The Hall County Board of Education approved $70,000 Tuesday at its regular meeting for the purchase of classroom calculators.
The board discussed students’ need for calculators during the Georgia Milestones Assessments beginning this year. Superintendent Will Schofield said at the board’s work session Jan. 12 that he was reticent to purchase calculators if they would be used only on the state test.
“I talked with principals and it was overwhelming that, over the last four or five years during the financial times, principals haven’t asked for much,” Schofield said. “They said, ‘This is not for the test. If we has these calculators, they would be used on a daily basis for instruction.’”
Schofield said he was much more comfortable recommending the purchase of the calculators knowing they would be used daily, rather than on an annual test.
The Milestones assessment can be done without calculators, but the state allows their use during the computerized math test. There is a drop-down menu with a calculator on the exam, but Schofield said he worries younger children will have difficulty using it for the first time the day of the test.
“Even if they have the drop-down calculator in the test, kids need to have experience using calculators before they try to use that,” said Eloise Barron, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.
Barron said the calculators should cost approximately $65,000. The board unanimously approved a purchase of no more than $70,000.