With the implementation of the new score bubble sheets, teachers are now tasked with filling in hundreds, if not, thousands of tiny bubbles. In fact, if the free response section has 35 questions and you have 75 students, you are looking at 2625 bubbles you need to fill. The tips below are some we figured out after years of doing data warehouse and now the state requirement.
1) Increase your ball size. The average ball point pen is 0.7 mm in width. They make pens which go up to 1.6 mm in size which would in theory cut your bubbling time in half. We have used this brand and they worked very well. Click here for more information on them.
2) Another way which I have heard that works is using a water based black marker. If you decide to go that route you need to make sure it does not bleed through the paper and that your administration will allow it. I have heard from several people these work and work very well. In theory all you have to do is just dot the circle and its filled in, which should cut back on the time. These work well. Click here for more information on these.
3) Rather then make a circular motion, try using a diagonal motion of the pen. This method appears to cut back on bubbling time.
4) Go to staples or office max with a blank response sheet and have them make you a custom stamp that fits into the raters scoring box. Put all of the teachers names on the stamp then presto, you have everyones name in a single shot savings several seconds per paper. These custom stamps take a while to complete so plan ahead.
The above methods my seem trivial, but if you can save a half-second or even a second per bubble, you can save yourself 20 minute to 45 minutes in bubbling time, and we all know that at the end of the school year every minute counts.
Good luck! And if you come up with any other ideas, please let me know!