SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 188
December 12, 1997 
TO:  Division Superintendents 
FROM:

Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction 
SUBJECT:

Use of Graphing Calculators on Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II
Standards of Learning Tests 
The purpose of this memo is to provide you with additional information on appropriate types of calculators for use with the high school mathematics Standards of Learning tests. For the Spring 1997 field test, students were permitted to use a fourfunction calculator. In the Spring of 1998 administration, a graphing calculator or a fourfunction calculator may be used on the high school Standards of Learning tests for Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. Use of a fourfunction calculator will be allowed for the Spring 1998 administration only. Any fourfunction calculator (i.e., add, subtract, multiply, and divide) and calculators having percent and square root functions may be used. Acceptable graphing calculator model types are: CASIO 9850G, CASIO 9850G Plus, TI82, or TI83. Two of these model types (CASIO 9850G Plus and TI83) have been provided to school divisions for use in meeting the requirements of the Standards of Learning. Since many school divisions have been using the earlier model types (CASIO 9850G and TI82) in instruction prior to receiving the state's shipment, we are also allowing their use on the tests. Items on the high school Standards of Learning tests are designed to be calculatorneutral or calculatorinactive. Calculator neutral items are those that can be solved correctly without a graphing calculator, but the use of one may be helpful. Calculatorinactive items are those in which there is no advantage to using a calculator. The following guidelines should be used when making a decision about calculator use on the Standards of Learning tests: Graphing calculators will be permitted on the high school Standards of Learning tests for Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. The Standards of Learning require the use of graphing calculators. If one student has the opportunity to use a calculator, then each student in the class should have equal access to the same type of calculator. Do not allow calculators if instruction has not been given on the use of calculators. Students should be familiar with the calculator. Do not let testing time be the first time a student uses a calculator. The graphing calculator's memory must be reset prior to test administration, clearing all memory contents not built into the calculator's system. Either a schoolowned or studentowned calculator may be used on the test. If you have questions about the graphing calculator guidelines, please call Dr. Patricia I. Wright, Director of Secondary Instruction, at (804) 2252880. If you have questions concerning test administration, please feel free to contact the Division of Assessment and Reporting at (804) 2252102. RTL/piw