Linda Brant Collins

University of Chicago




University of Texas at San Antonio





We report on a study of the relationship between calculator technology and student learning in two introductory statistics class sections taught by the same instructor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. At the introduction of hypothesis testing and confidence intervals, one class section (A) was given graphing calculators capable of inferential statistics to use for a few weeks. At the same time, the other class section (B) was given non-inferential graphing calculators. Data were collected on all test grades and daily quiz grades for both class sections. The students were allowed to use the inferential calculators on only the examination covering hypothesis tests and confidence intervals and on the final examination. Both sections received the same tests. We found that although use of the calculator with inferential capabilities is associated with improved scores on the inferential examination, the improvement is not significant once we adjust for performance on previous tests. Still, we note that on final examination questions specifically utilizing the calculator inference functions, the two classes perform similarly. In fact, both classes had trouble with “calculations” while at the same time answering “concept” questions fairly well. The inferential calculator did not appear to give students any clear advantage or disadvantage in their performance on examinations.


Keywords: Statistics education research; Introductory statistics; Graphing calculator; Inferential calculator; Student achievement




Statistics Education Research Journal, 4(1), 7-15, http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/serj

Ó International Association for Statistical Education (IASE/ISI), May, 2005






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Department of Statistics

University of Chicago

5734 S. University Ave

Chicago, IL 60637

United States of America