The final piece of information on the front of the GCSE paper is 'you must not use a calculator'. I am not a fan of calculators but they do have a place. If your job is to count figures then putting them into a calculator may be the easiest and quickest way to get your total. Many answers could not be found without a great deal of effort unless you have a calculator.

My concern is that some people tap in the numbers and forget what they are doing, and the answer they get bears no resemblance to the right answer. One of the main goals in mathematics should be to allow you to think clearly. Using a calculator shows that you know how to press buttons, and the answers to the mathematics questions at GCSE are clearly available without one, because the instructions have told you.

That sums it up.

## Sunday, 5 April 2009

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