Electronic Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Conference on
Technology in Collegiate Mathematics
CONTRIBUTED PAPER: 13-C25
What Does the Research Say about Achievement of Students Who Use
Calculator Technologies and Those Who Do Not?
Department of Mathematics
Brigham Young University-Hawaii Campus
This paper will briefly summarize the results from four previous
reviews of research regarding the effect of calculator use on student
achievement in mathematics from 1970 to 1995. Then a review of the research
conducted on graphing technology during the 1990s will be provided.
Suydam reviewed research on calculator use conducted in the 1970s.
Hembree and Dessart analyzed studies comparing calculator and noncalculator
groups that overlapped Suydam's review and also included research studies
conducted during the early 1980s. The third review, by Smith, examined
research studies reported from 1984 to 1995. Smith's critique included
eight studies that implemented graphing calculators. The studies analyzed
by Suydam, Hembree, and Smith included grades K - 12 in the United States.
The fourth review, an analysis of US college level mathematics studies
conducted from 1986 to 1995 regarding the effects of computer-enhanced
instruction (including computer software and graphing calculators) on
student achievement, was performed by King. Results of each of the above
mentioned reviews of research that compared groups of students using
calculators against groups that did not use calculators found the results
from achievement measures favored the groups who used calculators.
Since the late 1980s graphing calculators and other graphing utilities
have become more readily available in classrooms. During the 1990s, more than
60 research studies were published on the effects of graphing calculator use in
mathematics courses. This paper provides an analysis of the comparison studies
reported, between 1990 and 2000, investigating the use of graphing technology and
computer algebra systems (CAS) in teaching mathematical topics found in algebra,
trigonometry and calculus in secondary level schools and colleges.
The 52 comparison studies examined in this paper were located through on-line
computer searches from national and international databases. The majority of
the studies located were doctoral dissertations or master's theses. The other
studies collected for review were articles published in refereed journals.
Results of student overall achievement, procedural knowledge and conceptual
understanding are delineated in the report.