Calculators When & How Use or Not?

A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Calculators on Students' Achievement and Attitude Levels in Precollege Mathematics Classes

Aimee J. Ellington November 2003, Volume 34, Issue 5, Pages 433 - 463

The findings of 54 research studies were integrated through meta-analysis to determine the effects of calculators on student achievement and attitude levels. Effect sizes were generated through Glassian techniques of meta-analysis, and Hedges and Olkin's (1985) inferential statistical methods were used to test the significance of effect size data. Results revealed that students' operational skills and problem-solving skills improved when calculators were an integral part of testing and instruction. The results for both skill types were mixed when calculators were not part of assessment, but in all cases, calculator use did not hinder the development of mathematical skills. Students using calculators had better attitudes toward mathematics than their noncalculator counterparts. Further research is needed in the retention of mathematics skills after instruction and transfer of skills to other mathematics-related subjects.
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