Desmos Online Calculator
News & Announcements
Online Calculator in Mathematics Standards of Learning Assessments
As announced in Superintendent’s Memo 043-19-This is a Word document. on February 15, 2019, the VDOE is extending the transition period to the Desmos Virginia Calculators through the 2020-2021 school year.
Overview & Implementation
Desmos online calculators, which include a four-function, scientific, and graphing calculator, are available free to the public. The online calculators can be accessed with a computer, tablet, or other personal device.
Beginning with the spring 2019 test administration, the revised Standards of Learning assessments measuring the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning that are administered online will include access to Desmos Virginia versions of the online calculators. Grades 4 and 5 Mathematics tests will have the Desmos Virginia Four-Function Calculator in the tool bar for the calculator active part of the test. The Grades 6 and 7 Mathematics tests will have the Desmos Virginia Scientific Calculator in the tool bar for the calculator active parts of the test, and the Grade 8 Mathematics test will have the Desmos Virginia Scientific Calculator in the tool bar for the entire test. End-of-Course (EOC) mathematics tests will have the Desmos Virginia Graphing Calculator available for the entire test. Students will continue to have the traditional four-function calculator available in the tool bar in all online science assessments.
Initially, the VDOE’s transition plan for the implementation of the Desmos Virginia Calculators in the new online mathematics assessments included an expectation that students would use only the Desmos Virginia calculators during SOL test administrations beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. As announced in Superintendent’s Memo #043-19-This is a Word document. on February 15, 2019, based on feedback from school divisions, the VDOE is extending the transition period to the Desmos Virginia Calculators through the 2020-2021 school year.
As a result, school divisions will be permitted to continue to provide one of the hand-held calculators on the list of Approved Calculators for the Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments-This is a Word document. through the Summer 2021 test administration to students taking the online version of the mathematics tests based on the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning.
The Desmos Virginia Calculators (four-function, scientific, and graphing) that will be embedded into the TestNav application will emulate many of the capabilities of the free, standard versions that are available on the Desmos webpage, with a few differences. Teachers and students are encouraged to use and be familiar the Desmos Virginia Calculators.
The Desmos Virginia Calculator – handout (PDF)-This is a PDF document. provides a list of features disabled in the Virginia testing versions of the Desmos calculators.
The standard and Virginia versions versions of the Desmos scientific and graphing calculator are also available as apps that allow users to access the calculator without using Wi-Fi or data.
Apps for Public Facing Versions of Desmos Scientific and Graphing Calculators
Using Desmos as an embedded calculator in the testing environment creates a standardized and consistent testing platform as every student will be using the same calculator on the Standards of Learning assessment. Currently, a variety of different brands and types of calculators are approved for use on Standards of Learning assessments, and this requires school divisions and the Virginia Department of Education to regularly ensure that newly developed features are consistent, equitable, and fair for use on assessments.
The Desmos graphing calculator allows users to view and manipulate multiple representations simultaneously, promoting a deeper conceptual understanding of mathematics. Desmos has features that promote student inquiry and help students understand the rich connections and complexity of mathematics. Today’s students are connected to technology through the use of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. The ability to leverage Desmos as a form of instructional technology that melds into the current ways students are accessing information can translate to higher student engagement and meaningful math inquiry.
Desmos is currently available on assessments in a number of states and is now included as an embedded tool on the calculator portion of the new digital SAT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9. The College Board has created a Student Digital Test Preview which includes the link to the Desmos graphing calculator, along with options for accessible testing features.
Desmos and Special Education
Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams will continue to determine a student’s eligibility to use a handheld calculator other than a VDOE-approved calculator including the Desmos calculator. Currently the student's IEP team must complete the Calculator Accommodation Criteria form-This is a Word document. to document the student's eligibility to use a handheld calculator other than those on the approved calculator list. To use a particular calculator, but the calculator has additional mathematical capabilities that the student does not require, the school division will submit a Special Assessment Accommodation Request and the completed Calculator Accommodation Criteria form-This is a Word document. to the VDOE.
Frequently Asked Questions
The FAQ: Special Education and Desmos-This is a Word document. document addresses frequently asked questions concerning the implementation of Desmos and Special Education.
The Virginia Department of Education, as part of its work to support the implementation of the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning, has resources and webinars that include Desmos as an instructional technology tool in mathematics classrooms.
- VDOE Desmos Graphing Calculator Overview
- VDOE Desmos Scientific Calculator Overview
- VDOE Algebra I: Digging Deeper Into the Desmos Graphing Calculator
- VDOE Geometry: Digging Deeper Into the Desmos Graphing Calculator
- VDOE Algebra II: Digging Deeper Into the Desmos Graphing Calculator
- VDOE: Middle School Digging Deeper - Desmos Graphing Calculator
- VDOE: Introduction to Desmos Activity Builder for Middle School
- VDOE: Introduction to Desmos Activity Builder for the High School
- VDOE: Building Student Engagement with Desmos
In addition, Desmos provides many free, online tutorials and resources for teachers and students.
2016 Mathematics SOL Practice Items in the TestNav8 online test delivery software provide access to the appropriate Desmos Virginia Calculator. School divisions are encouraged to use Desmos in mathematics instruction.
Desmos Classroom Activities Log
The 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning assessments include access to an online calculator from Desmos within the secure online test delivery software, TestNav. Desmos has developed a bank of mathematics classroom activities located at Desmos Classroom Activities that support and enhance classroom instructional practices utilizing the Desmos calculators.
Many of the existing Desmos-created activities, as well as activities created by Virginia educators, have been reviewed and aligned to the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning and included on the Virginia Department of Education Desmos Activity Log. This log, an Excel spreadsheet, contains a tab for each grade-level/mathematics course from Grade 2 through Algebra II. Each grade level sheet includes a list of SOL-aligned Desmos activities with a brief description and direct link to the activity on the Desmos website.
Directions for Use
In order to utilize these activities in their classrooms, teachers will need to login to teacher.desmos.com by using an existing Google account or by creating their own Desmos Classroom Activities account. Activities from these logs can be saved to their accounts where they can use the activity as-is or copy and edit the activity to suit their needs. Teachers also can create codes for their classes to be able to use many built-in features such as the teacher dashboard and classroom conversations. Refer to Desmos Classroom Activities for detailed information about features and use.
The Virginia Department of Education would like to thank the team of Virginia educators who reviewed, created, and aligned activities to the Virginia 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning. A special thank you extends to Hampton City Public Schools and Frederick County Public Schools for sharing their Desmos activity alignments, which were referenced to create this VDOE document. It is important to note that while this log contains many activities, not all Standards of Learning have a corresponding Desmos activity.
Desmos provides many free, online tutorials and resources to allow teachers and students to Learn more about functions of each Desmos calculator.
- Learn Desmos: Four-Function
- Learn Desmos: Scientific
- Learn Desmos: Graphing
Additional support and user guides are available. User guides for the graphing calculator are available to provide instructional support to students. A professional development pack is available that includes notes and presentation slides to support learning opportunities for teachers and students.
- Desmos Support Topics includes:
Desmos Classroom Activities
An additional component within desmos includes a bank of Desmos Classroom Activities that allow students to collaborate and provide feedback in mathematics classrooms. Teachers can modify or create their own activities.
To find the beauty in mathematics, many students are creating art using the Desmos graphing calculator. Math and creative art examples are available.