Q&A #6284

Calculator use

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From: Ralph (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 07, 2001 at 15:01:19
Subject: Re: Calculator use

Dear Keith,

Well, I'm sure the FIRST thing that will strike you is the irony of a person
from Canada answering your question on "U.S. calculator policy", but I think
I can give it a shot, anyway.  In both the U.S. and Canada, there is no "set"
policy on calculators--if any written policies exist, they are usually at the
school district level, or in some cases, school by school.  Certainly if one
reads the new NCTM Principles and Standards of School Mathematics, it's
apparent that the use of calculators beginning in the elementary grades is
encouraged.  Some standardized tests used in the U.S. strictly prohibit
calculator usage on the test, while others are designed with the expectation
that calculators would be used.  The National Assessment of Educational
Progress in Mathematics, administered at fairly regular intervals (approx. 4
years) does some analysis by having questions that some groups use a
calculator on while others don't.  Here in Ontario, calculators are used
fairly regularly in elementary classrooms, but our Provincial Testing program
in mathematics doesn't allow them to be used.

There are some relatively outspoken groups here in the U.S. that have decried
the use of calculators in elementary schools, and have succeeded in banning
their use in several school districts.

So as you can tell, things are quite literally "all over the map" when it
comes to calculator use in schools here.

 -Ralph, for the T2T service

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