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Review needed to end stalemate on calculators

Neil Munro outlines the latest reports from the Higher Still consultations. Stalemate has been reached over the use of technology in maths and the specialist group has suggested a national review.

There was "no clear consensus" on the use of graphic calculators, the maths group states. Some responses argued for all candidates to have access to a calculator with a graphic facility but a much larger number objected to this either in principle or because it was not feasible.

The group suggests the status quo should continue. But its report continues: "With even more powerful calculators becoming available, this situation is not sustainable in the long term."

The maths specialists have also bowed to pressure on the use of statistics and investigations at the post-16 stage. Statistics will be given more emphasis at Intermediate I and II levels and the report wants statistics introduced atGeneral and Credit levels for Standard grade pupils.

Statistics will remain optional in the Higher course.

The group accepted there was "considerable opposition to the continuation of investigations as assessable components of courses", but the 40-hour units will insist that candidates demonstrate competence in problem-solving.

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