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Topic: Calculator Use
Replies: 13   Last Post: Nov 16, 2012 6:30 AM

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Posts: 217
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Calculator Use
Posted: Oct 17, 2012 9:48 PM
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You have not missed anything but we need to just keep our eyes open as those were "drafts" which mean we should get more information. I, too, have two sections of inclusion: the first class has more than 50% of special education students with the rest "regular education" who scored 1's and very low 2's --that is 100% of the class failed last year's state assessment and in the next inclusion class 65% of the students failed the previous year's assessment. Then I have a regular class where 55% failed--it just gets better and better! I have students whose goals are to learn their 0, 1 and 2 times tables!! and another to multiply single digit numbers using manipulatives--fractions --oh, those are lightyears away for them--but they will take the 7th grade assessment and of course I will be graded on it. For now, I am not giving them calculators for problems that I believe in the past they would have been expected to do by hand and trying to at least get them to understand the larger concept of what we are doing. So, I do not know any more than you do, but just trying to make sense of things (yes, I do know that things do not always make sense, but then it will be a nice surprise and I will just teach them how to use those fraction buttons!! :)

I am just going to do the best I can and try to get the concept across to them and when I first read the calculator usage, I thought, I will show them the basics then just teach them how to use the calculator. I am waiting for more word from the state because problems as on the sample test do not make sense if we use calculators. And, when I look at PARCC and Smarter Balance which is where we are headed, they have problems with and without calculator. This is an interesting year to say the least and hopefully SED will come out with the test specifications so we will know.

I would advise going to PARCC and Smarter Balance and seeing some of their assessment type questions to give you an idea of where we are headed. I know that we are going with PARCC but both of them are looking to each other and a SED associate recommended we look at both sites.

For members of AMTNYS, we send an eblast whenever something new comes out and it is also posted on the members only side of our webpage. I would advise any mathematics teacher to become a member ($30 a year is a real deal) and to also join us at our annual conference this year from Nov 8-10 at Rye, New York. Ken Slentz is coming to our conference and I am looking forward to hearing all he has to say. He will be joined by Keith Devlin (the Math Guy from California) and Glenda Lappan a former NCTM President as well as over 200 sessions from P-K to college.

Iva Jean Tennant
President of Association of Mathematics Teachers of NYS
Past President of AMTST
People to People Student Ambassador Delegation Leader

-----Original Message-----
From: Cindy Nguyen <>
To: nysmsmath <>
Sent: Wed, Oct 17, 2012 9:05 pm
Subject: RE: Calculator Use

I am so happy to see this discussion! I am also not sure how to handle the calculator situation.

I was puzzled at Sample Question #8, the elaborate fraction simplification problem, in light of the fact that the students will have a scientific calculator. You are right, Iva Jean, that it doesn't make sense to show all that calculation they did below, when the students could put it in a calculator that does fractions. We would assume that things will make sense, but will they?

I teach two sections of 7th grade math, both inclusion, with most of my students in the 1 and 2 range. I'm afraid that simplifying expressions such as #8, with the mixed signs, three different denominators, etc., will be daunting for them. So, my reaction, when I read on the NYS website that calculators would be allowed for the entire state math test next spring, has been to review fraction operations with them and then move on to becoming proficient using the calculator.

Back in June, I responded with feedback to several of the 7th grade sample questions. I included example problems in each case which were similar, but not as complicated as the provided samples. I haven't heard anything back yet.

So far this year, I've seen only drafts of sample test questions and drafts of the pre- and post-test document for the April 24-26, 2013, test? Have I missed anything on the website?

Cindy Bullis Nguyen
Orville A. Todd Middle School
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

From: [] on behalf of Iva Jean Tennant []
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 7:21 PM
Subject: Re: Calculator Use

It will be a struggle but it would not make sense for them to give us those standards and then turn around and say, "Hey, you can just use a calculator!"
I am waiting more from the state before I turn them loose with calculators. If you look at assessment samples from Smarter Balance and PARCC, they have some problems that specifically say: use calculator and others that say no to calculator usage--so I say we have to have balance and they are going to have to be able to do fraction and decimal operations without calculators and it is not going to be very pretty! --oh, that is why we get the big bucks!

and in case you think I have high level classes--I have way over 50% of my students failing the previous year test and my first period has 100% failing with 1;s and low 2's--will be an interesting year, to say the least!

Iva Jean Tennant
President of Association of Mathematics Teachers of NYS
Past President of AMTST
People to People Student Ambassador Delegation Leader

-----Original Message-----
From: Lauren Mondrone <>
To: nysmsmath <>
Sent: Wed, Oct 17, 2012 11:09 am
Subject: Calculator Use

Hi all,
know that scientific calculators with fractional capabilities are allowed to
e used on the seventh grade assessment this year, both parts. However, for
perations on rational numbers, I did not permit my students to use calculators
s then the questions could simply be answered by pressing buttons. The results
ere not great. I am wondering how you all are approaching calculator use for
egular ed students as well as IEP students for the number sense strand as well
s for other standards. My students don't seem to be rising to the challenge of
ational numbers as well as they did integers last year.
ny feedback would be appreciated!
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