Founded by Jane Powell BA (Hons) PGCE in 2006, JP Tutoring provides specialist tutoring services for children sitting the Torbay and Colyton Grammar Schools’ 11+ examination.
In addition to 11+ examination preparation, Jane and her team of tutors also offer master classes and summer school courses for Year 4 and 5 pupils. The organisation has consistently achieved a pass rate of 92%.
Mock 11+ examinations, both online and in classroom environments are a key component of the tutoring services provided. JP Tutoring favours paper-based examinations as they better reflect the real-life experience of the actual exam.
For example, a student can skip or miss a question on a paper exam and leave it blank, however online, they would be prompted to complete it which means that the result achieved in an online mock exam mark may not reflect the mark achieved in a physical test environment.
However, manually marking hundreds of paper-based exam papers was a time-intensive process and one which also carries a risk of human error.
During peak mock examination time, JP Tutoring’s students typically generate up to 480 papers each day – all of which need to be marked and the results shared with parents and students in a timely manner.
Marking, checking, and inputting results and feedback into the system was both time and cost-intensive. At peak times, JP Tutoring employed ten people at a cost of £900 per day, equating to close to £11,000 per annum.
In order to mitigate some of this overhead and streamline the process, JP Tutoring adopted a specialist software solution, however this was not without its issues.
The platform demanded working within strict pre-defined, inflexible parameters for answer papers, and in one instance when the system failed, JP Tutoring had to revert back to manual marking in order to turn around the papers within a 48-hour period, which came at a significant added cost.
With a goal to further grow the business, expand reach, support more students, and better manage parents’ expectations, JP Tutoring decided to explore digital marking solutions.
JP Tutoring approached Kodak Alaris to recommend a solution to digitally transform the process, to improve efficiency and accuracy, as well as reduce cost. Kodak Alaris collaborated with its partner DocTech to propose and deliver a solution to meet JP Tutoring’s requirements.
Kodak Alaris recommended the Kodak S2085 Scanner and its Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) software Info Input Solution.
In order to address JP Tutoring’s specific needs, Kodak Alaris software development specialists customised the solution to include a ‘mark detection’ feature which registers students’ answers and validates them against a database of correct ones.
In order to ensure accuracy, where there were duplicate or missing answers, the papers were automatically flagged to be sent for manual review.
As part of the customisation, Kodak Alaris also enabled scores to be calculated both as a total of the entire exam and, how students performed within each section/category.
This enabled JP Tutoring to create bespoke exam marking sheets, rather than having to work with rigid pre-defined templates which had been problematic with the legacy software solution.
The document capture solution from Kodak Alaris has supported Jane’s goal to grow and expand the business in several ways.
With less time required to manually mark and feedback examination results, Jane has been able to strategically focus on business development and achieve a better work-life balance.
JP Tutoring has been able to increase the number of students it supports and continue to offer them the opportunity to sit paper-based (rather than online) mock examinations, which provides invaluable experience and gives the students exposure to real-life examination conditions. Jane said:
“This package from Kodak Alaris has truly changed my business. They took their time to understand everything I was looking for, and then worked side-by-side with me to create it. Together, using my ideas and their technical expertise, we created an amazing solution that is far superior to anything else out there.”
The fully digital solution has eliminated the need for manual marking, resulting in an approximate £11,000 a year cost saving.
The new workflow has also significantly improved efficiency and reduced the risk of human error, and importantly, by digitising the process, and removing reliance on the legacy time and cost-intensive manual method, JP Tutoring has been able to increase student numbers without an associated rise in the cost to serve.
Leveraging the document scanner from Kodak Alaris, JP Tutoring can quickly and efficiently capture students’ answer sheets in minutes.
Kodak Info Input Solution uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to automatically recognise, classify, extract and validate data such as the student’s name and exam information, while the mark detection feature registers selected answers on the answer sheet.
As Jane explains:
“We’ve taken this from nothing to this amazing system. I can make my own feedback sheet in exactly the way I like and populate it exactly as I want it from the results.”
Answers are validated against a database of correct answers, any exceptions picked up such as blank answers or questions with more than one response are highlighted and the papers automatically sent for manual review, this ensures 100% accuracy.
The software then calculates the results, the accuracy of correctly answered questions, and a breakdown of sectional/category answers – enabling parents, students and tutors to easily identify areas of improvement.
After processing, the digital answer sheets are automatically routed to a dedicated file location where they are stored and available for future review as required. The final step of the new workflow sees JP Tutoring collate the results to share with parents.
One of the biggest benefits has been the speed at which JP Tutoring is able to provide results and feedback to parents. For example, students completed the examination at 4pm and the results were available for parents to view on the parent portal by 6pm the same day – previously it could take a few days for the results to be recorded and available to view.
This in particular, has been praised by parents and generated an increase in word of mouth recommendations for JP Tutoring.
“I now use my own-styled answer sheets which I can easily tweak for each different paper. I create my own feedback sheets exactly the way I want and provide accurately marked papers to parents in a fraction of the time it took before. Saving both time and money, I can focus on helping my pupils improve, growing the business and diversifying,”
Looking ahead, Jane is looking at how she can utilise the solution in other ways, for example introducing standardised tutor tests as part of the service offering as JP Tutoring is no longer tied to inflexible answer sheet options.
A highly accurate document capture solution designed specifically to recognise marks on exam papers.
The solution has saved time, reduced overheads and increased the speed in which results are sent to parents.
after the solution eliminated manual exam marking.
of exam results being available to parents.
The team have been fantastic to work with and have often gone above and beyond to support me; something I greatly appreciate. I have extremely high standards and I shopped around extensively before I found them. Their expertise and professionalism make me glad that I chose to partner with them on this project.