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Because of refinements to the Penn Automated Registration Information System, students sometimes heard the words, "To list your grades press six," within hours of taking a final exam last semester. According to University Registrar Ronald Sanders, grade sheets were due in his office by May 11. But because of technological advancements, grades which were turned in early were up on PARIS within hours after his office received them. "Before [the professors] are out the door, their grades could be available on the system," Sanders said Tuesday. Sanders explained that because his staff can now enter grades even while PARIS is available to students during the day, and also because the system now has its own optical scanner, individual grade sheets can be entered as they are dropped off and large groups can be run through the scanner in a batch every night. The Registrar's office used to have access to a scanner for just two hours a day, according to Sanders. But the advantages of the new system are greatest on deadline days. Sanders said 4,500 grade sheets were turned in during the last two days before deadline. But work which required six days only a couple of years ago can now completed in about two days, he said. Overall, the processing advancements translate to a month of difference for students. Before PARIS, students had to wait for grade reports to be sent home, a process which was completed approximately three weeks after the end of exams. Now students may learn their grades before leaving campus for the summer. "We know it is time to get grades up when we start receiving phone calls from students asking for them," Sanders said. "Because of demand, we usually start listing them right after the first exams are in." And Sanders said the new technology also speeds up the rate at which grade reports go out. By Tuesday morning -- two weeks after the last exam -- 17,499 grade reports had been sent out, according to Sanders. And many students received report cards by May 20. Although the speed of PARIS delights most students -- who remember having to wait weeks to get grades in years past -- the voice on the phone does not discriminate, and relates the good news as well as the bad in the same authoritative manner. But Sanders said he had not received any complaints from students. Sanders said that at any given time students can get grades from PARIS for their last three terms -- spring, summer and fall. He added that his office waits as long as possible before replacing grades from the previous year, so that students can go back and check them. PARIS was installed in the fall of 1989 to both praise and criticism. The PARIS software from AT&T; did not originally come with grade-listing abilities, but this feature was added for the first time in May 1991.

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