Yakubova, G., & Bouck, E. (2014). Not all created equally: Exploring calculator use by students with mild intellectual disability . Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities , 49 (1), 111–126. https://www.jstor.org/journal/eductraiautideve

Journal Article
Yakubova, G., & Bouck, E. (2014). Not all created equally: Exploring calculator use by students with mild intellectual disability. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 49(1), 111–126. https://www.jstor.org/journal/eductraiautideve


[no doi reported]; also located on online database journal article webpage https://www.jstor.org/stable/23880659


Calculation device or software (interactive); Educator survey; Intellectual disabilities; K-12; Math; Middle school; Student survey; U.S. context





Use of two different types of calculators—graphing and scientific—compared to each other, and to a control condition of non-use, served as the accommodations examined.


Participants were five grade 5 students with mild intellectual disabilities (IQ scores of 55–70) who attended the same self-contained program in a suburban middle school in a state in the Midwest (U.S.). Other demographic variables, such as age, gender, IQ score, and state assessment grade-level equivalency score, were reported. One of the participant selection factors was not having any previous experience using graphing and scientific calculators.

Dependent Variable

Accuracy—measured in scores on a set of five mathematical problem-solving items and five computation items requiring subtraction, and efficiency—measured in time duration for completing each item, comprised the study's dependent variables. Social validation was accomplished by informally interviewing students and their teacher to ascertain social acceptability, importance, and appropriateness of the calculators.


Participants received mathematics instruction and guidance using the calculators, and practiced their use in responding to problem-solving items during baseline, intervention, and follow-up sessions. Comparison of the average during the baseline stage, in which students used only paper and pencil to solve, and the average of intervention sessions, using calculators, indicated the benefits of the calculators for all students with both computation and word problem solving. Researchers reported that four students averaged 0% correct during baseline and 60–100% correct during intervention on word problems. Also, for four students, calculator use resulted in decreased response times on both item item types. Comparison of relative benefit of the calculators with one another indicated that two improved more with graphing calculators and two improved more with scientific calculators, and one student improved similarly with both calculators. Student preferences for one type of calculator over the other generally followed the same relative benefit pattern, except for one student who preferred the scientific calculator yet scored slightly better using the graphing calculator. Finally, the teacher indicated that students benefited from using calculators by learning to solve more advanced problems without having to use other strategies they knew, such as counting on number lines. However, the teacher indicated that these types of calculators had capabilities not applied at the students' current math level, and indicated that a basic four-function calculator would be sufficient. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.