Advertising on tests

Posted in Educationon Dec 2, 2008

I found an interesting story today about a math teacher who is selling advertising space on the tests he gives to his students.  $10 for a quiz, $20 for a chapter test, $30 for a semester final.  The money raised pays for the printing costs of the test, which would otherwise cost almost $200 more than his copying budget.

While I’m cautious about commercializing education, I think this is a good idea because it allows the community to get more involved in sponsoring education.  The idea could sour if the advertising becomes a distraction to the student while taking their test.

At BYU, they have a testing center which allows students to take their exams over a range of dates.  Often the last day the exam is offered is considered a late day in which a fee is charged.  The late fees help departments to offset the cost of the exam.  Perhaps the BYU testing center should offer exam advertising to as an alternative to late fees.

One Comment


December 5th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Late fees at the BYU testing center aren’t just there to offset the cost of providing the exam–they’re there to incentivize the taking of the exam early. For the student, it’s often a cost/benefit analysis where money can be used to “buy” the extra day of study time. Aside from the fiduciary benefit, the testing center gains by effectively flattening the distribution of test takers over the last couple of days of the exam, especially for large courses (think American Heritage). (One might argue that a graduated system would work even better, but I have a hard time believing the students would buy that.)

However, after getting hit with a $5 late fee once or twice, I vowed never to throw money away like that again, and it served me well.

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