In the early 1930s, R. B. Johnson, then a teacher, devised for his own use a machine equipped with counters to record student test answers and compare them to an answer key set up on the machine. IBM learned of Johnson's device and hired him in 1934 to develop the original production model of his machine which could read pencil marks on an examination paper and translate the marks into a visual indication of the total net score. (Johnson later developed other machines and devices for IBM, and, in 1959, became the manager of the company's Advanced Systems Development Division laboratory in San Jose, Calif. He was named an IBM Fellow in 1965.)
IBM announced the Type 805 Test Scoring Machine in 1938. Tests to be scored by the machine were answered by marking spaces on separate answer sheets (remember those?) which had a capacity of 750 response positions, or 150 five-choice or 300 true-false questions. The answer sheets were dropped into the 805 for processing.
Inside the 805 was a contact plate with 750 contacts (electric fingers) corresponding to the 750 answer positions. Each contact allowed one unit of current to flow when a pencil mark was pressed against it. A scoring key separated the contacts into two groups, the "rights" and the "wrongs." When an answer sheet was inserted, an amount of current equal to the total rights and total wrongs was allowed to flow. When the operator manipulated the controls, the 805 indicated the scores.
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