P. O. BOX 2120
December 12, 1997


TO: Division Superintendents
Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
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 four-function calculator.  In the Spring of 1998
  administration, a graphing calculator or a four-function
  calculator may be used on the high school Standards of
  Learning tests for Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II.  Use
  of a four-function calculator will be allowed for the Spring
  1998 administration only.

  Any four-function 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, TI-82, or TI-83.  Two of these
  model types (CASIO 9850G Plus and TI-83) 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 TI-82)
  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 calculator-neutral or calculator-inactive. 
  Calculator neutral items are those that can be solved
  correctly without a graphing calculator, but the use of one
  may be helpful. Calculator-inactive 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

      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

      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 school-owned or student-owned 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) 225-2880.  If you have
  questions concerning test administration, please feel free
  to contact the Division of Assessment and Reporting at (804)