England: Miniräknarförbud på nationella prov får hård kritik

Skolminister Elisabeth Truss beslutade 2012 att från och med i år får miniräknare inte längre användas på det nationella prov i matematik som görs i årskurs sex (elever som är 10-11 år). Flera forskare i matematikdidaktik är kritiska till beslutet och hävdar att det inte finns forskningsstöd för det.

There is a substantial amount of good evidence on calculators in schools, mainly from the US, and none of it shows their use is detrimental to pupils’ learning. On the whole, the use of calculators as an integral mathematical tool has been shown to be beneficial, particularly in the development of mathematical problem solving. It is a pity that current policy is retrogressive in this respect.
(Anne Watson, Oxford University)

The evidence suggests that in primary school the use of calculators is beneficial provided children are taught to use calculators alongside other methods. Indeed, when taught with calculators, children’s understanding and fluency increased and they used calculators less.
(Jeremy Hodgen, King’s College, London)

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. Research shows children’s achievement in maths is influenced by both their ability to do calculations , that is sums, and their competence in mathematical reasoning, that is knowing how to solve problems to do with relative quantities, such as weight, volume and distance.
(Terezinha Nunes, Oxford University)

As well as making calculation more efficient and reliable, calculators allow people to tackle mathematical problems in new ways. Making intelligent use of tools such as these underpins a great deal of the mathematics that is done in our contemporary world.
(Ken Ruthven, Cambridge University)

Regeringen avvisar argumenten och säger att i högpresterande utbildningssystem som Singapore, Hong Kong och Massachusetts i USA finns det en förståelse för att miniräknare inte skall användas som ersättning för grundläggande förståelse och färdigheter.

All children should be confident with addition, subtraction, times tables and division before they pick up a calculator. It is vital that children have a solid grounding in the basics so they can grow up to be comfortable with the maths they need in their adult lives. Banning calculators in primary school tests will help end the culture of reaching for a calculator at the first sign of a tricky sum. Some of the world’s top education systems already do this and there is no reason why children in England can’t compete with the best. Ensuring children leave primary school with a strong grasp of mathematics is a vital part of a long-term economic plan to safeguard this country’s future.
(Elisabeth Truss, skolminister)

»»» Calculator test ban ‘backward step’, claim academics [BBC News]

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