A student has traditionally been given a 504 accommodation to be permitted to mark answers to multiple choice questions directly in the test booklet, for a proctor to transfer the answers to the bubble sheet (optical scan sheet). Now he's in a situation where this accommodation has been rejected.

If you're curious, his difficulty with bubble sheets has to do with ADHD, OCD, anxiety and sensory integration disorder. He sometimes presses too hard, sometimes too light. It is inherently hard for him to bubble neatly, but he also obsesses about it, and this ends up wearing him out mentally, leaving him less able to concentrate on the content of the test questions.

Well, okay, he lost the battle (for the accommodation) and will regroup for the war (e.g. updated neuropsych testing has already been scheduled), but in the meantime, there is a high-stakes test on Tuesday and I have to figure out just how messy the bubbles can be, and still be readable. This will help lower the anxiety for the student. (Today is Saturday.)

What I have found so far: "Most systems accommodate for human error in filling in ovals imprecisely, as long as they do not stray into the other ovals and the oval is almost completely filled." (Wikipedia)

I need images showing the threshold. A messy but acceptable bubble and a messy bubble that the scanner coughed on.

Here is a screenshot of what the bubbles look like for this particular high-stakes test:

enter image description here

closed as off-topic by jakebeal, scaaahu, padawan, Buzz, user3209815 Jan 15 '18 at 7:57

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  • 6
    I feel like the answer to this depends on the machine, not sure how we can answer how accurate the machine can be. – Michael Jun 10 '17 at 14:23
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    Do you have access to the machine? You could try a number of different bubbling "techniques", say ten each way, to see what the accuracy is. At the end of the day, I would hope that if the Scantron is returned to the student graded, and they can demonstrate that it misgraded a number of questions, that a standard academic grievance should be sufficient to restore the proper grade. (While a professor might be a dick about such things, from what I've heard talking to the disability resource center at my university, department heads and up to be more reasonable) – guifa Jun 10 '17 at 14:50
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    I believe this will be more answerable and in scope if you change this from "How does this machine work?" to "How do I deal with this problem, given that we have to use the machine?" – jakebeal Jun 10 '17 at 18:15
  • @guifa - Access to the machine? Look, I had evaluations. I had the evaluators in the meeting. But I lost. These people are beyond unreasonable. There are good guys and bad guys in this world. // No, the Scantron will not be returned to the student graded. // We are waay beyond standard academic grievances. – aparente001 Jun 10 '17 at 19:00
  • @jakebeal - I have a strategy to deal with the problem, in general terms, I just need some technical information so when the student practices bubbling, I can compare the results against the images and say, this one is fine, this one will cause a hiccup. // If there's a different SE site that would get me a quicker answer, I'm all ears. We have to figure this out by tomorrow afternoon. – aparente001 Jun 10 '17 at 19:03