Last Wednesday, March 19, I sent out the Calculator Policy Memo to provide some clarity on the many rules that are floating around regarding calculator use for this year’s test, this year’s “Item Tryout,” and next year’s test. Give it a read here:
While this memo is quite helpful, there have been a few changes that should be noted regarding this Spring’s test. As detailed in the Test Administrator’s Guide (which I’ve heard was packed along with some of the secure EOI tests for some folks), the calculator policy for this year’s test is a little different than I originally understood.
- For Algebra 1, the first section of the test will still only allow a Scientific Calculator. Because some of the embedded field test items must have a Graphing Calculator available to ensure they are valid for next year, students will now have two options for calculators on the second section. This means there will be both a Scientific and Graphing Calculator embedded in the testing platform for the second section. Only for the second section may students have a handheld Graphing Calculator.
- For Geometry, students will actually be allowed to have a Scientific or Graphing Calculator on both sections. This is much different than expected, but it was determined that having a Graphing Calculator would not be an advantage for existing operational items, but is necessary to ensure field test items are valid. This means there will be both a Scientific and Graphing Calculator embedded in the testing platform throughout and students have a handheld Scientific or Graphing Calculator throughout.
- As expected in Algebra 2, students will be allowed to have a Scientific or Graphing Calculator throughout.
- In all cases, students are allowed a calculator of lesser capability than the allowable calculator.
While this is very late notice, please know that these decisions were not made without sincere consideration of the students. The Office of Assessment and Accountability has the incredibly difficult role of ensuring testing procedures align with state and federal guidelines. As such, providing field test items without the type of calculator that will be allowed next year just is not a viable option.
Best of luck with the upcoming tests!