Online vs. Paper-Based Testing: What do Students Prefer?

기사승인 2021.10.25  18:40:15   조회수 618



[Photo of interviewing Jina Bae through Zoom. Photo credit: Sohee Shim]


What would you choose if you had a choice between an online and a paper-based test? This question will provoke different answers from every student as each of them will have different learning styles. In fact, due to COVID-19, a lot of educational systems have been shifted to online platforms.

They include Zoom classes and even online exams. Both paper-based and computer-based online testing has their advantages and disadvantages. Some say we should follow the “conventional” way of examination, while others argue that students can improve their performance in a comfortable environment.

To consider different perspectives, I have decided to explore one’s preferences on either online or paper exams by interviewing students.

Jina Bae, a current 11th grader at Chadwick International, shared her opinion on both paper-based and online testing. She said that “...considering the COVID-19covid situation, online testing is inevitable in many classrooms where teachers must monitor students in a virtual setting.

However, I do not favor online testing as it makes cheating more accessible to students that can render the fairness of the testing process”. She also added by saying, “paper testing supports higher concentration while also reducing the risk of cheating. 

Teachers can view students taking the test, rather than their faces viewing their screens that could, on the other hand, be viewing a cheat sheet”.

Some experts have shared the opinion that traditional paper testing is better than online testing. “Paper assessments (and personalized grading on them) help students feel as if they’re getting more specialized attention from teachers, which in turn can help bolster kids’ overall social and emotional well-being.”

The experts’ opinions show an advantage of paper-based testing and its positive effects on students’ learning. Therefore, this indicates that even though individuals may prefer paper-based testing, the reasons behind their choice are different for everyone and is mainly dependent on one’s learning styles or perhaps teaching styles. 

Jihu Yun, another 11th grader at Chadwick International, stated that he preferred paper-based testing to online testing. He pointed out the advantages of paper-based testing: easy regulation and thorough communication.

The communication between the teacher and student is clear in a way that students do not have to mute or unmute themselves when they are taking the paper-based tests and can ask questions directly.

Jihu, in his response, also indicated some positive aspects of online testing by saying “Online testing opened up opportunities for more students to show their understanding and participate in educational events.

I think that in one way the pandemic has given a positive impact on exam styles.” Therefore, Jihu and Jina both stated that they preferred paper-based tests over online tests. 

However, there also exist several advantages of online testing. According to EasyLMS, "test takers are able to take the assessment during class, or at home, using their own devices" which enable students to take tests in their comfortable environment and can therefore improve their performance on tests.

Another positive aspect of online testing is that test-takers are able to receive instant feedback and results of their tests. Since the grading is faster and done digitally, it reduces errors of incorrectly marking tests since it’s done with higher accuracy.

Therefore, advantages of online testing exist due to its faster process and accuracy in conducting and grading tests which are benefícial to both students and teachers. 

It is hard to determine whether paper-based or online tests are better than one another since it significantly depends on an individual's learning style and environment.

However, after hearing opinions from current high schoolers, they have preferred paper-based testing more than online testing because it helps students focus more and prevent cheating from happening.

While paper-based testing was the conventional way, COVID-19 has changed and expanded to online platforms, enabling schools to hold online testing. Paper and online testing hold both advantages and disadvantages, but the benefits of paper-based testing outweigh those of online testing.

Therefore, the response of students suggests that they prefer paper-based testing more than online testing despite the current pandemic situation where online testing is becoming more common.














Sohee Shim

Grade 11

Chadwick International School



Sohee Shim

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