Tests Should Be Open Note

Tyler Bradford

Before COVID hit, most schools held tests with everyone in the classroom taken at the same time, and rules were strictly enforced.  With the COVID-19 pandemic in the way, classes changing, and people going online due to exposure to the virus or testing positive, there is a  clear imbalance between the students who are in class versus the remote learning students. 

One example of the imbalance is that the grades of the students working from home might be higher than those who are not at home due to limited test taking supervision for the remote learning students. For instance, a remote learning student may have a better chance of getting an “A” on a test than students testing at school. For this reason, I believe the on-campus students should be allowed to use their notes when taking tests.  Additionally, open-note tests would make students feel better about their grade, since the notes that they take prove that they are good at taking notes and that they are paying attention and learning in class based on their resulting grade. 

A study by Annie Murphy Paul said, “Properly constructed, open-book tests can promote the development of higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills over the rote memorization of factual information.” 

Annie Murphy Paul also said that “In our lives outside of school, it’s rare that we’re asked to answer questions or solve problems using only the knowledge in our heads. This is demonstrating that later in life when you have a job you won’t get material to study and then be tested on it.”

Another point is that at home there are multiple ways to cheat on a test  such as saying the camera is broken,  making sticky notes with information about the content of the tests and formulas, if it is for math. 

If tests do go open note, it would be testing students’ knowledge of the subject not memorization.  Although memorization is a really important skill to have,  it seems better if students actually know how to do things in the real world.  Students should have to make  their own notes, and they should also collaborate with other students to get the best notes to improve their grade.  While working in groups, students learn collaboration and improve group-work social skills.  Then on test day, students should be able  to use the notes that they created to take the test.

As expressed, I strongly believe tests should be open note because it would improve students’ knowledge of the subject, and it would improve their overall mood and improve note taking skills.