There is a new Best Evidence in Brief and while this study I picked from this great newsletter seems to have a bit of ‘No shit, Sherlock’-feel to it, I do think it’s relevant:
Joseph Hardcastle and colleagues conducted a study to compare student performance on computer-based tests (CBT) and traditional paper-and-pencil tests (PPT). More than 30,000 students in grades 4-12 were assessed on their understanding of energy using three testing systems: a paper and pencil test ; a computer-based test that allowed students to skip items and move freely through the test; or a CBT that did not allow pupils to return to previous questions.Overall, the results showed that being able to skip through questions, and review and change previous answers, could benefit younger students. Elementary and middle school students scored lower on a CBT that did not allow them to return to previous items than on a comparable computer-based test that allowed them to skip, review, and change previous responses. Elementary students also scored slightly higher on a CBT that allowed them to go back to previous answers than on the PPT, but there was no significant difference for middle school students on those two types of tests. High school students showed no difference in their performance on the three types of tests.Gender was found to have little influence on a student’s performance on PPT or CBT; however, students whose primary language was not English had lower performance on both CBTs compared with the PPT.