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Email Notifications for Students

You can now send email notifications to your students.

Your account is pre-loaded with 2 templates of the probably most common email notifications you’ll be sending –to tell them about their online Student Portal and to tell them that their scores are available.

You are of course able to modify our templates as well as add your own.

In this article I will tell you how to send emails, show you how to manage the optional email templates, and introduce you to the Email log

The new email notification feature is free for customers using our credits-based billing and $15/month otherwise (after Oct 1, 2017).

How to send Emails

From either the Classes-Students, Users-Students, or Tests list, select students (or tests) by clicking the selection box in front of each student/test and then select “Email Students” from the Action dropdown box.

You can now load an existing email template and subsequently edit it – or simply type a new email.

We have added a few useful placeholders, that you can use for

  • first name
  • last name
  • username
  • default_password
  • url
  • account

A students actual password in the database is encrypted and even we can’t read it. The password placeholder is the default password you set through Tools-Preferences. Only use this placeholder if your are telling a student about a brand new account with the default password.

The url is your custom url to access your OnlineScoreTracker account.

Account is the same name that shows up in the header of your OnlineScoreTracker. You can change it through Tools – Customize (Web Panel – Select Display Name).  A good use for this is signing an email “Your team at {{account}}”.

Manage (optional) Email Templates

We have pre-loaded your account with two Email templates. You can delete or edit them and add your own.

This is done through Tools – Emails, then select the Templates button/tab:

Email Log

Naturally, you will want to monitor what happens to the emails you send out. The log (accessible via Tools – Emails) will show the following statuses:

  • Processed: Message has been sent. This is a temporary message that will be replaced by one of the other messages.
  • Delivered: Message has been successfully delivered to the receiving server.
  • Dropped: Message has been rejected by the receiving server. Most common is because of a “bounce” due to a wrong email address.
By | 2017-09-18T16:17:03+00:00 September 18th, 2017|BubbleScan|0 Comments

Answer Key for CollegeBoard Jan 2017 (5MSA15) available

We’ve added the answer key for CollegeBoard’s Jan 2017 (5MSA15) test to our library.

Click here to download the csv, then install it into your OnlineScoreTracker.com account.

The default answer key / test ID that your students will need to bubble in is #70.

Note: If you have other keys you would like to share with our tutoring community, we will gladly capture them and add them for free.

By | 2017-08-23T02:58:56+00:00 August 23rd, 2017|BubbleScan|Comments Off on Answer Key for CollegeBoard Jan 2017 (5MSA15) available

What is Active(1) and Active(unlimited)?

If you are a current customer you have probably noticed “Active (1)” and “Active (unlimited)” show up in the status column of the list of students in your account.

No, this is not an attempt to confuse you or keep you guessing.

We’ve simplified our brand new credits-based billing. Our well-meaning attempt to help you grow your business by offering discounts for one-off diagnostic tests you might want to administer at a local school thoroughly confused most everyone we tried to explain it to. So we have come up with a new, simpler (we think) scheme:

  • 1 credit = 1 test
  • 2 credits = unlimited grading for one student for one month.

Here is how this will work:

We are starting with a student account that has a status of “Idle”. This means you have just created a new account or you haven’t graded any tests for that student in over a month. Under the credits-based billing, we do not charge you anything for a student with a status of “Idle”.

It’s Aug 18, and you grade a test for that student (either by processing the scanned paper bubble sheet, or by the student completing an online answer sheet, or you manually entering the student’s answers) – we charge you 1 credit. The student’s status changes from “Idle” to “Active (1)”.

On Aug 20 you grade a second test for that student. We charge you 1 additional credit. The student’s status changes from “Active (1)” to “Active (unlimited)”. You can now grade an unlimited number of additional tests for that student until Sep 17 without incurring any additional charges.

On Sep 18, the student’s status changes from “Active (unlimited)” to “Idle” and remains in that status until you grade another test. At that point the above process repeats itself.

Is that clear as mud? I hope it’s a lot clearer.  The process happens automatically.  You do not have to manage student statuses.

You can see a history of the credits we’ve charged you through Tools-Credits. This new 1-2 credit scheme started Aug 21. So any credit history before would be for the old scheme. Probably a bit confusing at the moment, but hopefully it will get a lot clearer as we move forward and the history fills up with Active (1) and Active (unlimited) entries.

And yes, you are probably wondering how we handle credits you’ve already purchased as you now need 2 credits to get unlimited test grading for one student for one month instead of 1. We’ve credited your account with the number of credits you currently have plus any credits you’ve used in the past month.

And yes, the price per credit has been reduced by half (or in some cases a little more than half).

We hope this makes the billing much easier to understand. No more … (I won’t attempt to give a quick summary of how we wanted to handle one-off discounted diagnostic tests)… just a simple 1 credit = 1 test, 2 credits = unlimited test grading for one student for one month.

Customers who have not switched to the new credits-based billing system, will see the new statuses and will be able to track their hypothetical credit usage under Tools – Credits. But you will continue to be billed for all student accounts that are not ‘archived/locked’.

And finally… right now is a good time to buy some extra credits. We have a ‘back to school’ special going on where you can purchase 40 credits for $40. That’s 40 tests for $40 or grading an unlimited number of tests for 20 students for one full month. This offer expires Oct 1, 2017.

 

What’s next:

We are currently working on the ability for students to take a complete timed tests with predetermined breaks through their student portal – and after that it’s finally your ability to send email notifications to students when a test is graded.

 

By | 2017-08-22T11:08:08+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|BubbleScan|Comments Off on What is Active(1) and Active(unlimited)?

Premium Answer Key for SAT #8 Available

The premium answer key for SAT Practice Test #8 from CollegeBoard is now available.

A premium key is one where we have mapped every question to one of our custom categories, such as “Words in Context: Meaning” or “Heart or Algebra: Create Equations”.

An analysis of how a student did within each category is printed on pages 2 and 3 of the student report.

All customers can easily create their own list of custom categories and then map each question of a given answer key to one of those categories. This is a standard feature and many of our tutoring customers rightfully take pride in the value their custom question mapping provides to their students. For tutors who don’t want to take the time to do this, we offer our ‘premium answer keys’ where this mapping has been done.

Our SAT categories are listed here:

We offer premium keys for all 8 of CollegeBoard’s SAT Practice tests. Customers who pay for their OnlineScoreTracker usage with ‘credits’ will receive this upgrade at no charge. For customers under a previous billing plan we will install each premium key for only $45. Once installed you can make use of the key forever.

Please contact us to request one (or all 8) of the answer keys.

By | 2017-08-04T13:24:37+00:00 August 4th, 2017|BubbleScan|Comments Off on Premium Answer Key for SAT #8 Available

Answer Key for ACT 74C (June 2017) now available

We just added the answer key for ACT 74C from June 2017 to our database.

The answer key includes the mapping of every question to the new ACT reporting categories.

We’ve also updated the answer key for ACT 74F (Apr 2017), which before was missing the reporting categories.

As a valued customer you have free access to these answer keys. You can download them from here:

ACT 74C

ACT 74F

Or from our web site: http://bubblescan.com/supported-tests/

To install an answer key:

  1. Log into your OnlineScoreTracker.com account
  2. Select KEYS – ACT(2016) keys
  3. Click on “ADD ACT (2016) answer key”
  4. Select to “Upload compatible file” , click <Continue>
  5. Browse to the csv file you previously downloaded and upload it to your account.
By | 2017-08-02T09:03:17+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|BubbleScan|Comments Off on Answer Key for ACT 74C (June 2017) now available

Switching

In June 2017 we switched to a new credits-based billing system. In August 2017 we made changes to the credits-based billing, prompting an update to this blog article. For current pricing click here.

The purpose of this article is to discuss why or why not existing customers may want to switch to this new system.  But before we do this, let me clarify. No current customer has to make that switch. We appreciate your business, we value you as a customer, without you we wouldn’t be here.  If you don’t see any value now or at any time in the future to switch to the new credits-based billing, you are welcome to stay with what you have.

Here is what I will advise you to do:
Monitor how much you pay under your current plan and compare that to what you would have paid under the credit plan. Under Tools-Credits you can see how many credits you would have used every month. If you are interested we will provide a proposal of how we can turn your pre-paid annual plan or recent (last 6 months) purchases of premium keys into credits.

Here is a quick overview of the differences between the two plans:

 Feature/Benefit  New Credit Plan  Old Subscription Plan
Billing Frequency  Buy more credits when you need it. They are good for one year.  Annual or monthly; many annual customers receive a monthly bill for overage, which at times can be a bit of a nuisance when amounts are just a few $$.
 Seasonality  Credits are good for a year. Seasons of inactivity (i.e. no grading) do not incur any charges.  You pay for a fixed number of students depending on your plan, regardless if you are grading any tests or not.
 Premium Keys  All of our premium keys (answers are mapped to categories) are included  $45+ per premium key
 Diagnostic Test ‘Kit’  Print bubble sheets with ‘pre-registered’ student information (i.e. just a Student ID) and then add a name to that student ID after the student has taken the test.  Not available.
Student Self-Registration Let students register themselves on your web site. You can use this to offer a free* test to visitors to your site to turn them into a real lead. [*You are charged 1 credit for a test.] Not available.
Email Student Notifications Included $15/month
 Management of Student Status  Under the new system, a student has one of three statuses:

  • IDLE: no test graded for the student – no charge
  • ACTIVE (1): first test graded for that student; we start a one month clock = 1 credit
  • ACTIVE (unlimited): a second test was graded for that student within one month from that student’s status going to ACTIVE (1) = 1 additional credit; any additional tests graded while the student’s status is ACTIVE (unlimited) do not incur any additional charges

They system will change that status automatically. Unless you want to Archive/Lock student accounts, there is no need to spend time managing students’ account statuses.

 Need to manually deactivate students who are no longer using the system.
Student Access to Student Panel No additional charge. As long as you permit it, by not setting a student’s account status to Archived/Locked, a student can access their OnlineScoreTracker student portal. We like to think this presents an opportunity to stay in front of previous customers for potentially more business. You are billed for one student/month to give a student access to their student portal, whether or not the student actually logs in or not.
By | 2017-09-18T16:40:55+00:00 June 27th, 2017|BubbleScan|Comments Off on Switching

New CREDIT-based billing

We now provide a credit-based billing system.

Here is how it works:

  1. You purchase credit packs through your OnlineScoreTracker.com account. You can pay online via credit card or request that we send you an invoice.
  2. One (1) credit will give you unlimited grading for one student for one month.

Here is an example:

  1. Oct 3: You create a student account. The student’s status is IDLE. No charge.
  2. Oct 5: You pre-print bubble sheets for that student. No charge.
  3. Oct 7: You process the scanned bubble sheets and OnlineScoreTracker creates a student report. The student’s account status changes from IDLE to ACTIVE. You can now grade an UNLIMITED number of tests for that student for one month (until Nov 6). You are charged 1 credit.
  4. Nov 7: The student’s status automatically reverts to IDLE. No charge.
  5. Any time after Nov 7: If you grade another test for the student after Nov 6, the student’s status will be ACTIVE again and you’ll be billed one (1) credit.

Naturally, we couldn’t stop there.

We do have a good number of customers who give diagnostic tests at schools in order to win new business. If you are one of those pro-active customers, we, of course, want you to grade those tests using our system. Charging you a full credit seems a little pricey for a one-off diagnosti test, so we came up with a way for you to grade tests for 0.5 credits/test. Tests grade that way will not affect a student’s status (i.e. it remains IDLE).

And to make it even better, we are adding ‘discounted diagnostic tests’ for all who buy at least the 100 credit pack. E.g. when you purchase the 100 credit pack you get 200 discounted diagnostic tests for only 0.1 credit/test. This discount is automatically applied to the first 200 diagnostic tests you grade after purchase. After that the rate goes back to 0.5 credits/test.

You can monitor your credit usage through Tools-Credits. The table on that page records every time a credit or partial credit is used with the student ID of the student that incurred the credit.

And for the very savvy user that of course presents an opportunity: What if your business is such that your students usually don’t take more than 1 or 2 tests/month?

Yes, you can grade all your paper&pencil tests as diagnostic tests.

If you purchase 100 credits for $300 and get 200 discounted diagnostic tests and run ALL your tests as diagnostic tests, you’d be able to grade a total of 360 tests. 200 tests at 0.1 credits/test  for a total of 20 credits. And 160 tests at 0.5 credits/test for a total of 80 credits. That’s $0.83 per test. Pretty good deal! [Pricing in this example is accurate at the time of publication, but subject to change.]

By | 2017-06-27T12:27:32+00:00 June 27th, 2017|BubbleScan|1 Comment

Pre-Print Bubblesheets

You asked for it, you got it.

You can now pre-print bubblesheets with a student’s name, date, test name, and bubbled-in TestID and StudentID.

 

To accomplish this select one or more students either from the list of students accessed through the CLASSES menu or through the USERS menu. Then select the ACTION “Print Bubblesheets”,

 

specify a test date and whether or not you want to include additional ESSAY pages.

 

We will create a PDF like this:

click on image to view sample PDF

When printing, please remember to print using Adobe Reader or Acrobat and specifying ‘ACTUAL SIZE’. We’ve gotten pretty good at reading shrunken pages, but you’ll get the best OMR reading experience when you start with bubblesheets that are printed at 100%.

And in case you are wondering, no, we don’t actually process the ESSAY pages (yet).  We do have some ideas, but they are only ideas at the moment, not active development projects.

By | 2017-06-27T10:08:02+00:00 June 27th, 2017|BubbleScan, Support|Comments Off on Pre-Print Bubblesheets