# Assessing U.S. high school mathematics students' dependency on calculators for basic arithmetic operations involving integers from single-digit fact families

#### Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the extent to which high school students use calculators to perform basic operations, and how well they actually perform those same operations without using calculators. The investigation involved the testing of math classes of students—male and female, mixed ethnicities—in grades nine through twelve. Students were asked to perform all four basic math operations (add, subtract, multiply, divide) involving integers based on single-digit addition and multiplication fact families with and without calculators. The testing was in two environments—timed and untimed, with students recording their completion times—in order to investigate discrepancies in students' calculator use in regards to the restriction of their available time. Students were also asked to record their completion time and anxiety levels in completing the tests. Binary logistic regressions and least-squares regressions were used to analyze responses based on question characteristics (operation, double-sign, correctness of student response) and test conditions (calculator availability, time limit, student completion time, student anxiety level). While influence of independent variables was mixed, the overall result is that availability of calculators is primary factor in student use of the calculators, along with the existence of a double-sign in the problem, and correctness of the answer. When students don't have a calculator available, they often think they don't need them, but when one is available they use it heavily.

#### Subject Area

Mathematics education|Secondary education|Educational technology

#### Recommended Citation

Sneed, John Jeremy, "Assessing U.S. high school mathematics students' dependency on calculators for basic arithmetic operations involving integers from single-digit fact families" (2014). *ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso*. AAI1557794.

https://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI1557794