Computer Testing...Better or Worse?

By Reagan Bustabad

Identify a Question!

Would students make higher or lower scores testing on computers versus paper?

  • I don't like testing on computers and would like to know if it affects my scores.
  • Is looking at a computer screen for the required testing hours affect your score?
  • Most wedsites have a wide range of answers to this question, but I want to see what results I can get.
  • Sitting at a computer too long can be bad for you.
  • Most people I know enjoy testing on paper more.
  • Study says there is not much difference except that there is more guessing on the computer.

Form a Hypothesis!

If 10 students take a test on a computer and 10 more students (with the same academic level) take the same test on paper then the students who take the test on paper will have better results, because they feel they have more freedom to write and higlight what they want.



  • 20 students with the same IQ
  • 10 computers with online tests
  • 10 paper tests
  • 20 desks


Computer or Paper?, Mean score? Mode score? Total time?

Computer students

  • 90% mean
  • 89% Mode
  • 2 hours

Paper students

  • 92% mean
  • 90% mode
  • 3 hours


  • independent: computers/paper test
  • dependent: test results

Analyzing the Data!

  • The students who took the test on the computer made an average of 90%, two points lower than the average score of the students who took the test on paper.
  • The mode of the paper students was one point higher than the computer students.
  • Although, the paper students took an hour longer than the computer students.
  • The students who took the paper test had better scores, but took longer to complete it.
  • I think it could have something to do with how the students on paper can write down there thoughts and highlight whatever they want a little easier.


  • Are the better paper test scores because of the environment or because of how they test?
  • What would happen if half of the students had a paper test they could not write on, and half of the students had a paper test they could write on? Would the half that could write on the test do better?
  • Overall I think the more I do this experiment I will continue to see the paper students will do better, even if it is only by a little.