Monday, November 1, 2010

Why I Nspire? Part 3 -Exam Acceptance

There is a website that can visually display the frequency of word usage. I used to create the following word cloud for the TI website 'Top 10 Questions Parents Ask about Graphing Calculators".
Wordle: Why use a graphing calculator?The word cloud on the right was made by inputting this blog's website. This one appeals to me because it is like the fingerprint for this blog.

Now, for Part 3 in this series ...
One big reason that I made the switch from the TI-83/84 and TI-89 to the TI-Nspire CAS was because it is permitted on the AP Calculus exam. If it wasn't permitted, the decision would have been tougher. This question came up this past week on the AP Calc electronic discussion group.
I wrote that the TI-Nspire CAS's improved speed, math print or 'pretty print' on the input (and not just the output like with the 89), better pixels, and dynamic representations which make it easier to integrate graphical, numerical/tabular, algebraic, and verbal concept development are a few of the reasons we initially made the switch to the Nspire.

The TI-Nspire CAS can be used on all the College Board exams, like PSAT, SAT, AP (including AP Calc, Stats, Physics, Chem, etc.). The TI-Nspire is permitted on the ACT and IB tests, but CAS devices are not.

Today I learned of an exciting resource for IB teachers. "Written by Andy Kemp, a Head of Maths at an IB school in Somerset, the guide is specifically designed to help students understand how the TI-Nspire can be used as an aid to answering exam questions. The exemplar questions in this booklet are the author’s own work, and are written in the style of IB questions. Throughout there is as much emphasis on the mathematics as on the technology, as it is the author’s belief that without the focus on the mathematics, this guide would become little more than a button-pushing exercise."

I know from this website that the TI-Nspire is permitted on many state tests including TAKS. You could contact your local representative to get more info - for example for Texas see this link. Many state exams do not permit CAS.

Another summary of exam acceptance can be found at

There are a number of Test Prep resources and questions that can be used with the Navigator system to help students prepare for these high stakes tests.

If you want to learn more about this educational technology, this year the T^3 International Conference is in Texas. There is even a Calculus Conference-in-a-Conference track.

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