Ninth Grade Student Preference and Attitude Towards Test Formats in Science: Implementing a Student-Centered Approach

Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Aaron Peterson


Assessment, Science, Test, Preference, Attitude


With increased access to technology, schools have a range of options for creating assessments. Many schools are converting from the traditional paper and pencil tests to digital formats using students’ one-to-one devices such as tablets or laptops. This study investigated ninth grade students’ perspectives of these various format options for science summative assessments by providing them the opportunity to voice their perspective through a survey. The research question was, what is the impact of summative assessment format (paper or digital) on ninth grade student preference and attitude towards the science assessment? The participants took two unit tests in different formats, the first on paper and the second on a digital format using laptops. The participants then completed a survey following the tests to describe their preferences and opinions on which format they preferred and if the format changed their attitude about the test, for example caused more stress. The results of the survey revealed that a majority of the participants prefer the paper format for future tests because it allows them more space to freely work through problems and write out their thoughts. The findings also showed that the format did not necessarily change the students’ attitude, but for a few the digital format did cause increased stress due to worry about clicking the wrong button or forgetting to return to skipped questions. These findings will be impactful for the researcher’s curriculum planning for a new Earth Science course. One limitation of the study was the relatively small sample size.

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