Students shouldn’t be forced to buy scantrons

By Daniel Morgan, Advertising Manager

Everyone is talking about the bands being cut, which is admittedly a sad situation, but there are other problems due to budget cuts at West Liberty University that have gone unnoticed. For example, due to more budget cuts in some departments, specifically in the College of Liberal Arts, many students are being forced to purchase their own Scantron testing sheets for exams. 

Right now, a package of six Scantron sheets costs $2.10 in the university bookstore. While that only seems like an inconvenience to many, it is a burden to some, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet.

“Operating budgets have been cut,” Provost Dr. Brian Crawford said. “It’s not ideal, but it’s not a huge issue. This is something that’s been common at a lot of places.”

According to Crawford, the use of Scantron sheets is “entirely up to the instructor. Nothing requires or prohibits their usage. Scantrons do lend themselves useful with large sections of students, especially in general studies courses. They save time and ensure accurate grading.”

It is one thing to enforce another charge upon students, but it is another thing to leave it up to professors to remember to inform students of the new expense. That seems like miscommunication on the university’s part, since almost everyone is required to take the same general studies courses in the College of Liberal Arts. 

“It shouldn’t be just one college that doesn’t get Scantrons,” Student Government Association President Allyson Ashworth said. The cost of blue books, another examination tool, are also up to the students now, but Ashworth explained that she and other members of SGA better understand that cost, because they are at least, unlike Scantrons, a “campus-wide expense.” According to Ashworth and Vice President Megan Bobes, SGA met with the university rules committee on March 22, and they’re working on a long-term resolution. 

 “That’s inexcusable,” said Tourism and Event Management major Rebekah Smith. “If you can’t afford it, then don’t assign a test where you need to use it.”

Students are not the only ones who are unhappy with the recent change. Several faculty and staff members have expressed their opposition towards the practice.

“If students aren’t happy, the course evaluations at the end of the semester are the best way to show their frustration,” Crawford said. “However, student should feel free to tell their instructors to consider a change during the semester as well.” 

 Personally, I think it’s ridiculous that students have to pay to take a test in a class that they already pay tuition for. Since it seems that professors are the only ones who currently have control over Scantrons, I urge them to stop using the sheets for testing purposes when there are other resources out there. Save some paper and create exams on Sakai, or let students write on the printed tests used for the Scantrons in the first place.