Schoolrunner’s integration with GradeCam is a great way to quickly and easily upload student assessment results. To make sure that the process is as smooth as possible, follow these guidelines for best practices when printing and scanning student bubble sheets.


General Recommendations: Browser and Connection
Schoolrunner recommends Google Chrome for general use of the site, including GradeCam. Please visit this page to make sure you have the most up-to-date plugin and extension. 


It’s also important to consider your internet connection. Plugging into an ethernet cable generally gives you a stable, steady connection to Schoolrunner and GradeCam. Wifi can be less reliable due to variations in your connection strength, which can lead to incomplete scans when using GradeCam. Avoid this by plugging in when you can or by making sure you have a strong wifi signal.


Bubble Sheet Administration: Clear, Neat Student Marking
Once printed, it’s important that your students fill in answers clearly. Encourage them to mark each circle neatly and completely. Partly marked circles, or circles with markings outside of the perimeter may lead to problems when it comes to scanning. Pens and pencils are both acceptable as marking devices. Pencils have the advantage of being easily correctable, but the (often negligible) disadvantage of reflecting more light and making it more difficult for GradeCam to discern student responses.




Scanning Responses: Webcam

When scanning student responses via your webcam, you want to make sure that you hold the paper perpendicular to the camera for best results. You may see an outline of GradeCam’s perceived scanning area; it’s easiest for the system to scan on a perpendicular plane, rather than an angled one. 


Because each student sheet is scanned and sent first to GradeCam and then back to Schoolrunner, maintaining a stable internet connection is especially important when using your webcam. When a scan is successful, the GradeCam window will turn green and display a checkmark. This will happen for each successful form you scan. When it's not successful, you'll see the window turn red with an X, indicating there was something wrong with the scan. Also note that, when successful, results for each student will be listed out to the left of the GradeCam window.




Scanning Responses: Bulk Upload

If you use the bulk upload function, there are a few things to bear in mind. Just as you want to configure your printer to print sheets at a high enough resolution for GradeCam to recognize, you also want to configure your scanner to do the same. Scanning somewhere between 300 and 600 dpi is usually good, but going too high increases the file size and may slow down the upload. Your scanner may also have an option to scan in grayscale, black and white, or color. Grayscale is always the best option, followed by color. GradeCam does not recommend scanning in black and white.


It's also important to ensure that your scanner isn't "enhancing" scanned files by increasing the contrast. This makes it more difficult for GradeCam to recognize shading and gradient, which is essential to their technology. Check your scanner settings to ensure that scans are as true-to-life as possible, and not increasing contrast. If you're having issues with scanned files, you can also try scanning in photo or image mode; oftentimes, scanners will increase contrast when scanning in document or text mode.


The file type you choose is also important. Schoolrunner recommends JPG, but PNG, TIFF, and PDF files are accepted as well.


When successful, a green box will appear in the top right of your browser and will indicate that the scan successfully read all of the files. When unsuccessful, the box that appears will be red and will indicate how many files out of the total were read successfully, and will prompt you to upload them all once again. Results for each student will also appear listed out to the left of the window as with webcam scanning.




Troubleshooting

If things still go wrong, review the above best practices to make sure you didn't overlook anything, and pay attention to any error messages you receive. Error messages shown within the GradeCam window come directly from GradeCam and error messages that appear at the top of your screen come from Schoolrunner. If you can’t address the issue described by the error you see, reach out to the person at your school in charge of Schoolrunner.