Once Again, Paper Rules the School


“Paper is the natural habitat of important ideas.”

The results are in from the 2015 Paper and Packaging Board survey. Designed to quantify how parents, teachers and students value paper both inside and outside of the classroom, the study shows that education still looks really good on paper.

Here’s what the students said:

  • 94% said it was easier to concentrate when reading a hard copy.
  • 95% of learners in grades 7 through college carry paper for notetaking every day.
  • Two out of three middle and high school students feel relieved to get handwritten praise or feedback on a project.

The teachers are paper fans too:

  • 7 out of 10 college educators believe that paper aids learning and comprehension.
  • 8 out of 10 K-12 teachers feel the same way.
  • 74% of college educators say their students stay more focused taking notes on paper than on a digital device.

Parents prefer paper too:

  • 75% of them feel more comfortable helping their child with homework or projects on paper.
  • 98% of them feel that teachers should encourage certain tasks that require paper, like spelling without spell check, multiplication and division by hand, and learning how to read a paper map or navigate a paper text book.

Clearly there are times when digital books are a good choice, says Dr. Naomi Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University, but print is still the preferred medium when we consider the “4 Cs”: continuity, concentration, concepts and contemplation.

“Paper is the natural habitat of important ideas,” Dr. Baron writes. “In a classroom – where information retention is crucial – paper remains irreplaceable.”

For a copy of the Annual Back-to-School Report email [email protected].