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Editorial: bluebooks and scantrons

April 11, 1997

Bluebooks and Scantrons

Providing materials convenient but costly and at expense of students' responsibility

With the pending proposal to provide bluebooks and scantrons to students, the administration is considering whether or not this is a good idea. The proposal was passed in the Council of the Deans, which put the plan one step closer to approval.

On the whole, providing students with bluebooks and scantrons for testing appears to be a good idea. It will insure that students will no longer have to worry about going out of their way to a bookstore before a test. They also won't have to worry about getting the wrong scantron form and not being able to take the test. Many professors won't allow students to take tests if they are not prepared with the correct materials at the time of the test.

Students will no longer have to ask the entire class for an extra scantron, it will be provided to them by the professor. This way the only thing a student has to worry about is showing up for a test mentally prepared.

However, there are problems with this proposal. First of all, the money for the scantrons and bluebooks is going to come straight from the students. This will probably come in the form of additional tuition increases. Many students don't have classes that use scantrons or bluebooks. Is it right to charge these students for materials they will never use?

Many professors test their students in the form of projects. For instance, in the telecommunications program, student skills are usually tested by completing visual or audio projects. The students provide their own video or audio tapes for the projects, which they then turn into their professor. If the University is providing testing materials for some students, shouldn't they then provide other types of testing materials such as videotapes?

For the most part, obtaining bluebooks and scantrons is not a huge problem. There are at least four locations around or on campus to buy these materials. They are generally inexpensive, with prices ranging from about 10 cents to 25 cents, depending on the location they are purchased from. If the University decides to purchase the scantrons and bluebooks for students, this could have a negative effect on these businesses.

Usually professors inform students well ahead of time about tests and tell them what materials they will need. As adults, students should be able to handle the responsibility of bringing their own scantrons and bluebooks to class. This would also avoid a tuition increase related to the scantron proposal, which could anger students who have no use for either scantrons or bluebooks and feel they should not have to pay for them.

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