Calculator Policy

The Bedford High School Mathematics Department believes that technology is an important tool that enhances student learning. In addition, we believe that students must have a firm basis in the foundation on which advanced math is built. Thus, calculators will be allowed in all math classes. HOWEVER, there will be times when the teachers of a course (i.e. Algebra II level 4) deem that a particular topic, skill, section, or chapter is more appropriately investigated and assessed without the use of a calculator. In courses such as Algebra I, it might mean that all or most of the course will not involve the use of a calculator. Meanwhile, a course such as Calculus will usually allow the use of a calculator. Even when calculator use is permitted, it will be necessary to show work.

Our policy was created with state and national tests (MCAS, SAT, SAT subject tests, ACT and AP Calculus Exam) in mind. The MCAS exam and AP Calculus exam have both a calculator and non-calculator section. As a result, students must be able to work efficiently without the aid of technology. The College Board, which administers the SATs, recommends the use of a scientific or graphing calculator on the SAT. However, the College Board and the ACT state that all problems can be solved without a calculator. On the SAT math subject tests, the board recommends a graphing calculator and states that some problems cannot be solved without a (scientific or graphing) calculator.

At BHS, we have classroom sets of Texas Instrument (TI) calculators and computer software. Thus, if you purchase a graphing calculator, we recommend the TI-83/84+ calculator. If teachers have a concept that relies on or is enhanced by the use of a graphing calculator, they may teach it on the TI. If you choose to use a calculator other than the recommended models, it is up to you to learn how to use them. Please see the list of prohibited calculators below (from the ACT). If you purchase a TI calculator, there are "points," similar to Box Tops for Education, on the back that can help the school earn additional calculators and software. It would be appreciated if students could bring these points to their teacher.

It is expected that students demonstrate the utmost personal integrity in the use of calculator. Inappropriate uses of the calculator include, but are not limited to:

  • Playing calculator games during class
  • Storing formulas, notes, programs, and/or answers unauthorized by the teacher
  • Sharing a calculator during a quiz, test, or final exam unless the calculator is given to the teacher to clear the memory
  • Using the calculator on an assessment not intended for calculator use
  • Using a prohibited calculator (see below)

Inappropriate use may result in disciplinary consequences.

Please Note: Accommodations will be made if stated so in a 504 or IEP.

Our list of prohibited calculators will mimic the ACT. The SAT has similar policies. The following policy can be found on the ACT website:

Prohibited Calculators

The following types of calculators are prohibited:

  • calculators with built-in computer algebra systems
    Prohibited calculators in this category include:
    • Texas Instruments: All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92 and the TI-Nspire CAS—Note: The TI-Nspire (non-CAS) is permitted.
    • Hewlett-Packard: HP 48GII and all model numbers that begin with HP 40G, HP 49G, or HP 50G
    • Casio: Algebra fx 2.0, ClassPad 300 and ClassPad 330, and all model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G
  • handheld, tablet, or laptop computers, including PDAs
  • electronic writing pads or pen-input devices—Note: The Sharp EL 9600 is permitted.
  • calculators built into cell phones or any other electronic communication devices
  • calculators with a typewriter keypad (letter keys in QWERTY format)—Note: Letter keys not in QWERTY format are permitted.

Calculators Permitted with Modification

The following types of calculators are permitted, but only after they are modified as noted:

  • calculators with paper tape—Remove the tape.
  • calculators that make noise—Turn off the sound.
  • calculators with an infrared data port—Completely cover the infrared data port with heavy opaque material such as duct tape or electrician's tape (includes Hewlett-Packard HP 38G series, HP 39G series, and HP 48G).
  • calculators that have power cords—Remove all power/electrical cords.

The ACT Test

Sept 4, 2010