Font Fight
Gravity Guignard
Elphinstone Secondary
Floor Location : J 213 F

What if your exam score could have been improved if the test questions had been written with a different font?

When beginning this project I had hoped to discover what kind of fonts should be used on tests and assignments to produce higher grades from students. I got my idea for this experiment when I was browsing through my Youtube suggestion page and came across a video titled “The Simple Test That 50% of Harvard Students get Wrong”. The video discussed a Cognitive Test given to Harvard students and more than 50% of them fail question 1, but when the font was changed to a more difficult to read font, the students got much higher marks on question 1.

I wanted to do a similar experiment with eighth graders to see if the results would be similar. The question was, would a harder to read font result in higher test scores?

I did some research and found three cognitive math problems that were used on the Harvard Test. I then added in a fourth question about finding grammatical errors in a paragraph and a fifth question that was a true or false question to see if people accept a fact as true if it is presented in an easier to read font rather than a harder to read font and how it affects their decisions. I created two versions of the test, one in an easy-to-read font and the other in a harder-to-read font.

Once the tests were completed, I took the data and separated it according to gender and font, marked it, and then put it on a spread sheet. From the spread sheet I turned the results into percentages and made bar graphs from that. The final results of my experiment were actually quite shocking to me because they were the exact opposite of my hypothesis that a harder to read font would make the test subjects more successful on the test.

The result was that the average percent of all questions combined showed that the easier font was more successful in returning a correct answer.

I wonder what would happen if I were to test 12th grade students instead of 8th grade. Would the results change?