December 19, 2005
To Type or Not to Type (Your Exams)
Posted by Christine Hurt

This semester was my first experience with the typed, in-class exam.  My home school is only now experimenting with computer exams, but the students at my visiting school seemed quite at home with the process.  Out of 107 exams, only about 24 were hand-written.  I have to say that my first experience is very positive.  Psychologically, the burden seems lighter because the stack is more compact.  Seriously, reading a typed exam is easier than reading a handwritten exam.  The handwriting factor is gone, and the cross-outs, arrows, and "please see the back of the third bluebook" are no more, either.

For me, the cons are few.  Typing seemed to give some students a little more time to try to type in everything they know on a subject into an entry worthy of Encyclopedia Britannica, but that's a small price to pay.  The cons may be greater for students, however.  I could tell from one student's exam that a computer froze and needed to be rebooted, which caused the student to be offline for 4 minutes.  I'm sure that seemed like a really, really long 4 minutes.

Anyway, I would like to know why students choose to hand write their exams -- especially if you don't have really good handwriting!

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