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Proposal may provide scantrons for students

April 3, 1997

By Martha Roberts

Lariat Reporter

A recent proposal to the University may pave the way for departments to provide students with scantrons and bluebooks in order to cut down on cheating. Most students favor the proposal since forgetting scantrons would no longer be a problem, but some University professors disagree on its effectiveness, and local bookstores fear a decrease in sales would result.

Baylor Bookstore manager Paul Little said he opposes the plan because of the loss of sales from students walking through the bookstore.

'I would prefer that this not happen,' Little said. 'I would prefer that the students come in and buy the scantrons.'

The University would likely buy the materials in bulk from the Baylor Bookstore; however, Little was uncertain whether or not the University would buy the materials at a discount or for full price.

University Spirit Shop assistant manager Marci McClure, a Houston senior, said her store would lose a significant amount of business if the University departments were to buy test materials for students.

'(The result) would probably be a big cut in our business because it ...would cut down on traffic through the store,' McClure said. 'People have to come through the store to get to the scantrons, and they see other things to buy.'

McClure said that the bulk of the Spirit Shop's business comes from products other than scantrons and bluebooks.

'The actual buying of bluebooks isn't a big part of our business; we only sell them for 20 cents,' McClure said.

Students interested in convenience would prefer getting their scantrons and blue books through the departments, however, even if it meant paying an extra fee.

'It's hard to keep up with buying scantrons ahead of time,' Samantha Watts, a Friendswood freshman, said. 'It seems more convenient.'

Brandon Reeves, a Waxahachie freshman, agreed, citing an instance in which he forgot to bring a scantron for a test.

'I had to pay a dollar for a scantron right before class so I could take the test,' Reeves said.

Physics professor Dr. Robert Packard has passed out scantrons to his lower-level classes for years. Though he said the system works well for his larger classes, which can hold more than 600 students, Packard was uncertain whether other departments would profit by providing scantrons and bluebooks.

'Very early I decided there was no way we could allow (students) to bring their own, because some would forget...and that would disrupt the class,' Packard said. 'With a large class, it's the best thing to do. For smaller classes I don't know if there would be an advantage; it seems like there would be a lot of paperwork.'

Dr. Maurice Hunt, English department chairman, supported the proposal, however.

'It would probably be a good idea,' Hunt said. 'It would help the students a lot...they wouldn't have to be running around buying them.'

Neither Packard nor Hunt considered cheating with doctored scantrons or bluebooks to be a great problem.

'I can't imagine how blue books could promote cheating,' Hunt said. Packard agreed.

'The only ways to cut down on cheating are proctors and using scantrons made so you can't see them from the side,' Packard said. 'We need to provide a good climate and atmosphere where students know they can do well without cheating.'

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