An optical mark reader (OMR) supplied by Kendata Peripherals has enabled West Yorkshire Police to make dramatic reductions in the time taken to process PIR (police initial recruitment) test and promotion assessment forms.
Before adopting the Kendata system, the manual checking of multiple- choice responses using a template used to take one of the force's support staff at least a day for each batch of 50 forms. The OMR has now cut this time to just 8 minutes, thereby freeing staff to concentrate on other activities.
Using the standard Home Office PIR test form as a starting point, Kendata designed a new double-sided OMR form with clearly laid out sections for candidates to mark their responses to the multiple-choice questions in each of the five PIR tests.
Once a group of candidates has completed all the tests, the batch of forms is loaded into the automatic optical mark reader, which then reads the data and transfers it to a PC.
Specially written Windows-based software within the PC converts the raw data into standard scores to ensure the statistical validity of the results, and just a few minutes later a simple report is printed out showing the scores for each candidate.
The new system has provided the force with a rapid and accurate method of marking not only the basic PIR tests but also a variety of promotion assessment tests.
According to Dennis Aldam, Assessment Services Manager of the West Yorkshire Police, the OMR now processes about 15,000 forms per year and has proved to be an outstanding success. "In terms of saving human resources, it has been of enormous benefit. The Kendata system does an excellent job and hasn't let us down once", he said.
8th October 1996 Ref. KE63/2