Banning calculators in primary schools a ‘backward step’, academics warn

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Category: Media

Times Education Supplement, 14/05/2014, Unattributed

Banning calculators from national tests in primary schools is a “backward step”, leading academics and researchers have warned. Academics from Oxford, Cambridge and Kings College, London have criticised ministers’ decision to prevent pupils from using the devices during their Sats exams. Terezinha Nunes, professor of educational studies at Oxford University, said: “Removing national tests where pupils can use calculators will place greater emphasis on the testing of calculation skills and less on the assessment of mathematical reasoning. I think one can safely say that is a step backwards.”

Academics raise concerns at calculator ban for SATs
Oxford Mail, 16/05/2014, p. 5, Sophie Scott
Teachers and Oxford academics have raised concerns over the impact of banning calculators in Year 6 National Curriculum SATs. Professor of Educational Studies Terezinha Nunes said calculators helped children develop mathematical reasoning. She said: ‘If you take away the possibility of calculators, either you are going to not focus at all on reasoning and just thinking about how to do the sums correctly, or demand less on reasoning skills and so spend time calculating.’ Anne Watson, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Education, said there was no evidence to show use of calculators was detrimental to pupils’ learning. More…