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The Casio FX 991es Calculator Shouldn't Be Allowed In Exams?

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1. Firstly I thought I'd say at uni, doing maths, we are allowed a very limited amount of calculators, they are very basic. No natural display, and just has basic functions like pi and trig functions.

Looking back at A-level, this is the calculator I used and I still use it although very rarely nowadays.

Having thought about it, I have to say I feel this calculator shouldn't be allowed in exams.

For those who don't know. Although it is not a graphical or programmable calculator, it has a vast array of functions. I particularly found it useful in further pure 1,2 and parts of 3 and statistics and obviously calculus as well in core 2-4.

You can input 2x2 and 3x3 (and other size) matrices and use the functions to compute the inverse. You can put in data for stats. It can solve quadratics in both the real and complex plane, and in particular with complex numbers it gives answers in the form of z=a+ib perfectly. It also allows you to use all arithmetic functions in the complex plane, such as converting to and from exponential form (e^i.theta), also conjugates.

The biggest problem I have with the use of this calculator is within calculus.

The argument is that this calculator is allowed because it does not compute indefinite functions rather it computes definite integrals using a numerical format. I can't remember which, probably Riemann Integral or Simpson's. The same is also true for definite differentiation.

I can't help but feel using this calculator gives a big advantage to the point that it probably is not fair.

I remember in exams I would do questions involving differentiation/integration and I would always check my answer using the functions on the calculator. Although on many occasions it would not give me an exact answer, it was enough information to know if I was correct or not. E.g. If my answer was 4/3 on paper and the calculator computed 1.33333 - I knew my answer was correct. If it didn't I would go back and redo the question
.

My feeling is that this must be wrong, as in Core 1 for example we are not allowed calculators and many people found it hard to get 100% not because the content was hard but because they would make silly mistakes.

Surely the point of a test is to determine what a person knows with their ability and then an external source, marks the student's first attempt.

Is it really fair to able to check your answer in an exam?

I don't think so.
2. Can you give a tl;dr? Are you saying it's unfair cause it does silly integrals?
3. (Original post by Student403)
Can you give a tl;dr? Are you saying it's unfair cause it does silly integrals?
Sorry.

tl;dr:

This calculator computes definitely differentiation and definite integration using approximations.

E.g. you can ask the calculator to work out the definite integral from 1 to 3 for the function x^3 it will give you the answer. The way it works it out is by using a numerical format like Riemann or Simpson's which is why its allowed.

My point was you do the question in the exam, say your answer was pi, but the calculator said the answer was 3.141 - you knew you got the right answer. If it said something else you would redo the question until you get the right answer.

So if you can actually check your answer during the exam to see if you were right, surely that not fair?
4. Meh, everyone has a casio (well most people). Not my fault they don't know how to make full use of their resources.

It was so handy using it for matrices, complex numbers, definite integrals etc...
5. (Original post by konvictz0007)
Firstly I thought I'd say at uni, doing maths, we are allowed a very limited amount of calculators, they are very basic. No natural display, and just has basic functions like pi and trig functions.

Looking back at A-level, this is the calculator I used and I still use it although very rarely nowadays.

Having thought about it, I have to say I feel this calculator shouldn't be allowed in exams.

For those who don't know. Although it is not a graphical or programmable calculator, it has a vast array of functions. I particularly found it useful in further pure 1,2 and parts of 3 and statistics and obviously calculus as well in core 2-4.

You can input 2x2 and 3x3 (and other size) matrices and use the functions to compute the inverse. You can put in data for stats. It can solve quadratics in both the real and complex plane, and in particular with complex numbers it gives answers in the form of z=a+ib perfectly. It also allows you to use all arithmetic functions in the complex plane, such as converting to and from exponential form (e^i.theta), also conjugates.

The biggest problem I have with the use of this calculator is within calculus.

The argument is that this calculator is allowed because it does not compute indefinite functions rather it computes definite integrals using a numerical format. I can't remember which, probably Riemann Integral or Simpson's. The same is also true for definite differentiation.

I can't help but feel using this calculator gives a big advantage to the point that it probably is not fair.

I remember in exams I would do questions involving differentiation/integration and I would always check my answer using the functions on the calculator. Although on many occasions it would not give me an exact answer, it was enough information to know if I was correct or not. E.g. If my answer was 4/3 on paper and the calculator computed 1.33333 - I knew my answer was correct. If it didn't I would go back and redo the question.

My feeling is that this must be wrong, as in Core 1 for example we are not allowed calculators and many people found it hard to get 100% not because the content was hard but because they would make silly mistakes.

Surely the point of a test is to determine what a person knows with their ability and then an external source, marks the student's first attempt.

Is it really fair to able to check your answer in an exam?

I don't think so.
Being able to check your answer with a calculator doesn't really make it unfair, coz most of the marks in a maths exam is from working out anyway, so having a calculator that allows you to gain 1 or 2 more marks is not that significant.

Same goes for all the other functions. The calculator may give you the final answer, but you'll still lose the bulk of the marks if you don't know/show your working out.
6. It introduces a skill which can be exploited. It's an exam, after all - a test of aptitude and knowledge, which in the context of mathematics as a whole, may be supplemented by the use of a calculator/computer. If you're smart enough to know how to manipulate the calculator to your advantage, then good for you.
7. If you don't like the FX-991ES then you'll most likely have a brain aneurysm after reading of all the additional functions that the TI-84 Plus possesses, i.e. sketching graphs in Cartesian, polar, or parametric form; numerical solution of all types of equations; calculation of regression lines, etc.
8. (Original post by HapaxOromenon3)
If you don't like the FX-991ES then you'll most likely have a brain aneurysm after reading of all the additional functions that the TI-84 Plus possesses, i.e. sketching graphs in Cartesian, polar, or parametric form; numerical solution of all types of equations; calculation of regression lines, etc.
I do like the 991 es.

I used it in my own A level exams.

But my point is, I don't think its fair because it allows you to check your answers.
9. (Original post by Haamoo7)
Being able to check your answer with a calculator doesn't really make it unfair, coz most of the marks in a maths exam is from working out anyway, so having a calculator that allows you to gain 1 or 2 more marks is not that significant.

Same goes for all the other functions. The calculator may give you the final answer, but you'll still lose the bulk of the marks if you don't know/show your working out.
In my exam board, if you got the right answer you got all the marks regardless.

Its almost like during an exam a teacher checking your work and saying I don't think thats right do it again.
10. (Original post by konvictz0007)
I do like the 991 es.

I used it in my own A level exams.

But my point is, I don't think its fair because it allows you to check your answers.
What is your definition of "fair"

If I was allowed one and you were not then that would be unfair. Everyone is allowed to use one so the playing field is level.

By the same token is it unfair that there is a formula book that allows you to check you have used the right formula?

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11. (Original post by gdunne42)
What is your definition of "fair"

If I was allowed one and you were not then that would be unfair. Everyone is allowed to use one so the playing field is level.

By the same token is it unfair that there is a formula book that allows you to check you have used the right formula?

Posted from TSR Mobile
The formula book has certain formulas only and is taken into account when the questions are being set.

Everyone uses the formula book or is well aware of it.

Not everyone uses that calculator, some students like me knew about it and other students did not. It is not part of the syllabus to understand how to check answers using the calculator - that would make it fair.

Most other places don't allow a calculator such as this in exams except for A level maths.

If you performed an integration during an exam and a teacher came behind your desk and said that answer does not match with mine, do it again. Surely that is cheating, and that is whats happening here.
12. It's definitely true that having the 991ES (and knowing how to use it) gives you a not-insignificant advantage over those who don't. But I don't agree that this means it shouldn't be allowed. The calculator allows you to skip some cases of tedious working-out that the exams aren't really examining for anyway, and it allows you to verify some of your answers. I don't think either of these advantages are unfair or defeat the purpose of the exam.

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