Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The purpose of this study was to analyze the 1996 National Assessment of Educational Progress data to identify the relationship between calculator use and student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress Mathematics Assessment. This general purpose includes several sub issues. In addition to being interested in the overall relationship between use and National Assessment of Educational Progress achievement (including the effort to control for spurious factors), this study examined the contextual factors that moderate the impact of calculator use. Similarly, it analyzed the relationship between calculator use and student performance on calculator-allowed and calculator-restricted items, as well as the ability of students to recognize whether the use of a calculator was appropriate when responding to a math problem.
Findings indicate that significant differences in achievement exist between students who regularly use calculators and those who do not use calculators. Even when controlling for various contextual factors that moderated this relationship (e.g., gender, socioeconomic status, parents' level of education, students' National Assessment of Educational Progress achievement level), it was found that the more frequently students use a calculator the higher their scores tend to be. The results also show that when not allowed to use calculators, the more frequent calculator users continue to score higher than those who do not use calculators. Finally, using calculators does not automatically equate to calculator dependence, and, in fact, the more often students use a calculator the more adept they are at applying it properly and withholding it when inappropriate.
Based on the findings of this study, the use of a calculator in mathematics classes should improve students' ability to learn mathematical concepts and apply calculator technology in an appropriate manner when solving mathematical problems.
Wareham, Kenneth L., "Hand-Held Calculators And Mathematics Achievement: What the 1996 National Assessment Of Educational Progress Eighth-Grade Mathematics Exam Scores Tell Us" (2005). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 6225.