Search All of the Math Forum:
Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by
NCTM or The Math Forum.



Response to Calculator Use on Exams (posting yesterday)
Posted:
Aug 28, 2013 12:47 PM



**************************** This is a response to the posting yesterday of Dr. David LeighLancaster, a mathematics curriculum manager in Australia. His email to me is dated August 27, 2013. For your information ... **************************** Your latest post is of interest.
There is sometimes an implied view, both by those who are forward and those who are reserved about the use of technology in school mathematics, that it somehow replaces other skills (process, routine) pretty much as a matter of course. Even with philosophically and pragmatically amenable notions such as 'judicious' , 'appropriate' and the like thrown into the mix, there needs to be both a reasonable and wellarticulated discourse for expectation of active use of technology, and explicit instruction to facilitate these expectations being achieved. ''Good' use of technology (whatever that is held to mean according to whoever's values, beliefs and preferences) doesn't occur just by default given access, it needs to be an active, accepted and natural part of working mathematically, just as is the development of mental and written/by hand approaches, and indeed combinations of all three as applicable to the problem and/or context. A common position for those who are less favourably disposed to the use of technology is to argue for it as a teaching and learning tool (e.g.: The fifth practice standard, Use Appropriate Tools Strategically, says that mathematically proficient students "are able to use technological tools to explore and deepen their understanding of concepts") but avoid consideration of its role as a tool for working mathematically, that is 'doing' mathematics.
All of this also needs to be cognisant of, and informed by, actual (and not just preferred) practices in the 'real world'. Whatever assessment is used it will hopefully reflect this in some measure: how do people actually use mathematics?. Technology proscribed, permitted and prescribed structures are used in various systems and jurisdictions around the world, hopefully based on some reasonably coherent rationale and design about what students know and can do (with and/or without the assistance of 'technology').
In Australia we have (from 2008) whole of cohort nationwide tests at Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 called NAPLAN (see: <http://www.nap.edu.au/naplan/abouteachdomain/numeracy/numeracy.html>http://www.nap.edu.au/naplan/abouteachdomain/numeracy/numeracy.html ). The Year 3 and 5 tests are conducted without access to technology. The Year 7 and 9 tests come as a technology free test and a technology allowed test (although in my view the latter is technology/nontechnology neutral in terms of its questions). You will appreciate that we have a similar range of 'discussions' in the broader mathematics education community. In Australia we are also looking at transition to online adaptive delivery over the next few years.
Regards Dr David LeighLancaster Mathematics Curriculum Manager Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority Level 32 Casselden Place 2 Lonsdale St Melbourne Victoria 3000 AUSTRALIA Telephone: (03) 9032 1690 Email: <mailto:leighlancaster.david.d@edumail.vic.gov.au>leighlancaster.david.d@edumail.vic.gov.au
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority provides high quality curriculum, assessment and reporting that promotes individual life long learning.
Please consider the environment before printing this email ***************************************  Jerry P. Becker Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction Southern Illinois University 625 Wham Drive Mail Code 4610 Carbondale, IL 629014610 Phone: (618) 4534241 [O] (618) 4578903 [H] Fax: (618) 4534244 Email: jbecker@siu.edu



