ERIC Number: ED345818
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Do Students Get Higher Scores on Their Word-Processed Papers? A Study of Bias in Scoring Hand-Written vs. Word-Processed Papers.
Arnold, Voiza; And Others
In 1990, a study was conducted at Rio Hondo College (Whittier, California) to determine if readers exhibited any bias in scoring test papers that were composed on a word processor as opposed to being written by hand. The study began with the formulation of tentative pilot study questions and the development of procedures to address them. Three areas of inquiry were devised: whether reader bias skewed the scores on word-processed papers; what factors contributed to reader bias; and what factors contributed to students' choices to use or not to use the word processors when they took their placement and final examinations. For the first question, 300 randomly selected, previously scored, handwritten placement essays were converted to word-processed papers, including all errors in language and surface conventions. For the other two questions, interviews and discussions were conducted. Study findings included the following: (1) papers converted to word-processed versions received lower scores than in their original handwritten state, and half of the examination readers indicated a preference for reading handwritten papers; (2) readers appeared to have higher expectations of word-processed papers; (3) the Reader Empathy Assessment Discrepancy (R-E-A-D) effect was afforded to handwritten papers, but not to word-processed papers; (4) students who produced handwritten papers reported that they felt uncomfortable about their typing skills, their amount of computer practice, and/or the technology itself; (5) students who produced word-processed papers reported that they did so because corrections were easier to make and they thought the papers would look better; and (6) factors influencing reader bias included perceived paper length and word count, ease of reading, and surface correctness. The document includes a series of recommendations, questions for further study, and 19 references. Appendixes provide the survey instruments and exam questions. (JMC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Rio Hondo Coll., Whittier, CA.