Why Scantrons should be used in testing

Why Scantrons should be used in testing

Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo

by Jenny DeStefano, FaceBook Manager

While testing is commonly performed directly on the exam paper, many teachers opt to use Scantrons for multiple choice sections. Scantron paper requires the student to darken in bubbles of the multiple choice answers they have chosen, and are subsequently run through a machine where they can be graded according to a selected algorithm. Though some may argue that Scantrons are bothersome or more trouble than they are worth, I believe that they are beneficial in the long run.

For one, Scantrons make the grading process immensely easier on the teacher’s behalf. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to run papers through a machine, which allows the teacher to grade the exams quickly and efficiently so that they can move onto new topics and grading sooner.

As a student myself, I can easily say that I prefer using scantron papers because of how quickly my grades are added into the gradebook. Coming from an honors student, I know the stress of desperately awaiting grades on tests where I am unsure of my performance. Pass? Fail? In my experience, these questions are agonizing, especially when days turn into weeks of anxiously pending the outcome. Luckily, scantrons eliminate the prospect of not knowing my grade after days, and allow my teachers to upload the results within hours of taking the exam.

Aside from the benefit of timeliness, the use of Scantrons can make even taking the exam simpler for the student. Personally, I relish the moment when my teacher announces that our test will be multiple choice, because I know that ultimately I have a chance at performing better than if I were to answer open-ended questions. For me, multiple choice questions eliminate insecure answers, because I know that I have at least a 25% chance of the correct answer even if it is just a guess.

Scantrons add onto the benefit of multiple choice questions by encouraging teachers to format their tests in multiple choice, as they are much easier to grade. Consequently, this makes the student’s exam-taking easier, as they can feel more confident in their answers and have a greater chance of answering correctly.

While Scantrons may seem inconvenient due to possible technical errors, overall, they create a win-win situation for both teachers and students.