The materials staff use intelligent character recognition (ICR) technology to capture percentage figures written by school personnel directly in boxes on the school questionnaire rather than requiring the school official to grid ovals () in a matrix. The data are then verified by an edit operator. In addition, materials staff also scan images of constructed-response questions added to school questionnaires.
For the 2001 assessment, all constructed responses were categorized as short constructed-response items. Short constructed-response items were displayed, and the text was key entered in the editing environment. Each short constructed-response item was given a 50-character field length, and any characters exceeding the limit of 50 were omitted from the file.
For the 2000 assessment, constructed-response items were categorized into "short" and "extended" constructed-response items. Short constructed-response items were displayed and the text key entered in the editing environment. Extended constructed-response items were captured and displayed in the scoring environment where an operator scored the item as blank or completed. For those extended constructed responses scored as completed, staff created a separate Microsoft Word file that was delivered to the data analysis staff on diskette. Images of extended constructed-response items were also transferred to a CD-ROM and delivered to the data analysts.