38 votes

Why are calculators not allowed in post-secondary exams?

As a professor/teacher I have some insight. You just answered your own question: "my level of math right now is not basic. So, like many, I tend to forget the basics of math, like adding fractions, ...
  • 786
21 votes

Why are calculators not allowed in post-secondary exams?

In addition to @BobaFret's answer I'd like like to point out following: You said: Before you downvote this question, I actually want an answer to this. Is the calculator going to give me my ...
  • 379
21 votes
Accepted

How can I convince someone to use a calculator and not worry about the mechanics too much?

A possible source of the need to do it by hand The problem might be to do with the examples she saw of logs and exponentials before she saw $\ln$. Usually, when logs are introduced, they are ...
21 votes

Is it a bad idea to offer variants of a final exam based on the type of allowed calculators?

Let's start by saying that I strongly advice against such a dual-exam. Even if you and everyone involved in the planning think it is fair, students might think differently. In this way, you open up ...
  • 1,288
17 votes

Why are calculators not allowed in post-secondary exams?

One thing that really freaks me out about students on this site is an apparent inability, at least an unwillingness, to draw ordinary graphs on graph paper, maybe $y = x^3 - 3 x + 2$ or the like. If I ...
  • 397
10 votes

How can I convince someone to use a calculator and not worry about the mechanics too much?

I think your title reflects your frustration. To me, it sounds like you'd like to show her the mechanics (calculator), but she wants to understand the underlying concepts. I agree with her. Also, the ...
  • 18.3k
10 votes

A study comparing effects of calculator usage on later math skills?

Studies such as Suydam (1979) indicate that there is not an adverse effect. However, most of the cited studies on the effects go back to the late 70's or early 80's. Anecdotally, as a high school ...
9 votes

Appropriate ways/sayings to discourage undergraduate students' overreliance on calculators

Modeling mental math strategies as part of your teaching is important. I make a show of the fact that I'm not pulling out a calculator. I also show them how I think through certain calculations: "36*...
  • 18.3k
8 votes

How to create a misuse of calculator!

Reminds me of a story a friend (who is a math teacher) told me. Student comes to him and says his calculator is broken - it shows (-5)^2 = -25. ...
8 votes

Appropriate ways/sayings to discourage undergraduate students' overreliance on calculators

I think one reason students reach for their calculators so readily is out of fear. They are afraid that they will get the answer wrong, and would rather rely on an oracle which "always gives the ...
8 votes

How can I convince someone to use a calculator and not worry about the mechanics too much?

"Nobody ever did them by hand": Presumably Napier did; I think some other people did too. But now about what to tell this student: I think the first thing is to deal with some easier bases and make ...
8 votes

Why are calculators not allowed in post-secondary exams?

I very much agree with already posted great answers (I do share most of the same opinions), but I'd like to add something else. Talking about math instruction we're not talking about math only — ...
8 votes

Is it a bad idea to offer variants of a final exam based on the type of allowed calculators?

I think this is a bad idea, because it invites students to try to game the system: those who own a fancy calculator suddenly have to decide if they’re better off using it and taking an exam they think ...
7 votes

How can I convince someone to use a calculator and not worry about the mechanics too much?

She is very frustrated because she feels like she needs to know what ln is and how to find it by hand and how to do everything by hand. I think this is a fantastic attitude, and I suspect it was ...
7 votes

Rational Powers of Negative Numbers on Basic Calculators

Answer: The calculators are fine, it is the question's premise "$(-8)^{2/3} = 4$" that needs to be fixed. Now this was a bit polemic, of course. Here's a more detailed description of what I ...
6 votes

Should my high school students use tablets or conventional calculators?

i think the answers here are all very useful and thought out, i would like to add one thing. Tablets are not and likely will never be allowed to be used on standardized tests (SAT, ACT, AP, GRE, ...
  • 4,890
6 votes

How to create a misuse of calculator!

Calculators can enrich the learning of students if properly used. A simple example; I like to get students to work $2+3\times10$ and then get them to check with a calculator. They are forced into ...
  • 1,552
6 votes

Becoming independent of the calculator

Perhaps reading one or more of these books on the art of approximation (often: Fermi estimates) would be fun and helpful: Weinstein, Lawrence, and John A. Adam. Guesstimation: Solving the world's ...
6 votes

If a computer could be programmed to do a math test, then should those tests be changed?

No. There is a sort of magical thinking implicit here that something needs to stay, be different between computers and people. At the end of the day, we are "meat" computers. And the ...
  • 85
5 votes

Becoming independent of the calculator

This addresses the title of the question more than the situation. (So if, as commented, there are dyscalculia or time issues or something else, this advice won't be appropriate. Also, if precision ...
5 votes

How to create a misuse of calculator!

I'm a fan of questions like: a) Plot $y = x^3 - 19x^2 + 96x - 144$ on your calculator in the standard window. b) Find an end behavior diagram for $y = x^3 - 19x^2 + 96x - 144$. c) These answers ...
5 votes

Appropriate ways/sayings to discourage undergraduate students' overreliance on calculators

Show them instances where it would be easier to calculate mentally than it would be to use a calculator. Some examples: $1+1$ $123456789+0$ $11111+11111+11111+11111+11111$ $123456789-123456789$ ...
  • 10.4k
4 votes

How to reinforce mental times tables skills in a senior calculus (optimisation) class?

Memorization of multiplication tables is a skill which used to be valuable, but is much less so nowadays. I do not actually see a valid reason to force students to learn multiplication tables, other ...
4 votes

Why are calculators not allowed in post-secondary exams?

When I taught, we permitted students to have a symbolic calculator at all times. The implication for students of this is that the questions in the exam take this fact into account. When such a ...
3 votes

How can I convince someone to use a calculator and not worry about the mechanics too much?

What about how Euler did it to find logarithms by hand. Though you may consult the paper cited personally, I'd like to add a few comments. First, notice that how Euler reduce the problem of finding ...
  • 4,324
3 votes

Statistics students lack calculator skills, how to help them?

Here are two ideas. See what you think. Find a tutorial (by googling) that gives them some specific tasks, and walks them through doing them, step by step, and assign it. (In future, assign it ...
3 votes

Do electronic calculators inhibit mathematical thinking?

I am going to venture an answer here: Try the calculator. I have had students whose minds were opened by less likely tools, and you never know. You shouldn't be restricted by thinking logically and ...
3 votes

Is it a bad idea to offer variants of a final exam based on the type of allowed calculators?

Wanting your students to learn how to solve problems, instead of having them memorize some formulas and do basic arithmetic by for two hours, is a great goal imo. The first step towards that goal is ...
  • 131

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible