Testing Examined

Does taking a test in a certain atmosphere impact your grade?



Freshman Jacob Abowitz does homework on his school issued Chromebook

Brooke Kraizer, News Editor/ Features Editor

Coming back to school has been a crucial part of 2021. Walking into the building, seeing friends and teacher safely is exciting, almost like going back to normal. There is definitely some adjusting to do and testing is something that both teachers and students are trying to adapt to. 

Students taking classes virtually and in-person are faced with tests almost every week, if not multiple times a week. Testing formats have changed in so many different ways; some are in person, some are online, some are open note and some of them are not. Teachers are trying to find the best way to test students, taking the past few months of virtual learning into consideration. 

There is controversy over what the “right” way to test is. To teachers, giving a standard closed-note test is something they are used to, but for students that might not be the best way to show their knowledge. When the whole student population was at home it was more likely that the tests were open-note because teachers couldn’t be in the room while their student was taking the test. This method would prevent cheating because using notes wouldn’t be held against students. Now that students are back in school they are noticing more and more tests are closed-note. This raises the question: do students at home have an advantage over the students at school taking a test?

Mason Seigel (11) has already taken a few tests in-person and feels that when students both at-home and in person are given a test, the at-home students have an advantage because they could use their notes if they wanted to.

 “There is definitely an advantage with taking tests at home but I trust that people aren’t using outside resources when taking tests at home because that wouldn’t be good,” Seigel said.  

“I like taking tests online because it’s less pressure and it’s more relaxing,” Seigel said. 


Being at home also creates a certain level of comfort when taking a test. Some may have testing anxiety or get stressed out when in a room with other people.

Alissa Barnholtz is a freshman who spent her first few months of high school at home,but is happy to be in-person with a somewhat normal high school experience. Both Seigel and Barnholtz mentioned that taking tests online takes stress off and it is a more relaxed experience. “I like taking tests online better because I feel like I can focus better,” Barnholtz said. 


English teacher Martha Rudolph and math teacher Heather Jafarihave already given one or more tests since returning back to school. Both teachers agreed that there is really no advantage or disadvantage. The people in person can ask questions while the people at home could use their notes if they were cheating, therefore the students in person may have more of an advantage because they can get help and ask questions. 

“I think students at home have a disadvantage because the students in class can ask questions,” Rudolph said. She also mentioned that when her students are taking a test she can read their body language and offer help when needed.

 “I think they have an even playing field because the people in person can get help from the teacher,” Jafari said.

Although both teachers have given tests they have done so very differently. Jafari is using a website called “Delta Math” which gives each student different numbers in their problems when testing. Rudolph is giving “normal tests” but is changing them for students in-person versus online. If a student is online then they have a written portion because that way they can use their notes but not find direct answers. If a student is in person then she gives them a partial closed note portion as well as a open note portion

“I do half and half for the in person students,” Rudolph said. She is testing this way because it gives students the opportunity to show their knowledge over content without notes and then dig deeper when using their notes to prove they understand a prompt.

According to Jafari, Delta Math is working because it is giving all students the same types of problems but with different numbers. Therefore if they try to work or get answers from their friends it would be wrong. Jafari finds it can be helpful for students to use the website because if someone is normally in class but is sick or can’t make it to school that day, they can take the test from home. Because the tests are open-note, students have to take a picture and turn in their work when they are finished. When students show their work, it allows the teacher to see if they are doing the way they were taught or if they are using  Photomath or Mathway to help solve their test.

“I make sure my kids submit their work so I can check their work and their problems,” Jafari said.

Freshman Karon Perry sits in class working on classwork  (A)