Starting this semester, first- and second-year engineering students will be using the same standardized non-programmable calculators for all their quizzes, midterms and exams.
Many engineering professors were frustrated with the number of students using programmable calculators to aid them in passing their tests. They decided on using a standardized one-line Casio scientific solar calculator.
"There were stories of students using two TI-83s on their desk with every formula imaginable stored in their calculator," said Schulich School of Engineering director of students Dr. Lynne Cowe Falls. "Some students were even talking with one another wirelessly with Infra-Red capabilities during tests. [We decided] if we could level the playing field so that every single student in the classroom could have the same calculator, it would be more fair."
Engineering students will be required to use their sanctioned calculators in all exams.
Many students are familiar with calculators which display everything they have typed in.
"I think it's ridiculous that we can't see what we are entering into these new calculators," said first-year engineering student Tom Bielecki.
Bielecki explained he was concerned about making errors on exams with the new calculators.
"You make errors even if you have a programmable calculators," explained Cowe Falls. "The majority of marks are not based on the final number, you are getting a mark for the work."
The calculators, are sold for $15 each and were made available at the Engineering Students' Society two-weeks ago.
"For the $15 price tag we pay at ESS for the calculator, I believe we should be receiving better calculators," said Bielecki. "I could go to Staples and buy the exact same one for less money."
The calculators are being sold through ESS to ensure that every student would be able to purchase one, explained Cowe Falls.
"You can buy the exact same calculator at staples for $10 but I don't know if Staples has 1,500 of these calculators in stock," she said.