Teachers who 'teach' in large lecture halls give exams on different colored sheets to reduce cheating. The questions are put in a different order on the two forms.
That way students who look around to steal answers won't be able to easily copy their classmates' presumably correct answers.
Because this practice is so widespread, and because more than a few students have complained that test printed on different colored sheets are "unfair" (because you can't cheat as easily then?), a few lecturers of humongous lecture halls got together and conducted a study to determine whether the color of the paper affects exam performance at all.
Guess what? It didn't.
I have no idea why instructors use different colors of paper to keep the different versions of the exam straight when they could just put an A or B or whatever code on the top and use white paper.
I figure all-white exams serve two purposes.
- Dye isn't used so they're more environmentally responsible. Of course, unbleached paper would be the best from a solely environmental standpoint. And if, as the study found out, even primary as opposed to pastel colored paper doesn't have a significant effect, then why not just print them on Kraft paper that is 100% post-consumer content or unbleached paper?
- Students might believe all of the exams are the same so copiers would be penalized because they'd end up copying down the wrong answers.
And furthermore, students should never be lectured in large auditoriums anyway. Lectures do little to teach students. They don't usually make students think, or process what they've learned.
And for that matter, neither do multiple choice exams. The questions that come out of instructor test banks nearly always test factual rather than conceptual knowledge and none of them ask students to apply or synthesize material. In other words, they don't demand much of students. They don't demand much of instructors either since most lecturers can have the department secretary type up exam questions the instructor chooses from the exam book. A machine grades them.
It's unfortunate so many college students have this inferior form of education inflicted on them in the first place.