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Information about the Subject

In addition to the verbal sample transcripts themselves, the sample file may contain identifying data such as the name (or other identification) of the speaker, the date that the sample was obtained and by whom. The computer program looks at a certain character sequence in the file to determine sample boundaries and to distinguish between sample content and information which identifies the samples.

The special character sequence is ten or more equal signs in a row at the start of a line, for example,==========. The program starts reading a sample file assuming that there is only scorable content in the file. It scores all of the input as a single sample until it encounters the end of the file or a line of equal signs as described above.

When the scoring program sees a line of equal signs, it stops scoring, assumes that the current sample (if any) is completed, and produces a summary report about that sample. It further assumes that the input is now identifying material which should be copied to the output record file, but which should not be scored. The program reads from the input, copying to the output, until it either encounters the end of the file or a second line of equal signs as described earlier.

In addition to simply copying the inter-sample information to the output record file (if any), PCAD also watches for the occurrence of special keywords that indicate the presence of useful information about the subject who provided the next (upcoming) sample. This information is used to guide the selection of norms for score comparisons. Each keyword is immediately followed by the value of that attribute for the next subject. The currently defined keywords and their expected following values are:




Name of subject or study


Subject age in years


Female or Male


White, African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian


Number as follows:

1 Some grade school

2 Finished grade school

3 Some high school

4 Finished high school

5 Some college

6 Finished college

7 Graduate/professional school

A second line of equal signs signals the program that the identifying information is complete and that scoring should resume. The program returns to its scoring state and scores until end of file or a line of equal signs are encountered. The process continues alternating between scoring and copying identifying information until the end of the file is reached.

The lines of equal signs must be placed in the file by the sample file preparer. Remember that the sequences of equal signs must be at least ten characters long, and that they must start at the beginning of a line. In general, it is good practice to place a blank line before the line of equal signs to be sure that they are actually at the start of a line in case margin changes shift text locations in your word processor.

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