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Mr. Wightman

East High

“I retired from Green Bay Area Public Schools and I sometimes substitute at GBAPS High Schools.
I began development of an automated optical mark reader system for teachers (more advanced than Scantron) because it should be easier for teachers to scan and record assessments without breaking the budget. I won't make money on this project; as a matter of fact I have already spent several hundred dollars on R&D for the hardware. The design is now ready to build a final set of prototypes. I am hopeful that a working set of three prototypes will be complete and in testing phase by the end of this school year. ”

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Thank you for considering supporting my automated scanning and recording Optical Mark Reader (OMR) project. In my 29 years of experience as a high school teacher I spent many hours checking papers thus I became acutely aware of the heavy time-consuming workload many teachers have to contend with. I also noticed that frequent use of an OMR, which gave immediate feedback to students in an AP class, showed significant improvement in student scores on classroom tests (course= AP Psychology). I am asking for funding to build 3 optical mark reader prototypes for an open source assessment system that I have designed and tested over the past 20 years (open source means hardware and/or software is available at no charge). The first prototype I built scanned correctly and worked adequately, but did not automatically check answers with an answer key. It also used the obsolete parallel port of a PC, which most PC's no longer have. I have improved the design by adding a microprocessor which will check the answers, as well as read a student ID code, automatically format output and then uses a laptop or desktop's USB port to record each score in a folder on the teacher's computer. This allows direct import into a spreadsheet for teacher use or automated import into grade-book software. A group of teachers at East High in Green Bay, WI have agreed to put these prototypes to the test in their classrooms as we develop the internal software for the scanner's computer, which will automatically score and store the assessments through a USB port onto the teacher's computer. The end result will be open source plans usable by a CNC machine or 3D printer to make parts, schematics, circuit board layouts, and parts lists. The greatest ongoing cost for most OMR scanners is the test answer forms. My design includes word-processor forms which teachers can print via a word processor and standard printer. The cost of $1200 for the three prototypes and $750 for software and software development costs totals to $1,950. I am donating the circuit designs I have developed over the past two decades. I estimate the total cost of building the finished hardware to be between $500 and $700 for a single unit, significantly less if building more than 10 units.

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