On exams with Multiple Answers to a single question

Standard exams are generated to have only a single correct answer to each question. Standard mark-sense forms allow five choices for the answer. For certain types of questions, it may be beneficial to generate instead an exam in which multiple answers are allowed for each question, that is, more than one of (a)-(e) should be filled in. An example would be a problem with five independent statements given, with instructions to mark all the statements that are true. This could also be used to select one answer from more than five possibilities. The multiple-answer option allows 31 possible answers, assuming all blanks is not a valid option.

The department's gread program has an alternate capability to scan in multiple-answer exams, rather than the usual mode which insists on only one choice being filled in. The general procedure is described in “How to Read Exam Answer Sheets”, but for multiple answer you must be sure to use m instead of c, both when you begin with the second sheet and any time the machine stops for an adjustment and you are ready to continue.

The department does not maintain standard grading software for these exams.

Format of the output

In ordinary MC mode, the student answers are encoded in a string of numbers 1-5, or blank, corresponding to the chosen answer a-e. In multiple answer mode, the marked answers are converted to a number, starting with zero and adding 1 if a is filled in, 2 if b is, 4 if c is, 8 if d is, and 16 if e is. This gives a number between 0 and 31. Then a single character is used, 1-9 represents 1-9, 0 turns into a blank, and 10-31 is encoded as A-V.

Created 11/30/2009  R. Gilman, but extensively modified and shortened by Joel Shapiro. Ron's original is here