Pomfret School, Pomfret, Conn., has a culture of promoting the use of technology in its classrooms. School officials wanted to spread this culture to its traditionally paper-based administrative processes. In the past, many administrative tasks such as course registration and skills assessment were analyzed and recorded by hand, which resulted in errors on forms and increased the time spent on correcting administrative mistakes. In order to save time and money associated with these processes, Pomfret School turned to Adobe FormsCentral, a web-based forms creator, as a way to automate these tasks, which resulted in time and cost savings as well as a reduced environmental footprint.
Each summer, incoming Pomfret School students were given paper-based forms to register for classes as well as to complete skills assessments that help administrators place them in classes that best suit their skills. As with anything paper-based, forms would come back with errors, which would delay the placement of students in proper classes, and in turn increase administrative time and costs. Also, teachers who reviewed placement evaluations were required to return to campus during summer break in order to pick up the paper-based forms. The administration needed to implement a system that would allow them to increase the efficiency of these processes while also reducing their reliance on paper.
Course Registration: Pomfret School first addressed the student registration process. Using Adobe FormsCentral, Pomfret created fully-customized electronic forms for students at each grade level. The electronic forms provided students with tailored drop-down menus and other fields that were grade-level specific, which controlled the information that students could enter. This allowed the registrar's office to make sure each student was only signing up for a course for which they were eligible.
In addition, since the form was no longer restricted by paper size, administrators could include other information such as specific grade-level graduation requirements to help parents understand course sequences and elective options.
Another restriction that was eliminated by using e-forms was the process of presenting updated course information. In the past, when new courses became available, administrators had to update the forms template and send to a printer, which could take many days. With online forms, updates could be made instantly without having to wait to approve a printer's copy and be available to parents and students immediately.
Skills Assessment: Second, Pomfret School improved the way it conducted its skills assessment. Administrators used the electronic forms to conduct skills assessment tests, which helped Pomfret School place students in courses that were best suited to their skill levels. The forms contained detailed questions that could be answered directly within the form. Once the e-form is completed, the information can be shared instantly either with a simple generated link that took teachers to the results or by exporting the data to a PDF or spreadsheet for those who preferred that option.
By using an online electronic forms solution, Pomfret School was able to save considerable time and costs. Costs associated with printing and shipping forms were cut by 100%, saving the school $1,800 annually.
Administrators were able to reduce the time to send and review registration and skills assessment forms. The time in between submitting an updated form and actually receiving/shipping the form has been eliminated as updated forms could be posted immediately. This also helped with tracking forms as the so called "paper chase" was eliminated as forms distributors could verify receipt of a form and a simple link could be provided in the event a parent said they didn't receive the form.
Overall efficiency was increased as errors on forms from students were reduced and response rates went up as people see the use of e-forms as the norm in schools and colleges, which increase the trust people have in sending digital data. The use of e-forms also put Pomfret School ahead of the curve and improved its public image as parents see the value e-forms bring in terms of increasing efficiency and ease of use.
By converting its paper-based operations using a collaborative, web-based solution, Pomfret School allowed its teachers and administration to spend more time teaching than dealing with the hassles that come with interpreting handwritten data.