Russell, R. (2014). The impact of using calculators as an accommodation on the math achievement of students with learning disabilities (Publication No. 3630205) [Doctoral dissertation, Grand Canyon University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1564022570
Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, AZ); ProQuest document ID: 1564022570
The use of the four-function calculator accommodation was examined, in terms of its impact during classroom instruction and assessment administration; this summary emphasizes information pertaining to calculators during assessments. This study occurred during the time when the calculator's use during the state mathematics assessment changed from being considered a test modification to a test accommodation.
Mathematics performance score data from 42 students in grades 6, 7, or 8 were examined. These students comprised a purposive and convenience sample from across a school district, based on grade level, disability type (math-based learning disabilities), and use of the calculator accommodation 2012 testing -- when it was considered an accommodation (and not a modification). These performance data were compared based on previous use, or not, of the calculator accommodation in math throughout the previous (2010-2011) school year and the current (2011-2012), as well as based on the nature of their special education services -- either in self-contained, resource room, or included in general education classroom. The student population demographics of this rural school district in South Carolina were also reported.
Student performance on the state mathematics assessment (South Carolina's Palmetto Assessment of State Standards or PASS) was analyzed. For comparison purposes (between grade levels), the total scale scores were converted into Normal curve equivalent scores. IEP records were examined as part of the initial sampling procedure, and to develop the comparison groups.
The 2012 mean performance of the entire group -- students with math-related learning disabilities in grades 6 through 8 -- was significantly higher, after using the calculator accommodation for the 2011-2012 school year, in comparison with the previous year's mean performance after they did not use the calculator accommodation. The program type main effect was also significant, in that the students in the inclusion group scored significantly higher than both the resource room students and the self-contained program students; these results were consistent with the different placements of students, in that students in the inclusion program also had the highest performance. However, there was no interaction effect, indicating that students' program placements were not associated with differing benefits from the calculator accommodation. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.