Thursday, March 22, 2018

Celebrating our 25th Year

Twenty-five years, coming right up!

In 1993, a lazy teacher by the name of Allen Troyer — that would be me — thought there had to be a better way of processing achievement tests than by scoring everything by hand, manually looking up percentile and grade equivalent scores in the backs of the Examiner's Manual, and writing everything down. I was fresh into learning what computers could do, and decided to try setting up a spreadsheet that could perform those lookups automatically and print the results on an inkjet printer, possibly even in color.
In 1994, we decided to see if other schools would be interested in having such a spreadsheet setup. We needed to have a business name, so we came up with Troyer Software. We had a few customers, but it was soon obvious that maintaining technical support for a half-baked software product, a product that required a lot of knowledge to operate, was not going to work well.
About this time, I was also curious as to whether there was a software product available to read the bubble sheets that students typically used to mark their answers. This would reduce teacher time in taking apart the Scoreze sheets from CLE, discarding the carbons and excess pages, sorting the three sheets for each student, and counting up the number of correct answers in each section of the test. Furthermore, it would be nice to have a single two-sided sheet for the entire test. My idea was that with a computer, scanner, and printer, we could save teachers a considerable amount of time. After a bit of time and a lot of bull-headed determination, we managed a working setup.
The idea of scoring tests for other schools took off better than trying to sell software to other schools, many of which did not even use computers. The business grew steadily, if not necessarily quickly. Today we typically serve around 275 schools and 9,000-10,000 tests per year. We serve a number of homeschools as well.
Over the years, we have made many changes, including changing our name to Catforms Testing Service in 2003 to better reflect what we actually do. We also did a major overhaul of our scoring program in 2015. If you are curious, we began with Quattro Pro and Paradox in the early years, and use Microsoft Excel, Access, and SQL Server today.
To each of our school and homeschool customers, we say a big "Thank you!" for your business over the years. We hope to continue serving you for many years to come.

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