A Comparison of Computer Based Testing and Paper and Pencil Testing

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CONFERENCE: University of North Georgia Annual Research Conference

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Today’s schools are turning to computers for all aspects of learning, including assessment. Testing on a computer can provide a number of advantages for both student and teacher, including immediate feedback and reduced grading time. While advantages to computer testing do exist, it is important to consider the comparability between paper pencil tests (PPT) and computer based tests (CBT). This study examined whether the testing medium impacts student performance in math assessment by addressing four questions. First, is there a test mode effect, as evidenced by a difference in mean scores between a CBT and a PPT? Second, does the question type: multiple choice, constructed response, or extended response, relate to student performance? Third, does gender have an impact on CBT and PPT scores? Fourth, does computer experience and familiarity have an impact on CBT and PPT scores? Eighty 6th grade students took math tests with half of the questions on a PPT and half of the questions on a CBT. The questions on the CBT consisted of multiple choice, constructed response, and extended response. A corresponding question with an identical depth of knowledge level (DOK) was found on the PPT. Students also completed a computer familiarity survey prior to taking the unit test. Preliminary results indicate that students performed at a higher level on the PPT than on the CBT.