Lawmakers push to limit calculators during math tests

Posted at 11:20 PM, Feb 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-16 06:19:52-05

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Whether it's cooking, counting down to the end of the work day or just making a purchase, we're using simple math everyday.

However, a lot of those calculations can't be made by students say some lawmakers who are now trying to find an answer to this math problem.

"The calculators and electronics are going to take you so far. You're going to hit the wall at some point," says Delegate Dickie Bell (R-Staunton).

He is in favor of a bill calling for more basic math problems on the SOL test that subtract the use of a calculator.

"We're not asking these kids to do algebra, trig and those things in their heads. What we're asking them to do is have the skill to balance a checkbook," says Delegate Bell.

Most of his colleagues agreed and voted 96- 4 in the House  to pass the bill. This means they're one step closer to revising math questions on the SOL as well as limiting students' use of a calculator during practice and the actual exam.

Those outside of the capitol agree with lawmakers. Lakshmi Rao runs Kumon, a learning center in Short Pump.

Rao says when she opened in 2002, 75 students enrolled. Today, there are nearly 600. She says schools are pushing students to take advanced math classes too soon, without the right skills. "There is a big need for math, especially because of the way the schools are teaching it. They're not spending enough time with the kids," says Rao.

This bill is now in the hands of the state Senate..