Bouck, E. C., Joshi, G. S., & Johnson, L. (2013). Examining calculator use among students with and without disabilities educated with different mathematical curricula . Educational Studies in Mathematics , 83 (3), 369–385.

Journal Article

Bouck, E. C., Joshi, G. S., & Johnson, L. (2013). Examining calculator use among students with and without disabilities educated with different mathematical curricula. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 83(3), 369–385.


Attention problem; Autism; Calculation device or software (interactive); Hearing impairment (including deafness); K-12; Learning disabilities; Math; Middle school; No disability; Speech/Language disability; U.S. context




Use of four-function or scientific calculators in grade 6 and scientific or graphing calculators in grade 7 were investigated, including test results comparisons between groups of students with and without disabilities.


A total of 295 students attending 15 different classrooms in elementary (grade 6; n=146) and middle schools (grade 7; n=149) across five districts in a midwestern state (U.S.) participated. Most students (n=246) did not have disabilities and a total of 49 students had various disabilities, including learning disabilities (n=28), speech/language impairments (n=7), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders (n=7), autism spectrum disorders (n=5), and hearing impairments (n=2). Learning disabilities were related to reading and writing; students with math-related learning disabilities were not included due to the fact that math instruction was provided in pull-out classrooms rather than inclusive classrooms in the school districts that comprised the educational setting. Demographic data including sex (male/female) were reported; data on race/ethnicity and proportions of students with disabilities were also reported for the populations of the five districts. A total of 11 teachers also participated, including seven grade 6 teachers and four grade 7 teachers. Two types of mathematics curricula were taught to participants in inclusive classroom settings: 151 students were taught by five teachers in eight classes with curricular materials funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and 144 students received traditional classroom materials from six teachers in eight classes. Similar proportions of students with disabilities received each curriculum at the two grade levels (grades 6 and 7).

Dependent Variable

Mathematics assessments, assembled by the researchers from released state assessment items for grade 6 and grade 7, were administered twice monthly. Test items consisted of "word problems" requiring participants to read problem descriptions then solve them. Testing alternated between (a) 10 selected-response (e.g., multiple-choice) and fill-in-the-blank items, and (b) three constructed-response items with some sub-parts in which students identified strategies and showed their work along with the solutions. Grade 6 math content included number and operations, and algebra, in equivalent amounts; grade 7 content had both strands yet a larger proportion of algebra, and some algebra items involved graphing and interpreting graphs. The correctness of item responses was scored, and each participant's use or non-use of calculators to determine each item answer was documented.