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HP Prime and ICGSE/A-Level exams
08-31-2014, 06:36 PM
Post: #4
RE: HP Prime and ICGSE/A-Level exams
I just introduced my new students to demo units of HP Primes, trying to promote them and generate some excitement before more units come to class. The most common question was "can we use them on external Cambridge exams?".

All I could answer is that if I lobotomize them properly, I believe they can be used, but I don't set the external exams' restrictions, so I'm not really sure, even though I've asked, but we will see... This is embarrassing.

The suggestion above is an excellent one: present an argument to the that in certain Exam modes the HP will meet all the specification to the Exam Centre Officer. I'm not sure about confirmation from CIE: this would be nice, but as I mentioned before I had a long conversation with them and all I was able to extract from them was that the calculator needs to meet the written specifications.

Which brings me to this question: what would be the minimum set of Exam Mode restrictions on HP Prime that would meet the CIE requirements?

I figured that the following need to be turned off:

- User Apps
- Physics? (what does it do?)
- Help (not sure about it - seems like text storage)
- USB (I'm not sure - but the capability of communicating is one of restrictions)
- Notes and Programs

Also I believe that "New Notes and Programs" should be turned off because recording the exam content is a malpractice. But CIE explicitly states that a programmable calculator can be used - so I would have to take away programability from the students even if it's not restricted.

Plus erase memory and blink LEDs.

The problem I can see is that since the there is 'Graphical Display' restriction, the following Apps should probably be turned off.

+ System Apps:
- Function
- Solve
- Statistics 1 Var
- Statistics 2 Var
- Parametric
- Polar
- Sequence
- Finance?
- Linear Explored
- Trig Explorer
- Quadratic Explorer
- Geometry
- Advanced Graphing

And since there is no way I know of to turn off just the Plot mode of the Apps, many capabilities that otherwise wouldn't have to be restricted are being lobotomized as well... Perhaps there is some other way to turn off only graphics, but I can't figure it out.

Would people agree with the list above? Is there anything else that I'm missing?

The condensed CIE restrictions for calculators can be found here.

It seems like an uphill battle: the calculator is guilty of not meeting the requirements, until proven innocent. Unless there is some support from either HP or or some official document that would confirm what I think is true, it's just my professional opinion.

Even if I'm able to convince the school (which is also the examination centre), that the calculator meets the relatively vaguely written CIE restrictions, it's a risky proposition. For example: interpretation of 'no graphic display' clause can take a few different forms. What's gonna happen if one of the candidates or the parents files a complaint with CIE that Graphic Calculator, HP Prime, was allowed to be used during the exam and the exam therefore should be nullified? I can just imagine myself explaining the intricacies of the Exam Mode on HP Prime to the CIE lawyers...

I think it is an important issue (certainly for me and my students), and so far I have drawn blanks asking around for help. If my students ask me tomorrow if they can use Prime on the Cambridge science exams, I will be embarrassed again...

Please help...
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HP Prime and ICGSE/A-Level exams - mcjtom - 07-31-2014, 03:43 PM
RE: HP Prime and ICGSE/A-Level exams - mcjtom - 08-31-2014 06:36 PM

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