the exam.

Kohls said it is supposed to be a one business day turnaround to scan and grade the exams. After the exams are graded, Kohls said IT Services generates a SharePoint report that communicates results and if there are any missing students where there could be blank Scantrons.

Mary Simmons, the senior director for IT Services, said the department would not discuss the missing Scantrons.

“At this time, IT Services is still investigating the matter and feel that it would be inappropriate to discuss this outside of the affected departments,” Simmons said in an email.

Kohls said she expects to continue using Scantrons because of the large numbers of students she regularly has in her classes. She also encourages other professors to immediately follow up with IT Services if the department doesn’t contact them within 24 hours after dropping off exams.

Ultimately, Kohls accepted the apologies she received from the department, but she would like IT Services to address the situation and how they are changing the procedure moving forward.

“What I would still really like to see is an announcement from IT Services talking about how they’re changing their Scantron policies to make sure this doesn’t happen because it worked out OK, but there really ought to be safeguards in place that this can never happen,” Kohls said. “I’d like some reassurance that this is never going to happen again.”

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