Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

General discussion about calculators, Swiss Micros or otherwise
keithdalby
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Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

Post by keithdalby » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:36 pm

I have started a petition to see if we can get some support for changing the 'allowed calculators lists' for public examinations. I believe that there are actually 'banned calculator lists', rather than 'allowed calculator lists' but I would want to make sure that RPN calculators are explicitly permitted in UK examinations.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petition ... f8IJWOr3mw

If I can get this petition of the ground, I'll move on to seeing if I can sway the opinions of some of the universities too. Cambridge, for example, allow only two models of Casio calculators in their Natural Science exams, I believe, neither of which is any good (in my opinion). It is a crying shame that RPN calculators are not allowed in university-level examinations.

If you feel inclined and have a spare email address to which you do not mind being sent spam (because it would surely generate that), please consider signing the petition?

grsbanks
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Re: Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

Post by grsbanks » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:19 pm

Done, because i agree that it encourages a better understanding of the expression being evaluated and that can only be a good thing.
Not SwissMicros staff, just an enthusiast.

toml_12953
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Re: Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

Post by toml_12953 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:08 pm

keithdalby wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:36 pm
I have started a petition to see if we can get some support for changing the 'allowed calculators lists' for public examinations. I believe that there are actually 'banned calculator lists', rather than 'allowed calculator lists' but I would want to make sure that RPN calculators are explicitly permitted in UK examinations.
It's little consolation but If I lived in the UK, I'd certainly sign it. Good luck with your petition!
Tom L

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ijabbott
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Re: Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

Post by ijabbott » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:09 pm

There was a consultation on regulating the use of calculators in GCSEs, AS and A levels a couple of years ago.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultat ... d-a-levels

keithdalby
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Re: Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

Post by keithdalby » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:34 pm

ijabbott wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:09 pm
There was a consultation on regulating the use of calculators in GCSEs, AS and A levels a couple of years ago.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultat ... d-a-levels
Thank you for this. Problem is, I've read through it now and I'm none the wiser about what the consultation was about or what the outcomes were. Democracy, ladies and gentlemen.

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ijabbott
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Re: Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

Post by ijabbott » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:18 pm

keithdalby wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:34 pm
Thank you for this. Problem is, I've read through it now and I'm none the wiser about what the consultation was about or what the outcomes were. Democracy, ladies and gentlemen.
I think the consultation was about whether the exam boards' existing rules for calculator usage in exams should be regulated. The current joint regulations that the exam boards use are listed in section 3 (page 13) of the PDF downloadable from Instructions for Conducting Examinations 2017-2018.

To summarize the existing rules, the "must nots" include these facilities: language translators, symbolic algebra manipulation, symbolic differentiation or integration, communication with other machines or the internet; and they must not have retrievable information stored on them such as: databanks, dictionaries, mathematical formulas, and text. Other rules are to prohibit lids etc. that have printed instructions or formulas, ensuring that the candidate clears anything stored in the calculator, etc.

keithdalby
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Re: Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

Post by keithdalby » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:58 pm

That's tremendously helpful, thank you. Looks like the battleground is at university level, not high school level

budmur
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Re: Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

Post by budmur » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:51 pm

There are similar rules in the USA, so it's probably something that is encountered everywhere. Even beyond university there are rules about calculators. The NCEES (the group that administrates Professional Engineering testing) has a similar acceptable calculator policy. I believe it is about exam integrity; that is, they want to ensure that exam questions are not smuggled out to give future test takers an unfair advantage. The HP-35S is allowed because alpha entry is limited to a single character.
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williamlim13
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Re: Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

Post by williamlim13 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:37 pm

Wish you success in the petition. So far at the place where I live, rpn calculators are only allowed at University level, lower level Institute of Education are not allowed.

grsbanks
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Re: Petition to allow RPN calculators in UK public examinations

Post by grsbanks » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:49 am

ijabbott wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:18 pm
To summarize the existing rules, the "must nots" include these facilities: language translators, symbolic algebra manipulation, symbolic differentiation or integration, communication with other machines or the internet; and they must not have retrievable information stored on them such as: databanks, dictionaries, mathematical formulas, and text. Other rules are to prohibit lids etc. that have printed instructions or formulas, ensuring that the candidate clears anything stored in the calculator, etc.
The problem most likely lies with training the invigilators so that they know how to check that a calculator being brought into an examination does not fall foul of any of these "must nots." If only two specific calculators are allowed, that's just two calculators that the invigilators have to be taught how to use or at least check.
Not SwissMicros staff, just an enthusiast.

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