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:
New Credit Plan
Old Subscription Plan
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 $$.
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.
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.
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.]
Email Student Notifications
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.
You purchase credit packs through your OnlineScoreTracker.com account. You can pay online via credit card or request that we send you an invoice.
One (1) credit will give you unlimited grading for one student for one month.
Here is an example:
Oct 3: You create a student account. The student’s status is IDLE. No charge.
Oct 5: You pre-print bubble sheets for that student. No charge.
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.
Nov 7: The student’s status automatically reverts to IDLE. No charge.
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 Joerg Weser|2017-06-27T12:27:32-06:00June 27th, 2017|BubbleScan|Comments Off on New CREDIT-based billing
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.
You probably noticed – and were probably a little confused by the new status values in our STUDENTS list.
We changed these values in preparation for our new billing system.
What used to be INACTIVE is now ARCHIVED/LOCKED. As before, this is status that you set manually – either by selecting one or more students through the checkbox in the first column and then selecting the Action “Archive/Lock” from the top; or by editing a specific student (click on their student ID, then on the pencil icon). If a student profile is ARCHIVED/LOCKED that student can no longer log into their student portal and you can no longer grade a test for that student. That is exactly the same as was the case with INACTIVE. It really is just a name change.
What used to be ACTIVE is now either ACTIVE or IDLE. ACTIVE means a test was graded for that student within the last month. IDLE means a test was not graded for that student in the last month.
With the new billing system you are charged one ‘credit’ for an ACTIVE student. You can grade an unlimited number of tests for an ACTIVE student without incurring additional charges. If you are a customer who hasn’t upgraded to the new credit system (and we will honor our previous agreement, you are welcome to stay at your current plan for the next 2 years for sure) then you will still be billed for ACTIVE or IDLE (or in other words all students who are not ARCHIVED/LOCKED).
One of the main reasons for the new billing system is that we have a lot of customers who find it difficult to manage their students’ status (i.e. they forget to deactivate student accounts) or they want to keep the student accounts open so their students can still access their student portal and view their scores. Under the old system this mean you paid for each month that you didn’t deactivate a student account. With the new ‘credit’ system, you no longer have to manage students’ status. A student’s status goes to IDLE (=not billed) automatically one month after they went ACTIVE (due to a test being graded for them).
We would like all of our current customers to upgrade to the new ‘credit’ based billing system. Although you pay more for each credit we believe you will find that you end up saving, and not just in the long run, but immediately. A separate blog article will explain this in more detail.
By Joerg Weser|2017-06-27T09:22:55-06:00June 27th, 2017|BubbleScan|Comments Off on What happened to INACTIVE?
‘Diagnostic Test’ – What is it and how does it work?
Our intention was to provide you, our tutoring customer, the ability to offer diagnostic tests to schools or large groups of people without paying a full credit to have each test graded. But it became apparent very quickly, even before we had announced it, that there were at least two uses for this new feature:
Use it as a promotional tool (as we had intended it) or
Use it for your day-to-day business if your students aren’t taking more than one (1) test per month.
I will explain the second use in this article. A description of the using ‘diagnostic test’ grading as a promotional tool will be covered in a separate article next week.
Using ‘Diagnostic Tests’ for your day-to-day business to grade infrequent tests
If you grade tests using our system you will pay 1 credit for one month of unlimited test grading for a student. It’s a really good deal. But what if your student only takes one (1) test every 6 weeks or so? If you process their test as a ‘Diagnostic Test’ then you’ll only pay 0.5 credit for that test. And if you purchased at least 100 credits and received the 200 discounted diagnostic tests, you’ll only pay 0.1 credits. That is quite a saving!
Grading a ‘diagnostic test’ for a student who is already in your system is really no different than grading a test the ‘regular’ way. The one difference is the starting point.
For regular tests (1 credit = unlimited testing for one month) you can click on ‘Upload PDFs/TIFs of Scanned Answer Sheets’ from either the home page or from the TESTS page.
To grade a ‘Diagnostic Test’, click on ‘Setup a Promotional Diagnostic Test’ on the TESTS page.
Then click on ‘Grade Diagnostic Tests’. From that point on the process is exactly the same as when grading a ‘regular’ test.
Be aware: Grading tests as ‘Diagnostic Tests’ always incurs the 0.5 (or 0.1) credit charge. Even students who would otherwise be covered by the the ‘unlimited grading for 1 month’ will incur a 0.5 (or 0.1) credit charge if their test is graded as a ‘Diagnostic Test’
‘Diagnostic Test’ grading is only available to customers using one of CREDIT plans.
Discounted diagnostic test credits do not ‘roll over’. They are tied to credits purchased with the ‘Credit Pack’, i.e. when you have used up the credits purchased with the Credit Pack, any unused discounted diagnostic test credits received with that purchase will expire.
Just find the key you want and click on the PREMIUM link.
If you haven’t already, you will also need to upload our list of categories and category groups. This is done through the KEYS menu. Select the rSAT categories then click ADD and click on the link to download our list of categories, edit this file if desired and then upload it again to install it in your OnlineScoreTracker account.