Desmos Online Calculator
News & Announcements
Desmos Online Calculator in Revised Mathematics Standards of Learning Tests Beginning in Spring 2019
Beginning with the spring 2019 test administration, the revised Standards of Learning assessments measuring the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning that are administered online will include access to an online calculator from Desmos within the secure online test delivery software, TestNav.
Desmos is an online calculator that allows users to explore and learn math concepts. It can be accessed online with a computer or tablet. In addition, Desmos iOS , Android, and Google apps that allow users to access the online graphing calculator without using Wi-Fi or data are available at no cost.
Using Desmos as an embedded calculator in the testing environment creates a standardized and consistent testing platform as every student will be using the same calculator on the Standards of Learning assessment. Currently, a variety of different brands and types of calculators are approved for use on Standards of Learning assessments, and this requires school divisions and the Virginia Department of Education to regularly ensure that newly developed features are consistent, equitable, and fair for use on assessments. The transition to Desmos also will eliminate the testing irregularities that can occur when an appropriate approved device is not provided for testing or the device is not properly prepared for testing.
The Desmos graphing calculator allows users to view and manipulate multiple representations simultaneously, promoting a deeper conceptual understanding of mathematics. Desmos has features that promote student inquiry and help students understand the rich connections and complexity of mathematics. Today’s students are connected to technology through the use of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. The ability to leverage Desmos as a form of instructional technology that melds into the current ways students are accessing information can translate to higher student engagement and meaningful math inquiry.
Desmos is currently available on assessments in a number of states and is now included as an embedded tool on the calculator portion of the new digital SAT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9. The College Board has created a Student Digital Test Preview which includes the link to the Desmos graphing calculator, along with options for accessible testing features.
The 2018-2019 school year will serve as a transitional period for school division staff and students to become more familiar with the Desmos four-function, scientific, and graphing calculators.
During the spring 2019 test administration, students taking the online version of the mathematics tests based on the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning will be able to use the Desmos online calculator provided within the online test administration software and/or one of the hand-held calculators on the list of Approved Calculators for the Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments.
- Grades 4-5: Four-Function Calculator
- Grades 6-8: Scientific Calculator
- High School: Graphing Calculator
Beginning in 2019-2020, students taking the online version of the mathematics tests based on the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning will be expected to use only the Desmos online calculator during their test administration.
Desmos Calculator Features
Virginia State Testing Desmos Calculator Features
Please note that the Virginia versions of the testing calculators are different in some ways from the calculators available on the general Desmos website and apps. The online Desmos calculators (four-function, scientific, and graphing) that will be embedded into the TestNav application will emulate the capabilities of the free, public-facing version that is available on the Desmos webpage.
- State Testing Desmos Calculator Versions – National Map
- Virginia State Testing Desmos Calculator Versions – handout-This is a PDF document.
The Virginia testing calculators are different in the following ways:
- Four-Function Calculator
- No differences
- Scientific Calculator
- Students can’t define functions.
- Graphing Calculator
- Images, folders, and notes are disabled for students.
- The default angle mode is degrees instead of radians.
- Advanced functions are disabled: csc, sec, cot, arccsc, arcsec, arccot, csch, sech, coth, arccsch, arccoth, mad, cov
Handheld vs. Desmos Calculator Features
There are some differences between the functionality of Desmos and the currently approved handheld calculators. These include:
- Currently there is not a fraction button on the approved scientific handheld calculator. There is a fraction button on the Desmos scientific calculator, representing division of two numbers as a stacked fraction. Students may now use this feature as well as the division symbol to represent a fraction. This feature does not convert decimals to fractions but rather functions the same as the approved scientific handheld calculator.
- Regression equations are calculated using different methods in the Desmos graphing calculator.
- Some statistical functions are currently limited on the Desmos graphing calculator, such as Normal Distribution. The VDOE is working with Desmos to expand statistical capabilities.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams will continue to determine a student’s eligibility to use a handheld calculator other than a VDOE-approved calculator including the Desmos calculator. Currently, and for the 2018-19 school year, the student's IEP team must complete the Calculator Accommodation Criteria form-This is a Word document. to document the student's eligibility to use a handheld calculator other than those on the approved calculator list. Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, the Calculator Accommodation Criteria form will be used to determine eligibility for the use of any handheld calculator. If a student is found eligible to use a particular calculator, but the calculator has additional mathematical capabilities that the student does not require, the school division will submit a Special Assessment Accommodation Request and the completed Calculator Accommodation Criteria form-This is a Word document. to the VDOE.
The Virginia Department of Education, as part of its work to support the implementation of the 2016 Mathematics Standards of Learning, will be creating resources and webinars that include Desmos as an instructional technology tool in mathematics classrooms.The use of Desmos also will be highlighted in the 2018 VDOE Fall Mathematics Institutes.
SOL Practice Items
Mathematics practice items available in the TestNav online test delivery software will be updated in fall 2018 to provide access to the appropriate Desmos online calculator. School divisions will be notified when this update occurs and are encouraged to begin using Desmos in mathematics instruction.
Desmos provides many free, online tutorials and resources to allow teachers and students to Learn more about functions of each Desmos calculator.
- Learn Desmos: Four-Function
- Learn Desmos: Scientific
- Learn Desmos: Graphing
Additional support and user guides are available. User guides for the graphing calculator are available to provide instructional support to students. A professional development pack is available that includes notes and presentation slides to support learning opportunities for teachers and students.
- Desmos Support Topics includes:
Desmos Classroom Activities
An additional component within desmos includes a bank of Desmos Classroom Activities that allow students to collaborate and provide feedback in mathematics classrooms. Teachers can modify or create their own activities.
To find the beauty in mathematics, many students are creating art using the Desmos graphing calculator. Math and creative art examples are available.