Announcing the release of the special report, Calculators and Math Reasoning Skills in Primary Students: Moot Point Without Skilled Math Teachers.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has gone on record recommending use of calculators in the earliest grades, thereby precipitating a debate on such use within the academic community and among school-based practitioners. In this survey of studies, research critiques, case studies, and editorials, the most generous conclusion to be drawn is that calculator usage need not hinder the development of math reasoning skills, but it may in fact do so. Educators should not be expected to adopt NCTM recommendations based on such skimpy research.
NCTM’s recommendation that calculators should be introduced under the guidance of skilled teachers is inadequate given the documented shortage of skilled math teachers at even the primary level. Until the first prerequisite is met, that is, upgrading the quality of math instruction by upgrading the quality of math teachers, the issue of calculator use in the earliest grades is largely irrelevant to math achievement, math reasoning skills, or problem solving skills.
This special 78-page report reviews a huge selection of published sources on calculator use in elementary schools. What does the research really say? Read this special report to find out.
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