Should students be allowed to use a calculator in school?

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Does kids should use calculators om math classes?
Poll ended at 17 Mar 2019, 7:17 pm
Yes 88%  88%  [ 21 ]
No 13%  13%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 24

Prometheus18
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23 Dec 2018, 6:50 am

A programmable calculator (TI-89, for example) is basically just a computer, and so it would be like being allowed to use a laptop. Fine in classes, I guess, but not in exams.



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24 Dec 2018, 2:07 am

We were allowed TI-nSpires even on portions of the SAT.

I'll never know why schools buy TI-nSpires when they are more expensive than netbooks all for less capability. The TI-84s they replaced were fine anyway. Just about spending ALL of the budget whether it is necessary or not. They claim to be short of funds these days, I wonder why...


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nick007
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24 Dec 2018, 3:33 am

Prometheus18 wrote:
A programmable calculator (TI-89, for example) is basically just a computer, and so it would be like being allowed to use a laptop. Fine in classes, I guess, but not in exams.
They say on the packaging for lots of models that they're approved for SATs & ACTs so I don't get why they shouldn't be allowed in exams.
I have a TI-86 that I used in class. I played games on it sometimes during class. It comes in handy when comparing stats in RPG games. I can see a few different problems written out & compare the numbers.


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Prometheus18
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24 Dec 2018, 3:53 am

I'm not familiar with the SAT exams, being from the UK, but, from what I can recall, you could program a TI-89 in advance to solve pretty much any problem likely to come up in the papers for the British equivalent (Advanced Level) examination.



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24 Dec 2018, 7:14 am

https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.o ... tor-policy

They won't let you use calculators that can communicate with the outside world. Or feature a better data entry technique.



Prometheus18
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24 Dec 2018, 7:42 am

pawelk1986 wrote:
Prometheus18 wrote:
nick007 wrote:
I believe they should be a reasonable accommodation for people with learning disorders like dyscalculia & dyslexia. I have those things & using a calc was an allowed accommodation for people with those issues in my high-skewl.


That would mean is that dyscalculiacs receive a lesser education.


Lesser education? Can you explain?


If they've been permitted to reach a given grade, while not having learned the same things as their non-dyscalculiac peers to get that grade, they leave school with a lesser education vis-à-vis those non-dyscalculiacs, while having been duped by a given grade into thinking otherwise.



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24 Dec 2018, 11:08 am

Prometheus18 wrote:
If they've been permitted to reach a given grade, while not having learned the same things as their non-dyscalculiac peers to get that grade, they leave school with a lesser education vis-à-vis those non-dyscalculiacs, while having been duped by a given grade into thinking otherwise.


But, that is always the case. There are always exceptional students who will learn far more than anyone else. I figured out two variable calculus at before I completed high school education at 17 years old as part of a voluntary class I took during lunch time taught by a highly gifted teacher for his enthusiastic students. As well as those who learn far less. Educational achievement is just a much a spectrum as autism is a spectrum.



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24 Dec 2018, 12:31 pm

Space50 wrote:
Calculators are useful tools and have some place in math education. However it is still important for kids to learn how to do math by hand. Calculators don't replace mental math. Calculators are meant to aid with math, not replace having math skills.

Define "math skills".
Mathematics is more that just arithmetic, and having the right to use calculators from middle school made a great difference for me, as I had a lot more ease with algebra and what came after that with arithmetic; to the point of having perfect scores in algebra tests and some mathematics beyond, while I was struggling with mathematics test in elementary school.
I'm bad at arithmetic, but not in all of mathematics.



Prometheus18
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24 Dec 2018, 1:10 pm

BTDT wrote:
Prometheus18 wrote:
If they've been permitted to reach a given grade, while not having learned the same things as their non-dyscalculiac peers to get that grade, they leave school with a lesser education vis-à-vis those non-dyscalculiacs, while having been duped by a given grade into thinking otherwise.


But, that is always the case. There are always exceptional students who will learn far more than anyone else. I figured out two variable calculus at before I completed high school education at 17 years old as part of a voluntary class I took during lunch time taught by a highly gifted teacher for his enthusiastic students. As well as those who learn far less. Educational achievement is just a much a spectrum as autism is a spectrum.


The point I'm making is about the corruption of standards.



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24 Dec 2018, 6:13 pm

SRSLY?

Everyone in my class were using calculators. I remember my math teacher was like: "in my time we weren't allowed to use them". I got 85 in math and that was even in the LOWEST level of math class (yes, all the idiots who have trouble in practical subjects)

I would be damned without a calc. I thank the guy who invented it, he made me graduate high school so I could do my Bachelors in something not math related. However my Masters is more related to math/physics and I like it - just as long as I don't do the calculations on paper (that's what computers are for).



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27 Dec 2018, 8:53 am

Calculators are useful, but they don't make math skills no longer important just like audio books don't make knowing how to read no longer important and spell check doesn't make knowing how to spell no longer important.



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27 Dec 2018, 9:10 am

Yes, in many places of employment automation has eliminated the need for human calculator skills.
Unfortunately for aspies this means that other skills, such as social interactions with customers, are now more important that your ability to calculate sales tax. But who can calculate sales tax with three significant digits? It is 6.35% in Connecticut.



jimmy m
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27 Dec 2018, 12:26 pm

Calculators are tools. Computers are tools. Some of the Math software available are really out of this world. It can take math tasks that would take weeks to figure out and make it possible to do it in seconds.

So I feel it is really important to learn how to do math long hand in school. One must know the basics. But then it is equally important to know how to use other tools like calculators and computers to streamline the process of getting to the correct answer.

Sometimes I shop for groceries or other items. Everything is automated. The clerks do not even know how to add and subtract. The cash register tells them how much change to return. Very simple. But sometimes the cash register doesn't alway work correctly. It may miss the discounted price and charge the original price rather than the sales price. The clerks sometimes are in a quandary not knowing how to figure and solve the problem. So yes I think the basics are fairly important.

I also think that it is important to know how to read a map. Everyone relies on GPS systems to navigate places and that is all fine and good. But a massive solar storm can destroy the GPS satellites and the GPS system can as a result become inoperative. And I worry that many people will be unable to even find their way home. Map reading is a basic tool in navigation.


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27 Dec 2018, 12:39 pm

I agree with everything Jimmy said; children leaving school unable to do basic arithmetic or to read/write/speak proper English is one of the most terrifying trends in the modern world. Cartographic illiteracy is another thing that really gets on my nerves. Where were the teachers and parents?



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29 Dec 2018, 10:01 pm

I remember when I was in Secondary school, my art teacher was rather insistent on two things.

The first was that I had to look him in the eyes whenever I asked a question or listened to his response. At the time I had a deep seated fear of authority due to negative previous experiences, and eye contact with certain teachers as a result was uncomfortable. If I didn't maintain the eye contact enough, he wouldn't answer my questions. Gradually it got easier.

Now, the other rule was that I had to answer his maths questions. Sometimes I required certain measurements for art pieces that I was making at the time, and he'd say "Ah, you'll have to work out *insert question here* for that, so go on". He would wait for the answer, putting me on the spot in front of everyone.

One time a girl next to me was part way through saying the answer when he cut her off and remarked "No, not you, I asked her". She thought it was ridiculous that he kept picking on me, and began to argue with him about it.

"Sir, this isn't maths class, just give her a break" the girl defended. He remained adamant on his stance and started talking about the importance of knowing basic maths in everyday situations. I managed to convince him to let me use a calculator at times.

More often than I'd like, I would find myself in situations where I'd sneak a calculator in or write calculations on my hands below the desk if we weren't allowed to do any physical workings out in certain lessons. In science class, the phrase I feared the most was "Oh, well it appears that we haven't worked out the totals for our science practical, just quickly do that and hand your books in".

8O It was even worse if I was stuck with a strict teacher, because some would refuse to let anyone leave until everyone had written the totals. Others were more lenient and would let us go individually or by table. Depending on the teacher and how much they were paying attention, I'd sometimes manage to give myself extra time.

Now, if the books were handed in by one person per table (and it was the end of the lesson but I still hadn't managed to get all the answers) then I'd collect the other books from our table and add an extra one from nearby. This trick worked even better if it was a book that belonged to a student who didn't show up to the lesson but the person who had handed out the books had placed it where they’d usually sit anyway. I'd put that one at the bottom of the pile and secretly hope that they wouldn't check before letting me leave. Most of the time they didn't, with the amount of books being enough to satisfy them, and I'd walk out with my book in my bag.

The next lesson my teacher would seem confused and announce "Huh, I could've sworn I took your book in to mark last lesson, but when I was grading books I didn't see yours in there :?".

Usually I'd reply by saying something along the lines of "Oh, I must've forgotten to give it in, sorry" or "I saw it on the floor in the hallway, you must've dropped it when you were carrying all those books, so I picked it up to give it to you later". (That one I only used if there was a significant time between sessions, otherwise it'd be too fresh in their memory and I'd risk getting called out on my lies).

Which would lead to a typical response of "Huh, I don't remember doing that, but I did see you give in your book... so I guess I must've done, I was in a bit of rush I suppose" or something.

You may be wondering why I went to such lengths. I mainly did it because otherwise everyone else would dislike me for having to stay behind if they were the type of teacher to keep the class back until every student had finished. The replacement book trick often bought me some time to finish the calculations at home before our next lesson. Sometimes I’d just wing it and put down random numbers and worry about the consequences next lesson, or try to ask a mate for help.

I learnt various tricks to get through school, but sometimes they weren’t enough. There were certain situations where there was no rule stating that we couldn’t use our calculators, but unfortunately it was considered embarrassing to do so. For example, we had to do some simple workings out for a chart in science and I was using a calculator briefly under the desk to work out an equation. It was going fine, until the person next to me decided that it was a great idea to announce to our teacher that I was using a calculator. *Facepalm* WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? *Sigh* Then I sat through a condescending talk from my teacher asking if I was alright, using the kind of voice you’d use to address a very young child.

You see, this is why I tried to hide my issues most of the time. I didn’t want to be treated differently due to my difficulties, sometimes people assume that because I struggle quite severely with maths I’m an absolute moron in general. They see the kind of mistakes I make, and begin to treat me as if I’m a toddler. Please don’t. Just...no. Stop. Other times I get “But, I thought you were smart”.

Although having access to a calculator doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll succeed either, there have been times where I’ve done worse on maths papers which allow calculators than ones that don’t. I remember messing up on questions that we were allowed to use a calculator on in class one time, and my maths teacher got out a calculator that had ridiculously large numbers on and gave it to me as a way to mock me for it. She also called me out in lesson one time for writing numbers down in the wrong order in some of the questions. I have visual processing issues and sometimes when I read numbers they appear in the wrong order. Or I see a plus sign but take it in as a times and so on. Piano notes can switch places on sheet music when I try to read it, which is partly the reason that I gave up on learning how to play. I suppose I could learn by ear one day perhaps. Maybe paint the keys different colours because I always forget which is which whenever I take the labels off. Can never seem to remember where each note is in relation to one another.


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02 Jan 2019, 1:55 am

Not before high school. That's just me, though.


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