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The ES2260 Scantron Project
The ES2260 scantron scanner project originated from trying to make a point card system more efficient. The old system was tedious and time consuming. Everything was done by hand. The data reports were only based off of partial data, since calculating all the information by hand would have taken forever.
The starting point is the scantron scancard. Every day a child fills out a card according to their performance. There is no need to keep the other childrens point cards physically seperated, because a unique ID is geneterated for each child to put on their scantron pointcard. After about month or so all the cards from the home are brought in and scanned. There was a card feeder option that we purchased with our scantron scanner. This allowed us to scan roughly 100 cards sequentally without having to feed them all by hand. After all the scantron cards are scanned the employees are able to go to a certain webpage and generate a report based off of the data.
Scantron has a scripting language that we ordered with the scanner package. It was very similar to the programming language BASIC. This scripting language helped us to prepare the data before we put it into our database.
There were various querky problems we ran into on this project. Originally when the reports were written everything worked fine. Over the past year we started having performance issues where the reports were gradually taking longer and longer to generate. I've done a writeup on how we went from 4.5 minutes to 1-2 seconds on generating the reports.
Another problem we ran into was the scantron cards being filled out sloppy or incomplete. There was an incentive that one of the consultants started that seemed the most effective. He made a deal with all the kids that whoever has the least errors on their cards would receive a $10 gift certificate to Walmart.
If I remember the ES2260 scantron scanner cost us in the ballpark of $4000. I can't remember the cost of printing the point cards off the top of my head, but it seemed fair. The only other cost was time it took to set it up and program. The languages used in this project was BASIC, SQL, and PHP.