Calculators Holding Our Kids Back?

Calculators Holding Our Kids Back?

Calculators Holding Our Kids Back?

With the technological advances brought to the masses via the iPad and other tablets, could it be possible that something as simple as a calculator would prevent schools from providing more cutting-edge technologies in the classroom?

Technically, the problem stems from the Texas legislation and not from the calculator itself. Per the requirements of STAAR’s (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) policy, each school district “must ensure that each student has a handheld graphing calculator” for taking the math portions of the exams and one calculator for every five students taking the biology portions. The cost of providing $100 calculators for each student prohibits the school from making better use of those funds to purchase higher level technological devices. The schools argue that a $15 app on an iPad can perform all of the same functions needed and provides a much better opportunity for kids to learn 21st century skills.

The Texas Education Agency has voiced their major concern to be the camera within the device and its potential for creating a security risk. Even though the devices can be locked in such a way that only the calculator app is accessible during testing, the state agency is reluctant. Right now, each 8th grader must have a graphing calculator for these tests, as well as classwork. Unfortunately, it seems the debate between the state and the schools could go on for years.

Does this legislation have an effect on your school or students? Let us know on Twitter @bemaservices.

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