Three Hours of Silence for Michael Sokolski, Inventor of the Scantron

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 29 2012 3:45 PM

Three Hours of Silence for Michael Sokolski, Inventor of the Scantron

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Generations of kids have filled out multiple-choice answer sheets to be graded by Scantron machines.

Photo by Frederick Florin/AFP/GettyImages

Michael Sokolski was:

Will Oremus Will Oremus

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

(A) a Polish tank driver wounded in World War II
(B) the inventor of the Scantron multiple-choice test scanner
(C) an accomplished fisherman who caught several 50-pound salmon
(D) all of the above
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Pencils down. It’s (D), and according to an obituary in the Orange County Register, he died earlier this month of heart failure. He was 85.

Mental Floss has more on how the Scantron came to dominate standardized testing and why you had to use a No. 2 pencil to fill in the bubbles.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.