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Is a calculator an accomodation?


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Joined: Mar 19, 2005
Posts: 51
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Posted Sep 01, 2005 at 4:29:09 PM
Subject: Is a calculator an accomodation?

I would like to please learn what the rule (you all's opinion) would be for a University student with profound dyscalculia for this one thing, here...

If it is the rule of a University remedial level math class that no one is allowed to use any form of a calculator, then can a student with profound dyscalculia (read borderline deficient, almost non existant with regards to my l.d. testing) be permitted to use the most basic model calculator if they are not capable to do the most basic level of mathematical computations, including the rules of integers...without a calculator? I need to learn of this badly because the rule of the math class I am in is that no one can use a calculator at all and I am assuming that means a TI 83. I am not one for breaking rules, but I know enough about my learning disability to know that there are scads of very basic mathematical computations I can not do without a most basic calculator...and I know that for certain, and am not proud of it.

The best example I can think of with regards to what I am wondering about with regards to this accomodation is the same as if, for example, a profoundly dyslexic student needed to use books on tape or a reader because they could not read assigned materials as fast as their peers. Like, if someone is at University and has the most lowest level mathematical abilities, then is it unethical for them to use a basic (not scientific, just a plain old fashioned) calculator?

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 1784

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Posted:Sep 01, 2005 11:15:08 PM

This is tricky.

There are two different kinds of foundation math: arithmetic (mostly computation and some problem-solving) and algebra (mostly conceptual, with computation on the side.)
In a computation class, using calculators defeats the purpose, just as in a reading *skills* class using books on tape or a computer reader defeats the purpose of learning the reading skills for yourself.
In an algebra class, use of calculators is fine, because you are being taught and graded on the concepts and systems, not the numbers.

Usually, computation is taught first, then algebra.
OK, you are not going to fit into the usual mode.

You have proof that you cannot do the computation; you also have various other proofs that you do have intelligence and ability and are not skipping this out of either lack of ability or laziness.
For your particular unusual situation, the remedial computation class is pointless. You are not going to learn to do it, and doing it with the calculator is not teaching anyone anything.
Can you possibly talk to the head of the math department, show him/her the papers about your disability, and get a waiver from the basic computation class? Then you could take the *very most basic* algebra class and see how you do on learning concepts.

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merlinjones
Joined Mar 19, 2005
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Posted:Sep 03, 2005 2:27:02 PM
Subject:well

See, I am in this one class called math101, and it is basically Elementary Algebra and Intermediate Algebra all combined in one class. It is the class which is the preparation for this one University level math class I hope to take in the spring called math105, which is titled Finite Math.


In the math 101, one is not permitted to use a calculator at all. I am really sure they would mean a ti83plus. I have been fortunate enough to seek guidance for this issue on Friday, in no small part because towards the very beginning of the University year my own professor gave me permission to use a calculator prior to his learning of how that is against a rule, and I sort of clung to that verbal consent until I learned of something else pertaining to that. I was very much a goody goody about this because I am fortunate enough to be attending a private Catholic University.

But, it took me a long while to learn if a basic (non scientific or graphing) calculator would be deemed an appropriate accomodation. So, hopefully everything is alright now. But, I still do not understand why someone with way profound dyscalculia would be expected to even attempt to take a mathematics class with no calculator. I have no trouble not using a TI83plus, because if it is part of the course expectations that one would have to learn graphing the old fashioned way with paper and pencil, then a TI83plus would totally break a rule. But, if you cannot do the most basic mathematical computations in general as well as how they correlate to the rules of integers, then why would a most basic level calulator be deemed something that would dilute the academic intergrity of the course? Would a visually impaired student using a tape recorder in a history class, dilute the academic integrity of the course?

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 1784

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Posted:Sep 03, 2005 8:57:44 PM

If it's an algebra class and your professor is with you on this, then a calculator for computations *only* is a very reasonable accomodation.

Go to your local drug store or dollar store or discount store and get a moderately dumb calculator -- not the dumbest that can only add and subtract, but just one level up, one that can do square roots and exponents and logarithms and sines and cosines -- the cheapest that calls itself a scientific calculator. Then you have to read the directions and learn to use it; take care as sometimes the order is different -- sometimes have to type in 5 square root instead or square root 5 for example.

Show the medical stuff to your professor. Get *written* permission from your professor, saying that you are allowed to use a NON-graphing NON-programmable calculator for computation *only* due to your proven disability.

Take this letter and your medical stuff to the head of the math department and get a *written* permission from him/her too. Avoid secretaries and flunkies, go to the top.

Then go for it.

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JohnBT
Joined Mar 14, 2005
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Posted:Sep 06, 2005 3:18:23 PM

"take care as sometimes the order is different -- sometimes have to type in 5 square root"

I've found that I prefer using a calculator with Reverse Polish Notation. It just seems more logical to put in the number first and then decide what to do with it.

www.hpmuseum.org/rpn.htm

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merlinjones
Joined Mar 19, 2005
Posts: 51

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Posted:Sep 09, 2005 6:10:50 PM

I have learned that my drugstore calculator is no good with this one thing...

the 2^2 and whatnot...like when a number is raised to a power.

I did, however, learn how to do fractions without a ti 83 plus (I forgot the manner in which to add subtract multiply and divide fractions) and that is a neat thing because I at least reminded myself how to set up a basic fraction and then I do the math behind that with the drugstore calculator. And, I know how to do roots in long hand-because I do them like a factor tree.

So, if anyone knows of a ti that does like 2^2, but no form of graphing or anything like that...then I would appreciate it. I figure that if anyone knows of what some youngsters use in pre algebra, then that would be super cool information to share. It is way against the rules for me to use a straight up ti83 plus, but I am allowed to use a much more basuic calculator.

I will tell you guys something, having really bad dyscalculia is dreadful. I hope that the ld youngsters in this day and age with dysacalculia are not given a gosh forsaken calculator from grade four up because they are deemed to be too stupid to learn how to do any blessed math in long hand. If anyone reading this, witnesses a youngster being given a calculator for most anything, then help that kid out. I am living proof that certain resource room procedures in the 1980's and 1990's really were dreadful.

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 1784

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Posted:Sep 09, 2005 6:54:28 PM

There is a TI calculator that does not have the graphing feature but I am not sure what the number is. Maybe you can look on the Texas Instruments website.

However, just go to your local drugstore or Walmart or whatever, and buy anything labelled *scientific* calculator, but without the graphing screen. That is what you need.

Save the instructions and read them in detail, as the system is not exactly the same as the TI.

I have a drugstore calculator ("Cora" brand) that has some of the most commonly used instructions printed inside the cover, a very useful feature.
Go shopping and have fun.

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