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The Difficulties Dyslexic Students Experience Using Calculators By Clare Trott and Nigel Beacham Mathematics Education Centre Loughborough University HELM.

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Presentation on theme: "The Difficulties Dyslexic Students Experience Using Calculators By Clare Trott and Nigel Beacham Mathematics Education Centre Loughborough University HELM."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Difficulties Dyslexic Students Experience Using Calculators By Clare Trott and Nigel Beacham Mathematics Education Centre Loughborough University HELM conference Thursday 15 th September 2005

2 Introduction University proposed restricting range of calculators used in examinations Proposed ‘approved list’ included: –Casio FX83 series –Casio FX85 series –Sharp EL531 series –Texas Instruments TI-30 series

3 Dyslexic Difficulties and Calculators Short-Term Memory Poor sequencing Symbolic processing Visual perceptual difficulties

4 Features to Consider Position of buttons Button size, shape, colour Position and range of functions Colours of text Font and size of text Screen, size, font, colour Background colour, contrast

5 Case Study Dyslexic student lost calculator used since early school days Replaced with new model, as old model no longer available Caused anxiety No recommendations re suitable calculators available

6 Aims of Project Investigate and evaluate the range of currently available 2-line calculators Recommendations for dyslexics Draw up approved list for exams To then carry out a series of experiments observing and timing students using familiar and unfamiliar calculators. Compared the performance of dyslexics and non-dyslexics.

7 4 Phases Phase One  Background research Literature search Contacting others in the field  Initial investigation Collecting information on 2-line calculators Initial evaluation by project team

8 Phase Two Pilot study - dyslexic students evaluating some 2-line calculators Phase Three Main research - trials comparing an unfamiliar provided calculator with students’ own familiar calculator Phase Four Further investigations - close observation of small 3 dyslexic students using 2 unfamiliar calculators

9 Phase 1 Evaluation Methodology 11 dyslexic students 4 calculators Which would you buy and why? Evaluation 8 selected FX85 10 background colour 8 familiarity Button size, background contrast, power source

10 Casio FX85 Looks standard, efficient, familiar Dark background Lettering clear Shape, size good Brand name

11 Sharp VH Softer buttons Poor visual Orange shift Light background White numbers Poor contrast

12 Sharp WB-WH Larger screen Larger screen font Cluttered, fussy Too many visuals Green, orange lettering Screen glare

13 Texet Albert 3 Small, lightweight Small buttons Cramped Yellowish screen Too dotty Brand name Blue but transparent

14 Phase 2/3 Methodology 2 very similar tests written –22 questions on each, no words –Range of mathematics applicable to 1 st yr engineers Shorter familiarisation task written –same functions as main tests Tests were timed End completion of questionnaire about their experience

15 Unfamiliar Calculator: Casio FX85 Test A Familiar Calculator Familiarisation Exercise Test B Unfamiliar Calculator Familiarisation Exercise Test A Unfamiliar Calculator Test B Familiar Calculator Model P Model Q

16 Sample 1 st year engineering students, not with Casio FX82, 83 or 85 Participants identified as dyslexic and non- dyslexic Participants randomly divided into two groups: –Model P –Model Q

17 Results 1 - Time Time difference = Unfamiliar Time – Familiar Time Non-dyslexic = –153 seconds Dyslexic = –59.5 seconds Familiar > Unfamiliar Learning Effect, increasing speed Learning Effect greater for non-dyslexics

18 Results 2 - Time Time difference = Unfamiliar Time – Familiar Time Non-dyslexic = seconds, Familiar < Unfamiliar, Learning Effect Dyslexic = –24 seconds Familiar > Unfamiliar, Priming Effect

19 Learning Effect = Average of the median time differences Non-dyslexics = 157 seconds Dyslexics = 18 seconds Calculator Effect (adjusted Time Differences) Non-dyslexics 4 seconds longer with unfamiliar Dyslexics 42 seconds less with unfamiliar

20 Results 3 - Scores Score difference = Unfamiliar Score – Familiar Score Non-dyslexic = 1 mark Dyslexic = 1 mark Unfamiliar > Familiar Learning Effect, increasing scores

21 Results 4 - Scores Score difference = Unfamiliar Score – Familiar Score Non-dyslexic = 0.5 marks Unfamiliar > Familiar, Carelessness set in Dyslexic = –1 mark Unfamiliar < Familiar, Learning Effect, Automaticity

22 Learning Effect = Average of the median score differences Non-dyslexics = 0.75 marks Dyslexics = 1 mark Calculator Effect (adjusted Score Differences) Non-dyslexics 0.25 marks more with unfamiliar Dyslexics 0 marks, same score

23 Phase 4 Methodology 3 dyslexics unfamiliar calculator, Aurora SC582 video

24 Student A Pauses “Hovering Finger” Key positions not in WM Sequencing, cannot locate numerical keys Student B Difficulty locating keys Increasing frustration, stress, stop

25 Guidelines Background colour Dark, opaque, not metallic or transparent. Blue = optimum colour. Background contrast Keys clearly visible against backgrounds. Button size and shape Large, regular Font type and colour primary and secondary fns in large clear fonts. Avoid colours like orange

26 LayoutUncluttered. Avoid too many second/third functions ScreenLarge, Good contrast between background and digits, smooth pixel display not reflective. Coloured screens If available (not red) Symbolsfamiliar symbols e.g. ^ or y x

27 Contact Details Clare Trott (Mathematics Learning Support Tutor, Mathematics Education Centre, Loughborough University, Nigel Beacham (Research Fellow, Mathematics Education Centre, Loughborough University, DDIG website:


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