A calculated advantage

Dr Colin Foster, Associate Professor in the School of Education, was interviewed on BBC Breakfast on BBC1 on Friday 23 March about the use of calculators in mathematics lessons in school. He spoke about the Education Endowment Foundation review on mathematics teaching, which he co-authored with Professor Jeremy Hodgen (UCL Institute of Education) and Dr Rachel Marks (University of Brighton).

The review examined the best available international evidence on teaching mathematics across a wide range of areas. In relation to calculators, the finding was that children's mathematics skills are not harmed by using calculators in the classroom, provided that calculators are used thoughtfully. It recommended that while primary school students should not use calculators every day, those at secondary school should have "more frequent unrestricted access" to them. When they are used carefully as a part of teaching pupils mental and written calculation methods, calculators can help improve students’ numeracy.