(UK) Government bans calculators from primary maths tests
The government says calculators will be banned in maths tests for 11yearolds in England from 2014.
Education and Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss said pupils should only use them once they were confident in basic mathematical skills.
The move follows a government review of calculator use in primary schools.
Teaching unions responded that fluent use of calculators was essential, with the NUT's Christine Blower calling the ban "a retrograde step".
Ms Truss said an overreliance on calculators meant children missed the rigorous grounding in mental and written arithmetic they needed to progress.
"All young children should be confident with methods of addition, subtraction, times tables and division before they pick up the calculator to work out more complex sums," she said.
"By banning calculators in the maths test, we will reduce the dependency on them in the classroom for the most basic sums."
Complex problems
She said maths "influences all spheres of our daily lives".
"The irony is that while maths is all around us, it seems to have become acceptable to be 'bad with numbers'," Ms Truss said.
"The habit of simply reaching for the calculator to work things out only serves to worsen that problem."
Prof Celia Hoyles, director of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics, said: "Children develop greater confidence and success in mathematics if they know a range of methods  for example mental and written calculation alongside quick recall of relevant number facts.
"It is important that calculators are used appropriately, so children do not become dependent on them for arithmetic but at the same time are able to use them as a tool to support their own problem solving."
But teaching unions argued banning calculator use in the tests would risk pupils' ability to use them to tackle more complex mathematical problems.
Christine Blower, general secretary National Union of Teachers, said: "It is entirely appropriate for children in primary school to learn to use a range of tools to solve maths problems and the skill of deciding which tool and method to use for a particular problem is an important one.
"It may not be appropriate to use calculators for the whole of the maths test paper, but it is a retrograde step to ban them completely as it will diminish the skills set for primary pupils and leave them floundering in secondary school".
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "As long as they alter the test design and marking to reflect the changed conditions, it shouldn't be too disturbing. One of the papers is already done without calculators of course.
"It is indeed good to be sure that children can perform routine calculations in their heads, but the advantage of a limited use of calculators is that children can focus on the problem itself. "
Chris Keates, general secretary of the Nasuwt union, said: "If the test is a mental arithmetic test, then clearly you wouldn't expect children to have calculators, but the government needs to come clean about what its expectations are for the maths curriculum and what kind of skills it believes young people need in the 21st Century.
"Surely we should be expecting to nurture from an early age skills in young people to master complex mathematical challenges. This should include learning how to use the tools which can support them in that process."
BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education20259382
To ban or not to ban calculators in Primary School?
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To ban or not to ban calculators in Primary School?
by AceTutors123 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:46 am

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Re: To ban or not to ban calculators in Primary School?
by AceTutors123 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:48 am
The use of calculators at Primary 5 and 6 levels was introduced in Singapore in 2008. Has the change been a good move?

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Re: To ban or not to ban calculators in Primary School?
by Sun_2010 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:22 am
AceTutors123 wrote:The use of calculators at Primary 5 and 6 levels was introduced in Singapore in 2008. Has the change been a good move?
IMHO, Definitely.
In PSLE there are 2 parts of Maths. That takes care of training in both.
In Paper 1 that are not allowed to use calculator. So the kids have to be have a good number sense to do well.
Paper 2 the use of calculators is allowed. This gives the flexibility to give numbers that are more real world and where calculations do not always cancel out or are factors or nicely turn out to be pretty whole numbers.

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Re: To ban or not to ban calculators in Primary School?
by AceTutors123 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:28 pm
Sun_2010 wrote:AceTutors123 wrote:The use of calculators at Primary 5 and 6 levels was introduced in Singapore in 2008. Has the change been a good move?
IMHO, Definitely.
In PSLE there are 2 parts of Maths. That takes care of training in both.
In Paper 1 that are not allowed to use calculator. So the kids have to be have a good number sense to do well.
Paper 2 the use of calculators is allowed. This gives the flexibility to give numbers that are more real world and where calculations do not always cancel out or are factors or nicely turn out to be pretty whole numbers.
I guess the thing is getting the child disciplined in not using the calculator for his daytoday practice of Paper 1 components. Some of them do misuse the power of calculator ownership =/

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Re: To ban or not to ban calculators in Primary School?
by Raemuumy » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:57 am
Hmm. I think using calculators make nowadays kids very dependent on it and sometimes even simple sum they also use calculators. Not like our days when we can only use in Secondary school and uni. lol.

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Re: To ban or not to ban calculators in Primary School?
by slmkhoo » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:24 am
Raemuumy wrote:Hmm. I think using calculators make nowadays kids very dependent on it and sometimes even simple sum they also use calculators. Not like our days when we can only use in Secondary school and uni. lol.
I didn't get to use a calculator till JC. I find that for the weaker of my daughters, the calculator has become a crutch and she can't/won't do even simple calculations mentally. When we see and criticise, she will do one or 2, but when we stop watching, it's back to the calculator again. I feel that calculators shouldn't be allowed in Pr school so kids get a better grounding in mental arithmetic. Also, question setters will be disciplined into use 'nicer' numbers and not give funny numbers where kids lose marks due to careless copying or calculator use.

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