Observations of Calculator Use by Accelerated High School Students
Rozet, Allison M.
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Today it is expected in m any advanced high school math classes that students utilize the graphing calculator, and it is helpful for Algebra I and Geometry students to understand how to use the calculator to excel in class and on state assessments. There are many subcategories under the umbrella topic of calculators in high school classrooms, but I focus on the problem studying how teachers can truly understand what their students are doing with their calculators and what trends exist regarding calculator use in accelerated high school students. In this case study, I focus on the question of how high school calculus students use the calculator to solve pre-calculus math problem s by coding the work of three such students who individually completed the same five-problem packet with access to their calculators and two surveys. In my analysis, I noticed a strong and healthy tendency for accelerated students to show work for computational problems, but in some cases they lacked the skill to check their work using only their calculator, which is an appropriate skill for high-achieving students to have. The students were too dependent on their calculators as visualizing tools when asked produce graphs. They showed little evidence of doing any work by hand or making observations about the graphs using their knowledge separate from that which was displayed on the calculator. According to their surveys, they have a positive attitude towards their calculators, but they do not appropriate their calculators as they would, for example, a cell phone. Teachers should be aware of their potential to influence the students’ use of calculators and develop their curriculum with goals in mind for student calculator use.
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v, 38 pages
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