Tulsa Man's App Could Revolutionize Test-Taking For Teachers, Students

Tuesday, August 16th 2016, 10:22 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa man's invention that calculates test scores instantly could change the way students take tests, and the way teachers grade them.

Grant Burke, 25, got the idea while sitting outside of his professor's office.

"I saw a 1970's Scantron machine," Burke explained.

Burke said he brought it up to his marketing professor, Jeffrey Schmidt, who explained his frustration with having to grade hundreds of tests at a time with such outdated technology.

Burke, a senior at the University of Oklahoma studying entrepreneurship at the time, invented GradeDeck, collaborating with a team of classmates.

It's an app that allows teachers and professors to grade tests in seconds. Once the instructor loads questions and answers into the platform, it's as easy as holding the phone or tablet's camera over the test answer sheet.

It grades the test instantly.

The app also analyzes which question was missed, how many students missed it, and the type of question that was missed.

"I've since come to think this is the greatest thing ever," said Schmidt, who explained Burke had created GradeDeck as a homework assignment in one of his classes.

Schmidt has not only seen GradeDeck grow, he's been using it from the beginning.

"I was blown away when I got to see it," Schmidt said. "I've been using it now for three semesters. It's changed the way I write exams, it's changed the way I give feedback to my students."

He said the technology also saves thousands of dollars amidst state-wide budget cuts.

Instead of having students or departments buy individual Scantron sheets, GradeDeck answer sheets can be printed on any regular copy paper, which is much cheaper.

Burke said dozens of teachers are already using the app, from elementary schools to universities all around the world. Working out of 36 Degrees North in downtown Tulsa, Burke is now working on perfecting the app, focusing on the students' side of the interface.

Several teachers in Tulsa, including at Nathan Hale High School and Booker T. Washington High School — Burke's alma mater — are using GradeDeck. 

"If we can make any meaningful impact on education, that's a good enough goal for us," Burke said.

The app will be released August 22. That's when teachers will be able to download and use it for free. For $15 per semester, instructors will receive the added resources of analyzed data for every test.

You can learn more here.