Design, capture and processing services for pen and paper based exams

For awarding bodies seeking a quicker turnaround of exam results, the slow capture and marking of paper based exams can be a challenge. eXam is a modular platform for high stakes exams that performs the following functions:

  • generation of blank and personalised exam papers
  • electronic distribution of papers and other materials direct to venues
  • answer paper (AP) capture, processing and verification
  • on-screen marking of long and short written responses

At ePC, we understand that every organisation is different, every assessment is tailored, and each candidate is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so we draw upon the platform components to design and build a bespoke process that suits your organisation.

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  • Civica Logo
  • Cambridge English Logo
  • British Council Logo
  • Btl Logo
  • University Of Northumbria At Newcastle Logo

    Deployment options

    Whether you're a national hub processing hundreds of thousands of question papers, much smaller distributed venues capturing a few hundred papers per day, or a school looking to process an ad-hoc paper based test, we have a deployment option to suit.

    • Single site

      Our scanning bureau service is designed for limited use environments with low volumes or ad hoc paper based testing e.g., 11+ entrance exam. Our service includes:

      •     Design/print APs
      •     Deliver pre-printed/blank APs and other exam preparation materials
      •     Collection of completed APs
      •     Capture, classify, extract, and validate data from returned APs
      •     Export data to any required format
      •     Electronic viewing of scanned answer sheets
    • Multisite

      Multisite is suitable for schools and higher education who run paper based exams at several venues or locations.

      This option includes the installation of data capture software at a designated hub where returned scripts will be processed. Our service includes:

      •     Design/print APs
      •     Deliver pre-printed/blank APs and other exam preparation materials to venues
      •     Install software/scanner at the designated hub
      •     Deliver user training
      •     Provide ongoing technical support and maintenance

      Individual venues will collect filled APs at the end of the exam and arrange for secure delivery to the designated hub for scanning and processing.

    • Enterprise

      Enterprise is suitable for larger deployments covering hundreds of centres and/or several countries. Our services include:

      •     Design QPs and blank/personalised APs
      •     Web portal for venues to download and print QPs and APs
      •     Launch scanning module via a link on the web portal and run on local PCs
      •     The ability to scan APs at the venue immediately after an exam
      •     Scan, index and verify APs in real-time
      •     Export data to any required format e.g., CSV, Excel
      •     Securely transmit AP data to third-party OSM systems for on-screen marking
      •     Monitor the status of any session or venue with dashbords
      •     Deliver user training
      •     Provide ongoing technical support and maintenance
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      Solution components

      Exam sheet design

      Exam sheet design

      A structured question paper will be designed for each component and optimised for higher capture rates.

      The answer sheet can offer multiple layout possibilities with intelligent character recognition (ICR) reading short written responses and optical character recognition (OCR) capturing machine-printed text. This means individual candidate details (name, school, date of birth) can be pre-printed on the answer sheet. Other examples include a unique reference number and/or test date/location. Optical mark recognition (OMR) will mark answers to multiple choice questions (MCQ).

      Additionally, the answer paper can include cornerstones and ID blocks to reduce manual intervention and barcodes to identify candidates.

      Read more

      Distribution of exam sheets and supporting materials

      Distribution of exam sheets and supporting materials

      Pre-printed and blank APs as well as supporting materials can be made available in one of two ways, depending on your deployment option.

      First, they can be despatched by courier to your school/college/university, or secondly, they can be made available online and grouped by component and/or candidate ready for downloading and printing by the exam venue.

      Once received, exam papers can be printed professionally, if the volume requires it, or simply on office printers for smaller volumes.

      For larger deployments, a web portal is available where exam venues can test their scanning, download and print QPs and APs, scan completed APs, monitor progress, fulfil re-scan requests and reconcile scanning.

      Read more

      Answer sheet capture, processing and verification

      Answer sheet capture, processing and verification

      The next step in the process is to convert the answer scripts into a digital format for processing. This is achieved in one of three ways, depending on your deployment option.

      The first option involves the on-site deployment of data capture software. Venue staff will collect completed answer sheets at the end of the exam and feed them into a high-speed document scanner to begin image processing, verification (correction) and indexing.

      Secondly, if you opt for our scanning bureau service, we will collect the completed answers sheets and process them accordingly.

      Thirdly, remote scanning is available via a web portal for larger deployments covering hundreds of test locations of varying sizes across a large geographical spread.

      Read more

      On-screen marking

      On-screen marking

      The on-screen marking component extracts the relevant response areas from scanned images and presents them to remote examiners for clerical marking in a secure, online environment.

      Alternatively, indexed data can be securely transmitted to third-party OSM systems for on-screen marking.

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      Reading School


      Scanning bureau

      Reading School release exam results faster by outsourcing OMR scanning to ePC's document scanning bureau

      I would highly recommend ePC to other schools seeking a scanning bureau to provide document scanning services. Our school has saved a significant amount of time during this year’s admissions process by outsourcing both the design of the OMR sheet and exam paper scanning with results issued to pupils in record time. We have greatly appreciated the personal contact and professional service provided; it has exceeded our expectations and my colleagues speak highly of it.

      A.M. Robson, Headmaster

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      Built-in features for paper based exams

      Flexible and easy to use features to support a modular and more progressive approach to script capture, processing, verification, and marking.

      Exam paper design
      QP / AP redesigned and optimised for distributed printing and scanning
      Personalised test papers (with candidate name, number, centre, session date, component etc.)
      Non-personalised (blank) test papers
      Question types e.g. MCQ (multiple choice questions), short answer, long text, and drawing or diagram areas
      Barcoded to identify candidates and reconcile answer sheets
      Question randomisation
      Web portal
      Single sign on (SSO) for secure worldwide access
      Custom branding
      Download personalised QP/AP from the portal for printing
      Download non-personalised QP/AP from the portal for printing
      Print test pages to calibrate printer/scanner settings
      Dashboard reports monitoring the status of any session or centre
      Request regeneration of PDF packs
      Mark as re-scan required / unscannable / absent
      Accept last-minute candidates and amendments
      Launch scanning module via the portal
      Image scanning
      Scan AP’s at the venue immediately after a paper based exam
      Real-time validation of AP’s
      Traffic light warnings to alert users to problems with scanned images
      Uninterrupted scanning in the event of poor Internet connectivity
      Exception reporting to identify absent candidates or malpractice investigations
      Batch reference number generated upon successful transmission of images (‘proof of delivery’)
      Image conversion and extraction
      Image pre-processing e.g. image correction for skew, scanner distortion and print margin adjustment
      Identify AP & candidates
      Read constrained print fields (one cell per letter/number/character)
      Read multiple choice questions with optical mark recognition (OMR)
      Read short written responses with intelligent character recognition (ICR)
      Read machine printed text with optical character recognition (OCR) e.g. pre-printed candidate details (name, school, date of birth)
      Minimum confidence thresholds
      Image verification
      Display character or field for an operator to review
      Minimise keystrokes with operators automatically progressing to the next character or field for review
      Request re-scan if an image is unreadable or insufficient quality
      Make decisions about duplicate images (retain, re-assign, discard or append)
      Export data to any required format e.g., CSV, Excel
      Export data to third-party on-screen marking solutions (OSM)
      On-screen marking
      Item level marking
      Bulk item entry (submit ‘correct marks for all’)
      Submit marks
      Team management structure (Admin User, Team Leader, Monitor, Marker)
      Quality assurance rules enforced (double marking, error rates, marker probation periods, escalations, hierarchical marker monitoring)
      Access to noticeboard and support messaging system
      Remote marking

      Case studies

      • Civica



        Following a OJEU tender process, the British Council commissioned Civica as the prime contractor to deliver an on-screen marking (OSM) solution to mark up to 2.25 million ‘pen and paper’ IELTS tests each year.

        As part of the agreement, Civica appointed ePC as its sub-contractor for the script capture, processing and verification work.

      • Cambridge English

        Cambridge English


        Expert in language assessment automates paper-based assessments with OMR exam processing and on-screen marking system.

        Read more

      • Northumbria University

        Northumbria University


        Leading UK university uses TeleForm to design, scan and verify OMR answer sheets from undergraduate and postgraduate examinations.

        We work with

        • IELTS Logo
        • Mark Manager
        • Janison Logo
        • Nesa Logo

          Request a demo

          eXam is a modular exam software for high stakes paper based exams that provides components for script capture, processing, and verification as well as on-screen marking.

          Contact us today to book your free demonstration.

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