ABSTRACT

This study attempts to determine if the conclusions of Fordham and Hayes (2009) can be confirmed to include exam performance (they study only quiz performance) by examining the impact of paper color on student final exam performance. One thousand three hundred seventy-two final exams were evaluated covering ten academic quarters, from the Winter 2007 through the Winter 2011. Over this time period, eight different paper colors were used, including seven pastel colors and white. The results show that paper color has no impact on student exam performance and that paper color and student exam performance are independent factors. If we assume that students are motivated to take a final exam and less so to take a quiz, then student motivation (as per Soldat et al. 1997) may be a plausible explanation for the differing results between this study and Fordham and Hayes (2009). The results of this study suggest there may not be a need to restrict the use of pastel paper color on exams, although we describe some evidence and opinions that suggest certain paper colors, including white, may impact those with certain disabilities (i.e., dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD], and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD]). Further, we determine that the widespread use of colored paper may be somewhat of a U.S. phenomenon.

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