Optimum Solutions Corporation
Helps New York’s East End Educators Score with EASE
Advanced Scoring Solution Receives Warm Welcome from Long Island Schools
Optimum Solutions Corporation (OSC) continues to make serious inroads in New York State as six more schools choose the company’s EASE™ (Educational Assessment Scoring Environment) test scoring solutions for their standardized assessments. Montauk, Amagansett, Springs, Tuckahoe, Sag Harbor and Southampton recently clustered and relied on the company’s EASE suite of tools to score ELA, math and science tests, for grades 3 through 8, with great success.
“As past participants in Eastern Suffolk BOCES (ESBOCES) Regional Cluster Scoring, the six South Fork districts were excited to be able to participate in the electronic scoring; while in the comfort of our own location,” says Karenann Volinski, District Data Coordinator (Southampton) and Network Team Member. “ESBOCES was willing to work with us to ensure that we were able to do this. Along with support from OSC, the entire process, from training through scoring, was as smooth as it could possibly be. Every teacher involved in the scoring process was thrilled. I never saw people after two days of scoring walk out with smiles on their faces.”
With an increasing number of schools scanning, recording and maintaining tests electronically, OSC specifically addresses the needs of teachers with its EASE suite of tools. The company’s suite of applications features a unique combination of patented software and customized tools that facilitate the scoring of every type of assessment. With the extensive technical support and customer service that OSC provides, challenges are overcome quickly, scoring is expedited efficiently and the entire process runs smoothly and cost-effectively.
While Volinski says the time, cost savings and ease of use were huge, it was the anonymity features that were key. “Out here, it’s a very small community,” she explains. “Everybody knows everybody else. So, it was really important to all of us that there was a degree of anonymity involved with the scoring process. With OSC’s EASE system, it was not only fast and accurate, but totally confidential. The teachers scoring didn’t know what district a student was from or which student they were scoring. It was wonderful. But we also definitely saved money and time. The teachers were all very pleased.”
Volinski says that the OSC team was also extremely helpful right from the get-go, in the early stages of the process, working closely with the district’s IT department to help ensure the computers would be up and running, as well as seeing to it that the scorers would have the proper training.
“The teachers were familiar with the old-fashioned way of scoring but they just never did the computer scoring before,” she says. “So, the first part of each day, the teachers would train on the rubrics for two hours and then get on the computers, sign in and send in the responses through the computer. That was much faster and much more accurate than the traditional way of scoring.”
According to Volinski, the real-time monitoring was also an outstanding tool. ”I was given access to this a couple of days in and it allowed me to watch the scoring process as it progressed. I was able to see how many of each question was getting answered, whether certain areas were getting bogged down, or if people were getting bogged down, so then I could address it.”
Based on the same technology and concept as the company’s advanced market research and business software for data capture, tabulation and analyzing, the EASE software suite:
• Enforces anonymity to ensure impartiality: The identity of the student is hidden from the scorers. In a regional scoring environment, the student’s school and district are also hidden.
• Minimizes document handling: There is no need to move stacks of tests and flip through pages and pages of test papers, because all tests are scanned electronically, sorted and organized.
• Minimizes manual score reporting and quality control: Because the scoring is done on a computer there is no need to manually record the score. Manual scoring is inherently error prone and requires significant quality control to ensure accuracy. Both of these time consuming tasks are eliminated with electronic scoring and reporting.
• Integrates Workflow enabling quick & simple distribution of work: Questions can be easily assigned and redistributed to respond to any change in the scoring environment.
• Features real time monitoring: Enables supervisors to monitor the speed and capabilities of scorers in real time. Questionable data is automatically reviewed, and questionable answer patterns are reported.
• Enables scorers to remain focused: The same question appears on the screen repeatedly so the scorer becomes familiar with the question and focuses on the answers to that particular question.
• Organizes multiple page responses: Questions that are answered on multiple pages are viewed onscreen in one combined image.
• Features tools that speed scoring: Ruler and protractor functions are readily accessible. New features to aid the scoring process are constantly being developed and added.
• Eliminates missing or multiple scores: Scorers cannot proceed until they have scored the question that is currently on screen. They are prevented from advancing if they choose more than one score.
• Is easy to use: After just 5 – 10 minutes of demonstration, even scorers who are not computer savvy are comfortable using the system.
“We are extremely pleased with how smoothly the test scoring process went for the teachers in New York’s South Fork schools,” says Michael Kerr, President, OSC. “We have specifically developed our software so that we could help facilitate the scoring process of every type of assessment and help schools overcome the various challenges they face. With our EASE suite of applications, we not only help districts save money and time, but also offer a fast, fair and reliable solution. We look forward to continuing to grow our relationships with the various schools across New York State and welcome the opportunity to bring new schools on board.”
Kerr adds, “It was a pleasure working with the districts. They understood how to prepare and did everything necessary to ensure the scoring was a huge success. Understanding the process and working closely with OSC contributed to how smoothly everything went.”
Volinski says the entire process was so successful, that one more district, East Hampton, is prepared to participate next year.
“I was blown away by how this all worked,” she adds. “The whole process just amazed me. OSC was amazing. Every one of them was so helpful. They always made me feel comfortable with what I was doing. I was very pleased. I highly recommend OSC to anyone.”