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AVANTE Announces Solution for Fixing the College Board SAT Scoring Errors

(Princeton NJ)– AVANTE is proud to announce the awarding of an additional patent (10487,886) that can substantially improve test scoring and management. The 2006 scoring errors of SAT by the tabulation company engaged by the College Board highlighted a long over due need for a technological upgrade. The errors were attributed to the moisture induced paper expansion and inability to resolve lightly marked “bubble marks.”

The inability to resolve lightly marked “bubble marks” and errors due to paper expansion or shrinkage are known problems in the industry for at least 30 years since automatic tabulation of standardized tests was first used. Combined with the inherent paper alignment errors, as much as 1.5% of tests¹ were tallied wrong in this publicized debacle. For the individual student taking the test, the highest error rate is 450 points¹ or 19% for a 2400 point test or 25% for a 1600 point test.

Less known to the public, the same error rates also appear in tabulation of votes in US elections when paper ballots are used. The Federal Voting System Standards of 2002 now specifically mandate voting systems to have less than 1 error in 500,000 marks when the paper ballot is marked correctly (i.e. properly filled “bubble marks”). Systems based on discrete sensor/OMR technology struggle to meet this mandate.

AVANTE International Technology Inc. is proud to announce a recently EAC certified system for tallying ballots using pixel count and document imaging technology. AVANTE Optical VOTE-TRAKKER® is the first to pass and exceed this stringent federal testing with zero errors in tabulation in 1,500,000 marks. In addition to tallying ballots, the same technology and system works for scoring tests and has been used for tabulation of surveys and questionnaires.

The discrete sensor OMR technology relies on paper passing through the scanner “exactly” straight so marking positions with respect to width and length line up “correctly.”  With the use of the advanced technology of document imaging, AVANTE uses fiducial marks to scale for any orientation and paper expansion/shrinkage variations. The additional use of quantitative counting of pixels in each “bubble mark” also provides automatic self-checking for possible light markings and other human intent discrepancies and electronically retrieves the specific forms for manual tabulation. The following table is a summary of the differences between the traditional discrete sensor OMR and imaging plus quantitative pixel counting technologies.

Interested in licensing this technology to eliminate scoring errors in standardized tests? Contact us.

Recognition of filled “bubble mark” Yes Yes
Recognition of lightly filled “bubble mark” Mostly no (Need high threshold) Yes
Independence on timing tracks No Yes
Ability to resolve registration (fiducial) marks No Yes
Ability to resolve wrinkled and creased papers No Yes
Ability to resolve paper shrinkage/expansion No Yes
Recognition of “X” marks Mostly no or marginal. Yes
Resolving barcode (type or individual form) Yes Yes
Resolving multiple and different pages Yes Yes
Resolving random orientation of pages No Yes
“Separating” written answers from “bubbles” No Yes
Automatic self-check for accuracy No Yes
Ability to retrieve individual test for recount No Yes
Speed (Per Scanner) Up to 10,000 pages/hr-scanner Up to 6,000 pages/hr-scanner
Accuracy > 1/1,000 (2006 SAT case: >1/100) <1/1,500,000 (Federal ITA tested)

¹ “SAT Problems Even Larger Than Reported”, Karen W. Arenson, NY Times, March 23, 2006


AVANTE is located in Princeton, NJ ( and looking to partner and license this patented optical tabulation technology (AVANTE Patented US 6,892,944; 7,077,313 and allowed pending patent 10/487,886) to help eliminate scoring errors in standardized tests, surveys and questionnaires by using its original solution for accurately tabulated ballots for elections.

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