Title: The Graphics Calculator and Student’s Solution Strategies
Author(s): Egbert Harskamp, Cor Suhre, and Anno Van Streun
This article is about whether the integration of graphic calculators into mathematics affect students’ performance in the school in the area of functions and calculus. This is a research that was made in 1995-1996 in 12 Grade 10 classes. The classes were split into 3 groups: the first experimental group, the second experimental group and the control group.There were three classes that work with graphing calculators almost the entire school year, five classes that work with graphing calculators for just few months and four classes that were not allowed to use graphing calculators .They also took a pretest at the beginning of the school year and a posttest at the end of the school year. There were four categories in which students did their problems; Algorithmic ( solving equations,calculating the coordinates of a point in a graph of a function,etc), Graphical strategies ( plotting and drawing either with graphical calculators or by hand),Heuristic (students use a table of values of x and y to graph a certain function),No solution (this is the case where students omitted to answer a question).Based on this the results showed that the uses of the calculator increased student’s use of graphical strategies. Also the posttest results showed that students who use graphing calculators were tended to solve more problems and to get higher grades on the test. This research also bring a table were it explains that students that did use graphing calculators for the entire year were less likely to live a question with no solution.However, Students who were not allowed to use graphing calculators have a high percentage of leaving the question blank.
Why do students do better in testes when they use graphing calculators?
Students from the first experiment group who have used graphing calculators for the whole school year tended to do better in the final test than the other groups.There are some reasons why the group who used graphing calculators did better that the group who didn’t use graphing calculators.
First, graphing calculator saves the time.in the table with the results, it is shown that 39% of students who didn’t use graphing calculators left the answer blank.However, only 14% of group who used the calculators left the questions blank.Since, the study was made to classes who were dealing with graphing function, to graph a function by hand may take a lot of time to graph it depends on the function.So, they spend their timing on graphing certain functions, and they didn’t have time to do the rest of the work. However, the other group, had enough time to finish all of the work because graphing calculator does its work very quick.
Working on a problem by hand, students are more likely to make mistakes that solving that problem in the calculator. This is another reason why students who use graphing calculator do better than students who don’t use them during the test.
Third, during the class, teachers and students can go over more problems when there is a use of graphing calculators calculators.So, basically these students can practice more problems than the other group because of the limitation of the time.
Does the use of graphing calculators help weak students to profit more in the class?