Calculating the value of graphing calculators for seventh-grade students with and without disabilities: A pilot study

This study explored the performance of seventh-grade students with and without disabilities, educated in inclusive math classes, on a mathematics assessment aligned to state standards with graphing calculators as an accommodation. The study used random assignment of classes to condition with students nested in classes. Students did not use a graphing calculator on the preassessment but approximately half (52.5%) had access to a graphing calculator on the post-assessment. The results indicate that students with disabilities made gains from preassessment to post-assessment but students without disabilities performed statistically significantly better on the post-assessment than did students with disabilities, F(1, 35) = 4.322, p = 0.045. The results raise concern about the validity of calculators as assessment accommodations for students with disabilities.

Bouck, E.C.
Remedial and Special Education, Vol. 30(4), 207-215.
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Content Area: 
Grade Level: 
middle school
IDEA Disability Category: 
emotional disturbance
major-other health impairment
specific learning disability
speech or language impairment
Instructional Support: 
alternate access devices and systems
practice and reinforcement activities
NCTM Content Standards: 
data analysis & probability
number and operations
Counting & Cardinality
Expressions & Equations
Number & Operations in Base Ten
Number & Operations – Fractions
Operations & Algebraic Thinking
Statistics & Probability
The Number System