THE EFFECT OF CALCULATOR USE ON HIGH STAKES TESTING 3
The fact that students tend to have higher failure rates in mathematics than in other academic disciplines, provides the impetus for research into methods to improve skills inmathematics calculations as well as confidence in the study of mathematics. While extensiveresearch is available concerning methods of improvement, including the utilization of graphingcalculators in higher level mathematics, further research is warranted. Since the 1980s, with the publication of
A Nation at Risk,
continuing through the era of
No Child Left Behind
, and stilltoday, standardized testing in the area of mathematics, is a high-stakes reality in Americanschools. As a result of testing such as the PASS and the HSAP in South Carolina, as well as thelooming Common Core testing that will be national in scope, the need for improvements inmathematical skills and abilities of American students has never been more pronounced. Manytechnological tools exist for assistance with computational skills, but none is more affordable andaccessible than the graphing calculator.
The notion that K-12 and university students struggle with mathematics has long beenunderstood. The fact that students tend to have higher failure rates in mathematics than in other disciplines explains the need for research into ways of helping students be more successful inupper level mathematics. Significant research has been conducted concerning the usefulness of graphing calculators in mathematics education throughout the past three decades. The possibilitythat a simple tool such as a graphing calculator might improve understanding and successfulcomputation on the part of the students provides the reasoning behind the need for research inthis area.