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

    A deployment option to suit any organisation

    Whether you’re a national hub processing millions of papers every year, distributed centres capturing a few thousand papers per day, or a school looking to process an ad-hoc exam, we have a deployment option to suit.

    • Small volume

      Our scanning bureau service is designed for limited use environments with small volumes or infrequent use such as the 11 plus entrance exam.

      Our services includes:

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

      Mid volume is suitable for schools/colleges/universities who run exam sessions at several venues or locations.

      This option includes the installation of data capture software at a designated hub. Individual venues will collect completed answers at the end of the exam and arrange for secure delivery to the hub for scanning and processing.

      Our service includes:

      •     Design APs (training is available to enable your staff to design APs)
      •     Install data capture software and document scanner at the designated hub. Fully scalable, the entry point is the single-user licence with the capacity to process up to around 5,000 returned answer sheets per day
      •     Deliver user training to enable your staff to process returned answer sheets
      •     Provide ongoing technical support and maintenance
    • Enterprise

      This deployment is suitable for enterprise clients who process high volumes of returned scripts from a single, centralised location.

      Our services include:

      •     Design APs (training is available to enable your staff to design APs)
      •     Provide PDFs of answer sheets (and other materials) for venue staff to print on standard office printers and 90-100gsm paper or to be printed centrally at a professional print shop
      •     Install multi-user scanning infrastructure at the central hub
      •     User training for centre users to process returned answer sheets
      •     Ongoing technical support and maintenance
    • Distributed

      Distributed is suitable for enterprise clients and awarding bodies who process high volumes of test papers from remote venues/centres across the world.

      Our services include:

      •     Design blank/personalised APs
      •     Web portal to download and print APs and other materials (e.g. exception reports)
      •     Remote web scanning with the eScan app to capture and classify completed APs at the test centre after the exam. Centre users will launch eScan via a link on the web portal and run the app on local PCs and upload images back to HQ
      •     Remote verification with the eVerify app to confirm intended responses or correct misread characters on APs in a web-based interface
      •     Data export to third-party OSM systems for on-screen marking or standard file formats
      •     Web portal dashboards to provide real-time status monitoring of any session or venue
      •     User training
      •     Ongoing technical support and maintenance

      Solution components

      Exam sheet design

      Exam sheet design

      A structured exam sheet will be designed for each component and optimised for higher capture rates

      The 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.

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      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/test centre.

      Second, they can be made available online and grouped by component and/or candidate ready for downloading and printing. 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 venues can test their scanning, download and print QPs and APs, scan completed APs, monitor progress, fulfil re-scan requests and reconcile scanning.

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      Answer sheet capture

      Answer sheet capture

      The next step 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.

      Firstly, if the system is installed on-site, staff will scan answer sheets using a high-speed scanner to capture/classify/extract candidate responses.

      Secondly, for larger deployments in remote locations, the eScan app is available via a link on the web portal offering scanning, reconciliation, error rectification and transmission of answer sheets.

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

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      Answer sheet verification

      Answer sheet verification

      The next step is to queue any unclear papers for human verification. This is achieved in one of three ways, depending on your deployment option.

      Firstly, if the system is installed on-site, your staff will verify borderline candidate responses.

      Secondly, if you opt for our scanning bureau service, our verification team will review any ambiguous responses.

      Thirdly, for distributed test centres, the eVerify app allows users to confirm the intended responses or correct misread characters in a web-accessible, high-speed verification interface.

      Once verified, the data is exported to any required format or made available to on-screen marking systems.

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      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, captured and verified scripts can be exported to third-party on-screen marking solutions (OSM).

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      Reading School


      Scanning bureau

      Reading School release 11 plus exam results faster by outsourcing admissions testing to ePC

      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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      • stars

        I also want to thank you for your excellent service and support this year, it is always much appreciated and you are a valued supplier.

        Technical Analyst, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

      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 for exam paper distribution
      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
      Exam paper scanning with eScan
      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 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
      Exam paper vefication with eVerify
      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 (OSM) solutions
      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

      We work with

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

        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.

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        • Northumbria University

          Northumbria University


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