www.appersonedu.com ¦ Retail price: Included with any Apperson scanner
By Ben Grey
Data Link 4 is test-scoring software that collects and displays results of assessments scanned with an Appersonenabled device.
Quality and Effectiveness
Data Link 4 software is built for educational environments that use scanned assessments. It allows them to scan in test results and manipulate the data from a given assessment. The software has a simple interface that keeps users from becoming confused or disoriented when working with large quantities of data.
Ease of Use
Overall, Data Link is easy to use. Scan results are displayed in a spreadsheet that is simple to manipulate, and many actions can be performed on the data while in the Data Link interface. More-advanced functions can be executed by choosing the quick “export to Excel” in the application. The software also provides a wide variety of options for presenting the data. These include a general scorecard for performance on a test, analysis of specific items, detailed analysis of an item, class rosters, histograms, and a series of reports on alignment with specific standards.
Data Link also includes an option that many teachers will appreciate, that of exporting assessment results directly into a grade-book program. The application shows a large list of available grading programs, and this simple transfer will save educators time. While the reporting tool is easy to use, this reviewer had problems running the software with the scanner, but this may have been because of a problem with the scanner’s driver. [Ed.: Apperson has fixed this problem.]
Creative Use of Technology
While Data Link 4 doesn’t break any ground in the assessment- collection market, it presents many useful features in a simple manner that will make it appealing to districts that use scanned assessments and their results. The ability to export the results to many current grade-book programs is helpful also.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment
Data Link is easily implemented into classrooms that administer multiple-choice tests on scan sheets. The software has a great price—free with any purchased Apperson scanner— and the ability to move the data to other programs for manipulation is useful also. In addition, the availability of various reports is helpful for schools working on common assessments and evaluating these assessments’ effectiveness and students’ progress.
¦ Easy to use
¦ Has a variety of useful reports
¦ Exports to grade book
While Data Link 4 does not stand out with a host of innovative features for exam analysis or data collection, it does provide an easy-to-use tool for educators who employ scanning-based assessments.