TO THE ADMINISTRATOR/SUPERINTENDENT ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: Calculators and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and
Skills (TAKS) mathematics
and science assessments at Grades 9, 10, and 11
The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) mathematics curriculum
implemented in 1996 requires the use of graphing calculators in
high school mathematics courses. As a result, graphing calculators
will be used on the statewide mathematics assessments for students
in Grades 9, 10, and 11, providing alignment among curriculum, instruction,
and assessment.
In May 2001 a letter was sent to districts stating that "a
sufficient supply of calculators must be available so that each
student in Grades 9, 10, and 11 has ready access to a graphing calculator,
not only on the day of [TAKS] testing, but also for routine classwork
and practice." Several committees composed of mathematics specialists,
superintendents, and campus administrators were convened to discuss
these calculator issues. A statewide survey was also conducted through
regional service centers during the fall of 2001.
By researching calculator needs and current calculator supplies
in districts, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) determined that districts
currently have a sufficient supply of calculators for onethird
of their student population in Grades 9 through 11. Based on these
findings, TEA made the decision to stagger the testing dates for
the TAKS mathematics assessments at the high school level. Administering
the mathematics assessments over several days will allow districts
to have enough calculators for TAKS mathematics assessments. Therefore,
it will not be necessary for the state to purchase calculators for
assessment purposes. However, districts will need to support TEKS
expectations by ensuring that all mathematics students in Grades
9 through 11 have access to graphing calculators.
Please also note that the state high school science assessments
require that a calculator be made available to students during the
test administration. As noted on the attachment, several types of
calculators are allowable and students may share calculators during
the science assessments.
Thank you for your continued commitment to the success of the students
of Texas. If you have questions about the specific types of calculators
that may be used on TAKS, please refer to the attachment or to the
TAKS Information Booklets, which can be found at our website at
http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/taks/booklets/index.html.
If you have any other concerns regarding TAKS, you may call the
Student Assessment Division at 5124639536.
Sincerely yours,
Jim Nelson
Commissioner of Education
Attachment
ATTACHMENT
Calculator Specifications for TAKS
Mathematics
· Each student must have a graphing calculator during the
entire administration of the mathematics test.
· Any graphing calculator may be used except one with a
typewriterstyle keypad (known as QWERTY) or one that includes a
computer algebra system (CAS). Handheld minicomputers, digital personal
assistants, or laptop computers may not be used.
· All types of memory must be cleared both before and after
testing, including standard memory, ROM, and Flash ROM. In addition,
any programs or applications must be removed prior to the test administration.
Science
· Each student must have access to a fourfunction calculator,
scientific calculator, or graphing calculator. Minimally there should
be one calculator for every five students.
· Any graphing calculator may be used except one with a
typewriterstyle keypad (known as QWERTY) or one that includes a
computer algebra system (CAS). Handheld minicomputers, digital personal
assistants, or laptop computers may not be used.
· All types of memory must be cleared both before and after
testing, including standard memory, ROM, and Flash ROM. In addition,
any programs or applications must be removed prior to the test administration.
· If graphing calculators are shared among students, the
test administrator must erase all memory between student uses.
