Students from the Wellesley, Mass., public schools are taking part in an experiment to see if the state's students should use laptop computers when they take the open-ended question section of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exam.

The experiment's leaders, Boston College researcher Mike Russell and Thomas Plati, Wellesley's director of libraries and educational technologies, want to determine whether students do better writing on computers than using pencil and paper.

Because many students routinely use computers to complete writing assignments, Russell and Plati hypothesize that it's unfair to test these students in composition using old-fashioned methods.

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