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Calculators, an Impediment to Understanding?

             The controversial issue of students being able to use calculators on tests has been an ongoing debate. There is no proven fact that students who use calculators during tests have no mathematical concept of the criteria given to them. In order to make sure a math problem is sufficiently precise, a calculator is a common tool used to "double-check" the answer for the problem. On a math test, there may be several difficult problems that require several "steps" in order to achieve a solution; a calculator vastly reduces the amount of time required to meticulously solve a complex problem. Since calculators are incapable of showing the steps necessary for solving a problem, teachers can discern whether a student understands the mathematical concepts or not. The concern of students using calculators on tests due to their lack of understanding of the mathematical concepts is unwarranted.
             Since tests are mostly based on precision, the calculator is a common tool used to demonstrate precision. Most students are incapable of being a hundred percent accurate; if the student is not accurate, the answer they input will probably be marked as incorrect. A calculator can be used to make sure the answer they input is correct, if the procedure was done correctly. A calculator can be used to make sure the answer the student places is correct; and when they gain an understanding of the reason of their incorrect answer, they will be able to learn from their mistakes. Students that are also able to use the calculator will also be able to make sure the steps they initiate to constitute the correct answer will be correct. A calculator is a useful tool in determining a solution; and in learning of the solution students will then be able to learn of the process required to achieve that solution.
             Time is a student's ally during a test, in order to fully maximize efficiency during testing, a calculator necessary.

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