Calculators and Testing II

As a follow-up to an earlier musing about the future of graphing calculators in the face of emerging technologies, I offer this perspective from Justin Lanier (@J_Lanier)–The College Board and Calculators: Some Thoughts.

I’m shocked to learn that I’ve been teaching lots longer than Justin (I swear I just started teaching yesterday!), but it some ways, I’ve grown up–at least in my teaching–with the same tech-presence he has.  Two days before I was to begin my first year of teaching twenty-one years ago, my department chair walked into my room and unexpected laid a brand new TI-81 on my desk, announcing that we would be introducing that machine in my classes that year.  I loved my unexpected new toy, and in retrospect, realize that Jerry’s move completely reset my entire mindset for teaching before I met even my first student.  Any successes I’ve had as a teacher can be traced in some way to technological enhancements in my understanding or my students’ ability to explore.

Given the stunning and ever-evolving ability to explore that technology grants us, I’m equally frustrated by educationally nonsensical limitations. Justin captures this well on his aforementioned ‘blog post.

As educators, I feel like we too often feel beholden to the College Board and standardized tests and take them as monolithic givens.  We betray this in the way that we talk: “But they have to take the SATs,” and “What about the AP scores?”  But the College Board is just a human institution that can change over time, and we can help that change to happen.  In fact, we are best positioned to do so.

Think about it, and consider signing an open letter to the College Board.

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