Are Open-Note Tests Beneficial?



Are Open-Note Tests Beneficial?

Marlee Dutton, Writer

When students write an essay, make a presentation or do their math homework, they most likely have resources available to use nearby. For most kids using notes during a test would relieve some of the stress that comes with preparing for a test, for others it can encourage students to not study as much for them. 

Some teachers are pro using resources on tests. Math teacher Ms. Liza Drever said, “I think it’s important for students to learn how to create and use resources that will help them become better problem solvers.” Teachers becoming more willingly open to see the importance of learning how to use their resources is helpful and makes for a good support system.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic many students have gotten more used to resources being available to them when it comes to taking tests. When students went back to in person learning full time at school, not having the resources available to you in the classroom as they were at home, was a setback for a lot of students. According to studies have shown that students only retain 30-40% of information they see or hear, that leaves 60-70% of the information to be forgotten. Students being able to use their resources helps them to become more familiar with information they would usually forget. Senior Moriah Noeldner said, “Yes, I feel we should be able to use notes, in the real world you will be able to use other resources so we should be able to do the same with tests.” 

When students grow up and get jobs, they will not be expected to go through their career without using notes and resources. Students using notes on a test enables them to concentrate on truly understanding the material rather than memorization of facts they will forget as soon as the test is over. 

Some may argue that using notes on a test may do more harm than good, mostly because students take longer trying to find the solution or how to do the problem than just doing it. There is also a very definite possibility that some students will not bother to study at all for the test. They will think that since they will have all of the resources with them that they do not need to do anything to prepare.

They will quickly learn that this is not the case. Using notes on a test may not affect the test scores positively or negatively, according to there is no significant improvement in learning outcomes. Math Teacher Mr. James Dahlgren said, “I would say it depends on the class or content. Some students will never truly learn the material because they always have the crutch of the notes. At the same time, they are a nice resource for students to refer to.”

The question of if students should be allowed notes on tests is a recurring discussion in classrooms all across America. It’s a valid question to ask, is it beneficial to use notes on a test? Regardless of if open-note tests affect students positively or negatively, preference plays a big role in the decision making of whether or not students should be allowed to use notes on a Many students were asked around OHS and all agreed with the allowance of open-note tests and feel that using references is beneficial and less stress on the student. Magnet couldn’t find a student who would be against open-notes tests if the resources are available.