Paper or Plastic?

By Justin Strader
Automotive Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Owens Campus

Paper or Plastic?

Analog or Digital?

What does the future hold?

Justin, what the heck are you talking about? Good question. Well, I’m not really talking about grocery bags or electrical signal patterns. I’m talking about test taking believe it or not

Growing up, we all had to take tests with our sharpened no. 2 pencil that hopefully didn’t smear when you erased your mistakes. When we were finally finished with our tests, the waiting game began. Did I nail it? Did I flop? These were the questions that tormented our thoughts.

Alright, alright. I’m getting to the point. What’s better: paper tests or electronic?

The feel of a paper test may seem like home, or the way things should be. I myself felt that way when I started teaching, but then I suddenly remembered: Oh yeah, I hated them when I was in school. My chosen profession in Automotive required me to re-certify my credentials every five years, and I was so thankful when Automotive Service Excellence phased out paper testing and replaced it with computer testing. The change meant waiting a moment to get your score instead of a month.

Long story short: testing… not so bad now. Why would I submit my students to the same form of torture?

In fact, some technology, such as Socrative, can go beyond immediacy and even make assessment fun. According to their own website, Socrative is an online assessment creator that

empowers you to engage and assess your students as learning happens. Through the use of real-time questioning, result aggregation, and visualization, you have instant insight into levels of understanding so you can use class time to better collaborate and grow as a community of learners.

During my research of Socrative, I started using it in my classroom for my tests and quizzes. Low and behold my students loved it, test could be done on their phone or computer, and they said it completely eliminated their testing stress. After every question Socrative shows the student the correct answer which means they know exactly what they scored by the end.

Paper tests aren’t bad, but we as teachers can do better. We are still students too, right? How would we want to take our tests? Paper or plastic? In this case I think we can all say plastic sounds pretty good.

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