Schools chief to recommend letting students use calculators on tests
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 22, 2007

Jordan LaPier 05:45 PM

State Board of Education Superintendent Tom Horne announced Friday he will recommend a change in state standards to allow special education students to use calculators on tests required by the federal government.

The change would make calculators a "standard" accommodation rather than "non-standard," which they are now considered. Accommodations are classified as non-standard if they help increase a student's test scores.

Federal approval will be needed before the recommendation can take effect.
Currently, federal rules say that special education students using calculators on standardized tests cannot be counted as "proficient" on those tests, and last year also decided that those students could not receive credit for having taken the test at all.

Horne's recommendation is based on the results of a study conducted by University of Arizona professor Jerome D'Agostino, which suggested that the state could allow calculators. The study was requested by the Department of Education.

Board of Education officials said that the change could allow a number of schools statewide to comply with No Child Left Behind requirements, which say that 95 percent of students must take the tests to achieve adequate yearly progress.