Thursday, September 24, 2009

Calculator Ban on NJASK

Commissioner Davy has released a memo today (September 24) changing the use of calculators on the NJASK 3-8. The memo can be read here. She has unilaterally (with little to no consultation from the field and ignoring current research) banned calculator use on all parts (except one section) of the NJASK grades 3 and 4. In grades 5-8, there will be an approximately 50/50 balance on calculator and non calculator items, which is appropriate (in my opinion) and was the recommendation of the math task force.

With this swift ban, there will be open ended (extended constructed response items) that will NOT allow a calculator in all grades. In fact, some ECR will allow a calculator and others will not. Moreover, the majority of items have NEVER been field tested without calculators but still will be operational without calculators this spring.

Instead of a clear strategy that would field test non calculator items and not allow calculator on computational items only, the commissioner has rushed to make a harmful decision to the students of NJ.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


"If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his/her office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job."

(Donald D. Quinn)