Nine-year-olds who use calculators can’t compute on their own, concludes an analysis of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores. Tom Loveless of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution writes:
“If students are only able to compute accurately with calculators — or if their computational skills are so weak that only the simplest of calculations can be made — then students are doomed to solving only trivial mathematical problems.”
CER Newswire notes: In subtraction, students scored 89.2 percent with calculators and 59.7 without; in multiplication, 87.9 percent with calculators and 42.5 without; and in division, 77.1 percent with and 48.3 without.
Letting students use calculators on tests of computation skills makes the tests worthless, Loveless concluded.