Saddleback College Reduces Expense, Improves Instruction
with Scantron® ParSystem® and Class Climate®

Saddleback College is a comprehensive community college located in south Orange County, CA. Serving about 25,000 students, the college offers a variety of awards to students, ranging from an Associates Degree in Art/Science to vocational certificates. Saddleback implemented two of Scantron’s software solutions to meet their growing needs in course assessment and student testing. 

The college uses Class Climate to design and administer all of its own surveys pertaining to courses and programs. This course evaluation software enables Saddleback to meet the high demand for assessments, view results instantly and improve qualitative analysis. 

The college employs ParSystem to automate the testing process. This software allows the college to reduce the person-hours required, track classes longitudinally and easily create subtests. These software packages, along with the 12 Scantron imaging scanners purchased, give Saddleback College a complete end-to-end solution for all their testing and assessment needs.

Course Assessments—Class Climate


  • High demand for survey assessment of courses, programs and divisions
  • Previous method made the data hard to work with and analyze
  • Countless hours spent manually tallying responses

Accountability efforts across the nation have focused efforts on the regular assessment of student learning outcomes. Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) require all instructional and student service programs to evaluate themselves to make sure they are providing students the proper education/services for a better learning environment.

To effectively and efficiently meet these requirements, Saddleback College implemented Scantron’s Class Climate course evaluation software. Class Climate enabled the college to scan and process survey forms with ease, allowing instructors and staff to view their results instantly.

“There are now roughly 50 frequent users of Class Climate campus-wide,” said Shouka Torabi, research specialist at the Saddleback College. “These users appreciate the simplicity of use and the accuracy of the data. Class Climate has automated our survey process and made it extremely easy to process forms.” 


  • Evaluation software is used for all survey assessments on campus
  • Instant reports that are easy to understand 
  • Capture hand written responses for better qualitative analysis
  • Access to program anywhere on campus

Saddleback College uses Class Climate for all survey assessment on campus. The software empowers users to design and administer their own surveys pertaining to courses, programs and divisions. Class Climate is built for ease of use at the classroom level, but can also be a very powerful tool for college-wide surveys. A biennial student survey was developed and administered through Class Climate. Over 5,000 students in 200 classes were surveyed, using both online and printed versions of the survey.

One of the most notable features of Class Climate is its ability to capture hand-written responses for better qualitative analysis “Class Climate has saved us many labor-intensive hours of manual hand counting and assessment of surveys,” said Torabi. “The ability to export the raw data into a statistical package has been increasingly helpful in analyzing hand written responses.”

The college’s previous survey tool had very limited access, requiring the program to be installed on local computers. “With Class Climate, the internal server allows us to access the program anywhere on campus,” explains Torabi. “This feature is extremely important in troubleshooting, allowing IT or the Office of Research and Planning to connect from their respective offices.” Saddleback also purchased the external server, which enables respondents to submit their answers from off campus.


Since Saddleback College began using Class Climate over two years ago, they have successfully administered over 220 assessments with over 35,500 respondents.

Saddleback finds great benefit in Class Climate’s ability to generate both paper and online versions of the same questionnaire. The campus-wide climate survey they administer every two years requires both a hard copy and online version. This capability facilitates a high response rate among the over 6,000 students who take the survey.

“The ability to scan in survey forms quickly and efficiently is a solution that Saddleback College needed to adopt. Class Climate definitely meets that expectation and, along with the imaging scanner, provides for quick processing. The instant reports that Class Climate produces are easy to understand and they provide the needed statistics that most users are interested in seeing,” said Torabi. 



  • Hand calculating the responses
  • Unable to track classes longitudinally
  • Saving and storing tests for reference
  • Inability to create subtests

California’s SLO mandate also applied to student testing, since measuring what the students are learning goes hand in hand with assessing their learning environment. The focus on Student Learning Outcomes has also encouraged the automation efforts in the data collection of student test results.

For years, Saddleback College had been hand-calculating not only student scores, but the averages for instructors for each of their classes. These manual tabulations took countless hours to complete. In addition, the college was unable to track classes over time, making year-to-year comparisons difficult.

By using ParSystem to automate the testing and scoring process, Saddleback College was able to overcome these challenges. It also enabled the college to eliminate the need to save and store numerous paper-based tests. Everything could be stored electronically, saving time and physical space.


  • Automated processing and reporting reduces time and  person-hours required 
  • Multiple reports that can be tracked over time
  • Electronic format permits easy storage and eliminates paper trail
  • Subtests can be created for more focused reporting

ParSystem, and more specifically ParScore, is used by several departments across campus for all testing and assessment needs. “ParScore has saved us many labor-intensive hours of manual statistical calculations for student responses on tests,” said Torabi. “Users appreciate the number of hours they save grading and analyzing tests.”

Previously, Saddleback was using the Scantron stand-alone test scoring machine, which had no tracking capability. Using the ParScore software along with the scanner, the college is now able to scan, save and track test scores over time. In addition, scanning and storage of tests in electronic format eliminated the need for physical space previously required to store the large volumes of paper tests.

Prior to ParScore, the Saddleback Reading Program struggled with accessing students’ initial assessments in a class and tracking any changes. By using ParScore, the program’s instructors are quickly able to pull up student scores and focus on their reading needs. They are also able to track improvements in student scores individually and as a department.

In conjunction with the software, Saddleback College also purchased a custom form from Scantron. This form was designed to be used specifically for the Nelson-Denny Reading Test. It is scanned by one of the imaging scanners and the responses are uploaded into ParScore for grading and analysis. “That custom form has eliminated the need for multiple Scantron forms and has enabled us to include the specific information we feel is necessary,” said Jan Bagwell, chair of the reading department at Saddleback College.


Several departments throughout Saddleback College are using ParScore for all of their testing and assessment needs. Instructors use the software to automate scoring for everything from small tests and quizzes to larger, more comprehensive exams and mid-terms. The scores are then tracked and analyzed, whether it is for classroom comparison or the state-mandated SLOs.

“One of the more valuable features of ParScore is the ability to create subtests,” said Torabi. “Many instructors on our campus administer tests with embedded questions pertaining to SLOs. ParScore’s subtesting feature allows instructors to extract the questions for their SLOs and print reports off of the data. It’s highly beneficial!”

“The use of ParScore was invaluable to us in scoring and analysis,” said Jill Legatta, reading instructor at Saddleback College. “It was able to quickly analyze the scores, which enabled us to get immediate feedback of how we did in meeting our objectives. We were able to share that information with other members of our department, discuss the results and then plan for future assessment. The amount of time saved cannot be overstated.”

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Scantron provides a comprehensive set of solutions that help improve student outcomes in higher education. We offer software and services to meet the needs of customers’ assessment programs regardless of where they are on the technology spectrum—pure paper, pure online or anywhere in between.

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