The Impact of Graphing Calculators on Student Performance in Beginning Algebra: An Exploratory Study

By admin - Last updated: Monday, October 26, 2022 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

By Gail Burrill and Glenda Breaux
Research Report, Michigan State University

Abstract (from report): The exploratory study focused on what students learned in algebra, how it was different for students with differential access to graphing calculators, the use of the technology on tasks of different cognitive demand, and whether the teachers’ background and experience with graphing calculators might be related to student outcomes. The study considered two conditions: high quality professional development and high frequency calculator use on the part of the students and involved three different populations: 1) teachers who seldom or never used graphing calculators in their classrooms; 2) teachers who used graphing calculators in their classrooms but without a high degree of support and ongoing professional development; and 3) teachers with a high degree of support and ongoing professional development in the use of graphing calculators for instruction. Results indicate that access to and use of graphing calculators seems to increase achievement, achievement decreases for both users and nonusers of calculators as the cognitive demand of the tasks increases, and while the background and experience of the teachers seems to make a difference for the top 75 percent of the students, some students perform at very low levels with or without the technology.

Click here to read the full report.

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