Is MCAS better on paper or on the computer?


Photo Credit to Mass DESE

Autumn Harnois, Staff Writer

This past week, the sophomore class took their final MCAS. In past years the test was taken on paper, but this year it was on the Chromebooks. Students have mixed opinions on which testing way is better. Students have different testing methods that work for them and changing the test from paper to online has many different effects.

Some students argue that the sudden switch to computers is more distracting and less encouraging than having the actual and tangible test right there in front of them. One sophomore student who has decided to remain anonymous says that, “I wish we could just go back to the paper tests, I liked writing out my responses because I felt more in control and I feel like I focused more.” They are not the only student who feels this way. A paper test is more helpful because all of the questions are laid out in front of you and it’s easy to flip the pages. Also, the computers could crash and then the student wouldn’t be able to finish the test, or would lose their concentration.

Meanwhile, some students like using the computers and prefer them over paper. Another sophomore student who has decided to stay anonymous said, “I had no problem navigating the controls and found them quite useful. In fact, I’d say that it’s a more time efficient writer because typing saves more time than writing out long responses would.” Having to write out long responses can cause hand cramping, but typing doesn’t hurt. The computer is more effective because it tells you if you missed a question so you can go back and complete it; on paper it is much easier to miss a question.

This was hopefully the last year of MCAS testing for the sophomores, unless they didn’t pass. They won’t have to take it again, unlike all the younger classes; they have many years to go.