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Should the use of calculators be prohibited for A-Level maths examinations?

Posted 4 months.


  • Paul - 2 months ago

    Thanks for some really interesting thoughts, Tom.

  • tom - 3 months ago

    When I was a sixth former (56 years ago) I was expected to learn to use a decent rotary calculator (I think our calculators were Monroe Manual Rotary Calculators only because that looks more like what I remember than anything else I've found a picture for on the Web); we were all expected to be competent with a slide rule and I think we were allowed to use them (slide rules) in some A level exams if we wanted to (applied maths and physics, I think). Of course big rotary caclulators were not something that one could comfortably carry around, and slide rules didn't provide sufficient precision for most things (so we were taught to use a fuller's rule too). We didn't see any computers in school (typical prices would pay to build a new school so that's not at all surprising). Todays (much more powerful) equivalent tools are pocket or desktop calculators. It would be difficult to allow computers because of the vast amounts of data and text they could contain, so I'm not surprised that is not being advocated much yet - but it's a problem that will have to be solved some time in the future, as computers will be as neccessary for parts of mathematics and physics (and other things probably) as were slide rules in the early 1960s.

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