I've been preping for the ACT and I looked at the 'prohibited calculators' list and I saw it said "No calculators with QWERTY keyboards" I made a Google search but couldn't find anything useful, I also searched on Cemetech and found a topic for the SATs possible reason for banning these calculators: "(presumably so people can't type out the exam questions to bring out of the exam with them)". If that really is the reason, I find that really stupid. I can copy the exam just as well with my ABCDEF keyboard as I could with a QWERTY keyboard. Has the reasoning improved? If not, is this the same reason for the ACT?
I guess calculators with a QWERTY keyboard count as computers, at least I read that on some ACT site
timedia wrote:
I guess calculators with a QWERTY keyboard count as computers, at least I read that on some ACT site

That seems reasonable.

But aren't all calculators technically computers?

If I recall correctly, there are numerous computers using the Zilog Z80, which is used by the CSE, the 84+, The 83/83+, etc.
Well, there are relatively few calculators with qwerty keyboards, and all the ones I can think of off the top of my head have computer algebra systems. I feel like that might be the reason they are banned. It makes a bit of sense because people generally know what a qwerty keyboard is, so they can look for that. If instead, they only banned CAS, then people might not know what that is, and end up bringing the wrong calculator. Also, there are very few non-CAS qwerty keyboard calculators out there, that it might not be worth the extra effort to ban just the right calculators, and risk confusing people even more.
I'm in college here in Canada, and my specific college only allows a certain list of calculators, rather than try to ban certain groups. None of these are graphing calculators.
Concordia University wrote:

ENCS approved calculators list
Casio FX-100S
Casio FX-220
Casio FX-250HA
Casio FX-250HC
Casio FX-260 Solar Fraction
Casio FX-270W
Casio FX-270W Plus
Casio FX-280
Casio FX-300ES
Casio FX-300ES Plus
Casio FX-300MS
Casio FX-300W
Casio FX-350ES
Casio FX-350ES Plus
Casio FX-350HA
Casio FX-350MS
Casio FX-350TL
Casio FX-350TLG
Casio FX-500A
Casio FX-500ES
Casio FX-82 Super
Casio FX-82AU
Casio FX-82ES
Casio FX-82ES Plus
Casio FX-82L
Casio FX-82LB
Casio FX-82MS
Casio FX-82SX
Casio FX-82TL
Casio FX-82W
Casio FX-83ES
Casio FX-83MS
Casio FX-85ES
Casio FX-85MS
Casio FX-85W
Casio FX-911W
Casio FX-92 College
Casio FX-92 College III
Casio FX-92 College New +
Casio FX-95
Casio FX-95MS
Sharp EL-509A
Sharp EL-509D
Sharp EL-509G
Sharp EL-509H
Sharp EL-509LH
Sharp EL-509RH
Sharp EL-509VH
Sharp EL-510R
Sharp EL-510RN
Sharp EL-513W
Sharp EL-515
Sharp EL-520L
Sharp EL-531A
Sharp EL-531G
Sharp EL-531H
Sharp EL-531L
Sharp EL-531LH
Sharp EL-531P
Sharp EL-531R
Sharp EL-531RH
Sharp EL-531V
Sharp EL-531VH
Sharp EL-531W
Sharp EL-531WH
Sharp EL-531X
Sharp EL-531XG
Sharp EL-531XT
Sharp EL-W531 Write View
Sharp EL-W535 Write View
Sharp EL-W535X Write View
Sharp EL-W535XG Write View
I donít get why they ban qwerties but not nspire Cas, the nspire is more powerful than the voyage and the 92
timedia wrote:
I donít get why they ban qwerties but not nspire Cas, the nspire is more powerful than the voyage and the 92

I've actually gone back and checked the policy on calculators for the ACT.
Of course, the ti-92s, voyage 200 and ti-nspire CX CAS are banned.
It appears my though process might've been incorrect, because they do prohibit calculators with CAS functionality, but they also prohibit letter keys in qwerty format. They specifically state that letter keys not in qwerty format are permitted. This suggests that they specifically don't want qwerty keyboards, rather than some 2nd level motive.
That being said, I honestly don't see why qwerty keyboards alone (on a non-CAS calculator) would be an issue.
AFAIK, calculators like the ti-74 or ti-95 don't offer any real advantage over a programmable non-cas scientific calculator, which are explicitly permitted.
Interesting, I wonder who would use a four function if they permit graphing though Very Happy
timedia wrote:
Interesting, I wonder who would use a four function if they permit graphing though Very Happy

I would.

I don't normally use a four-function calculator, but sometimes the test material does not warrant a graphing calculator. Using a four-function calculator adds to the challenge since you only have basic operations and a single memory slot, so you must think through your calculations more carefully. It is also nice to have a back up calculator sometimes.
It wouldn't be considered a four-function calculator if it were capable of more than four functions, but the term 'function' really only counts if the function would normally be found on a scientific or graphing calculator; including tax calculation functions would still classify it as a basic calculator, but including trigonometric functions would not.

As for the original question, the rules were written when there was a much larger divide between graphing calculators and computers, and one of the hallmarks of a computer is a full keyboard (as a computer is generally capable of word processing). PDAs were considered closer to computers, and certainly not education-oriented technology (in fact their purpose is mostly to store notes, something specifically avoided in testing environments), so those were also disallowed on exams.

The rule against full keyboards was to keep devices like the HP LX200 out of exam rooms, since handheld computers with full 8086 processors and DOS were fairly popular around the time graphing calculators came about. Math exams are a test of the mathematical capabilities of the student, not their ability to perform data entry into a computer. Regulating the capabilities of calculators preserves this.

When the TI-92 was introduced, it was also TI's first calculator with a CAS, and TI marketed it as a product for schools which could not afford computers and math processing software for each student; it was a device to bridge the gap between computer and calculator. If you look at its capabilities compared to TI's other graphing calculators of 1995 (TI-80, TI-81, TI-82, TI-85), it's pretty clear they were well aware it wouldn't be accepted on standardized tests, and took advantage of this to offer some pretty slick features you'd normally need a computer for. The TI-89 came later following some miracles in miniaturization, and was intended to be a more portable TI-92 (+ Plus module) in a familiar form factor.
Wow that HP calculator looks really outdated
timedia wrote:
Wow that HP calculator looks really outdated

Well by today's standards it's outdated. The calculator came out in 1994. Wink

And thank you CVsoft, that answers my question! Though I still think it's a pointless ban. Razz
Me Too, that ban really is not intelligent, what can you do with a TI 74 that you can't with a TI Nspire CX
Not really very much. But that's like asking what you can do with a Palm Pilot 1000 that you can't do with a Samsung Note 8. The scope of graphing calculators has shifted greatly since 2002. The rule nowadays is quite arbitrary, but it's serving a purpose.
The Palm Pilot 1000 does one thing better then the Note 7, it doesn't explode Wink
timedia wrote:
The Palm Pilot 1000 does one thing better then the Note 7, it doesn't explode Wink

He said note 8, and the whole exploding note 7 thing was blown way out of proportion, in total, it only affected about 1000 phones. Samsung got a very bad rap for a very small thing, that would barely qualify as a mistake imo.
As for the rules, I can see how the HP LX200 and other small DOS capable devices that don't quite fit in any other category might be in a bit of a gray zone without the QWERTY rule, and presumably, they had some instances where students brought those in and regulators were confused. In that sense, it makes sense, and of course, since those devices do exist (no matter how uncommon), then the rule should stay. Even though it has the problem of being a little too broad and ends up including some calculators that have no reason being banned.
Also, looking strictly at the rules, the QWERTY rule is the only one that prohibits the use of home computer systems like the TRS-80, or the TI-99/4A, although a little unwieldy and cumbersome to carry into an exam Laughing
I honestly wonder who would be desperate enough to carry in a home computer system
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