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Calculation Aids

Alternate method of computation for a student who is unable to effectively use paper-and-pencil methods.

 

Allowable on at least one state assessment Allowable on state assessment: This accommodation is allowable on at least one state assessment. See which tests allow this accommodation

Assistive Technology Assistive Technology (AT): This accommodation includes AT. Be sure AT needs are included as accommodations on the IEP and that the PEIMS code reflects this.

Examples Include:

  • Basic handheld calculator (i.e., four-function) or calculator application, including large-key or speech-output.

  • Basic Calculator available as an online embedded support on STAAR


  • Abacus or Cranmer modified abacus.

  • 0–9 addition grid without special numbers (e.g., even numbers) indicated.


  • Grade-appropriate multiplication grid without special numbers (e.g., perfect squares) indicated.

  • STAAR Stuff!

    Check out this helpful video about calculation aids and using them on the math STAAR tests. 

    play video

How to Implement:

  • 1.

    Identify the appropriate calculation aid according to the student’s need and the instructional task to be completed. 

    Identify the appropriate calculation aid according to the student’s need and the instructional task to be completed. 

  • 2.

    Collaborate with a technology specialist if the student will be using a calculator application or other tech tools. 

    Collaborate with a technology specialist if the student will be using a calculator application or other tech tools. 

  • 3.

    Teach the student how to use the calculation aid through modeling and think alouds. Use clear expectations to show the student how to use it

    Teach the student how to use the calculation aid through modeling and think alouds. Use clear expectations to show the student how to use it appropriately in a variety of situations and environments. 

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  • 4.

    Lead guided practice and provide authentic opportunities for independent practice with the calculation aid. 

    Lead guided practice and provide authentic opportunities for independent practice with the calculation aid. 

  • 5.

    Monitor and record the student’s progress and the effectiveness of the calculation aid.

    Monitor and record the student’s progress and the effectiveness of the calculation aid.

  • 6.

    Provide feedback to the student. Feedback should be specific and include positive praise for correct use and corrective feedback for inappropriate use. 

    Provide feedback to the student. Feedback should be specific and include positive praise for correct use and corrective feedback for inappropriate use. 

  • 7.

    Share progress and effectiveness with the student, the educational team, and the family.

    Share progress and effectiveness with the student, the educational team, and the family.

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Review the TEA Policy Document for details about allowable use of calculation aids during test administration.

The STAAR Calculator Policy, TEA Technology Guidelines, and 2021-22 Technology Use Guidelines offer additional information about the use of handheld calculators and calculator apps during state assessments. 

State Assessment
Allowability

Some accommodations appropriate for instructional use may not be allowable on a statewide assessment. Select the state assessment to view the implementation policies.

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Type: Designated Support 

Assessments: Grade 3-7 Math, grade 5 Science

Calculators are required for the following STAAR assessments: grade 8 mathematics, grade 8 science, Algebra I, Algebra II, and biology. 

Student Eligibility Criteria:

  • Receives Special Education or 504 services

  • Routinely, independently, and effectively uses it during classroom instruction and classroom testing
  • Meets at least one of the following for the applicable grade:

Grades 3 and 4

  • The student has a physical disability that prevents him or her from independently writing the numbers required for computations and cannot effectively use other accessibility features to address this need (e.g., whiteboard, graph paper).
  • The student has an impairment in vision that prevents him or her from seeing the numbers they have written during computations and cannot effectively use other accessibility features to address this need (e.g., magnifier).

Grades 5 through 7

  • The student has a physical disability that prevents him or her from independently writing the numbers required for computations and cannot effectively use other accessibility features to address this need (e.g., whiteboard, graph paper).
  • The student has an impairment in vision that prevents him or her from seeing the numbers they have written during computations and cannot effectively use other accessibility features to address this need (e.g., magnifier).
  • The student has a disability that affects mathematics calculations. Even after intensive instruction and remediation, the student is consistently unable to memorize basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division facts or perform the steps in an algorithm correctly when solving problems.

same as STAAR

Type: Designated Support 

Assessments: grades 3-5 mathematics and grades 5 science

Student Eligibility Criteria: Same as STAAR



See the TEA STAAR Alternate 2 Allowable Accommodations document for information about calculator use during the STAAR Alt 2 state assessment.