An examination of the integration of graphing calculators in formal assessments that accompany high school mathematics textbooks
Graham, Kimberly Joy
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To support teachers in their efforts to integrate graphing calculator technology in the assessment of student learning, mathematics educators need to know the extent and the quality of graphing calculator usage in assessment materials that accompany published mathematics textbooks. If improved student understanding through the use of graphing calculators is a goal of the curriculum and if the use of graphing calculators as recommended by the Principles and Standards (NCTM, 2000) is truly valued, but graphing calculators are not integrated into assessments, then this fact demonstrates a lack of alignment of the curriculum. The researcher analyzed and compared the extent and quality of graphing calculator use in formal assessments that accompany three thirdyear textbooks used in NSF-funded curricula and that accompany seven Algebra 2 textbooks used in non-NSF-funded curricula. Quantitative data were collected using a rubric constructed by the researcher. The rubric was constructed based on Senk, Beckmann, and Thompsonαs (1997) coding scheme and the recommendations of the Principles and Standards (NCTM, 2000). In addition, the researcher examined the use of graphing calculator technology in the textbooksα instructional materials that support the formal assessments. The study demonstrated that the issue of analyzing and comparing curricula on the extent and quality of graphing calculator use in formal assessments is very complex with many factors involved. Results of the study raised many questions, including βWhat is meant by a Standards-based use of graphing calculators?γ The researcher found differences in the extent and quality of graphing calculator use between the ten curricula examined. Regarding the use of graphing calculators, the goals and assessments were in found to be in general alignment for the ten curricula. The extent and quality of graphing calculator use was also generally aligned between the textbooks and their formal assessments, with some inconsistencies associated with the quality of use.