By Sarah Yi (Correspondent)
For the first time at Sharon High School, all MCAS assessments will be taken on computers. Many students and faculty members agree that computer-based assessments give easier access to students’ scores and results.
Freshman Jasmine Ni says that it’s easier to score and it’s more accessible. “It’s easier to use because writing is really hard on your hands,” said Ni.
“I think that while it is a good system, it’s kind of easy to mess up. Not that kids would cheat because that’s kind of hard to do since there are so many proctors but I think that with the adjustment to the questions, that also kind of eliminates that,” Ni added.
Ni says that it would increase the efficiency of the test except for the fact that technical difficulties come up a lot during testing.
Many Sharon High School students say they prefer paper assessments instead of computer-based assessments.
Sophomore Henry Ward says that he would like it better on paper. “I’m not very tech savvy, so just using a pencil and paper is just more basic,” said Ward.
Freshman Niki Murthy says it’s just a lot easier to explain stuff on paper. “We are living in a world where technology is constantly improving and people just rush to it so I feel like it doesn’t make that big of a difference,” said Murthy.
“I don’t really care that much that it’s different because it’s the same test, it’s the same format, it’s just on a different way of giving the test to you so I don’t think it makes that much of a difference, but I know a lot of people have really strong opinions about it,” Murthy added.
Murthy says that it could affect the results because people use computers to do work, but it could also be a distraction. “I think that with the mindset of computers and electronics being distractions, to have such an important test on a computer might mess with the results a little bit I don’t think it will make that much of a difference,” said Murthy.
“I think we are more computer-based because how efficient technology can be with grading,” added Ward. He says that even with the scantron, computers are still more efficient when grading the assessment.
Ward says that computer-based assessment won’t affect the results and efficiency but he says it might affect a small aspect of the results.
Technology Integration Specialist Ms. Stacey Newman says it’s mostly a matter of efficiency for the Massachusetts Department of education. “I think it may, in some cases, allow the department of education to assess student knowledge and skills in a deeper way than pure multiple choice does,” said Newman.
“It’s probably a lot easier for those assessing the test to read something that has been typed than trying to decipher student handwriting,” added Newman.
Geometry and Pre-Calculus teacher, Mr. Thomas Charest, says that the computer-based MCAS assessment is easier for them to grade and It saves a lot of money in printing and distribution cost. “If all they are doing is sending out an email as opposed to sending out packets. When we get the shipment of MCAS materials for one grade it’s easily one-hundred thirty pounds. So that’s saving them money on shipping that they don’t have to send to every single high school in the state,” said Charest.
“If they could send out a digital memo, that’s gonna save them a lot of money. That money could be used for funding schools and programs and maybe building a new school in the future,” added Charest.
He says that the computer-basis won’t affect the results because they revamped some of the questions this year. “They decided that since it’s already ruled over to computers, they are going to ask different styles of questions so, I think that is going to have a bigger impact on the results than the kids actually taking it on the computer as opposed to on paper,” Charest concluded.