Graphing calculator use by high school mathematics teachers of western Kansas



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Kansas State University


Graphing calculators have been used in education since 1986, but there is no consensus as to how, or if, they should be used. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Research Council promote their use, and ample research supports the positive benefits of their use, but not all teachers share this view. Also, rural schools face obstacles that may hinder them from implementing technology. The purpose of this study is to determine how graphing calculators are used in mathematics instruction of high schools in western Kansas, a rural region of the state. In addition to exploring the introduction level of graphing calculators, the frequency of their use, and classes in which they are used, this study also investigated the beliefs of high school mathematics teachers as related to teaching mathematics and the use of graphing calculators. Data were collected through surveys, interviews, and observations of classroom teaching. Results indicate that graphing calculators are allowed or required in almost all of the high schools of this region, and almost all teachers have had some experience using them in their classrooms. Student access to graphing calculators depends more on the level of mathematics taken in high school than on the high school attended; graphing calculator calculators are allowed or required more often in higher-level classes than in lower-level classes. Teachers believe that graphing calculators enhance student learning because of the visual representation that the calculators provide, but their teaching styles have not changed much because of graphing calculators. Teachers use graphing calculators as an extension of their existing teaching style. In addition, nearly all of the teachers who were observed and classified as non-rule-based based on their survey utilized primarily rule-based teaching methods.



Graphing calculators, Teacher beliefs, Mathematics education

Graduation Month



Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction Programs

Major Professor

Jennifer M. Bay-Williams