Calculator Policy for the 2005–06 School Year

The TI-89 handheld instrument is more than a graphing calculator, such as the TI-83+ or TI-86. It can perform symbolic algebra and symbolic calculus like the TI-92. Unlike the TI-92, it does not have a QWERTY keyboard and is in fact housed in a case very similar to others in the TI-8x series. The TI-89s started arriving in the Math and Science Center classrooms in October 1998. Usage policy has been formed as follows, based on the following major considerations.

Note: the TI-84+, TI-84+SE, and TI-89 Titanium were new fall 2004. No associated policy changes have been needed.


  1. The TI-89 "calculator" does not have a QWERTY keyboard, but performs symbolic algebra/calculus like the TI-92 which does have a QWERTY keyboard. Historically, this difference was used to distinguish between allowed and disallowed electronic devices.

  2. The TI-89 will be allowed during 2005–06 on the MMPC, AMS-10, AMS-12, and the MML contests. (The AMCs will not allow the TI-92.)

  3. The AP Calculus (and AP Statistics) tests of May 2006 will again allow the TI-89 for those portions of the test allowing a calculator. The AP Calculus test has two equally weighted parts: multiple choice and free response. Each half is further divided into a calculator and no calculator portion. The free response portion that allows calculators is heavily graded on the written set-up and application of the calculator not on the resultant answer. Calculatorese is graded harshly.


  1. All students with a TI-89 or similar device must make known its presence in the classroom. We will gladly record the serial number as we already do with graphing calculators.

  2. The TI-89 and similar symbolic devices will not generally be allowed on any test or quiz except in our AP Calculus (or beyond) courses.

  3. The TI-89 and TI-92 are not to be used for homework, chapter reviews, or other similar activities, except for those problems specifically specifying use of a symbolic utility. Just as we expect you to be able to do basic arithmetic without a calculator, we expect you to be able to do basic algebra/calculus without a TI-89.

  4. Since one of the goals of the AP Calculus course is to prepare students for the AP Calculus test, the pattern of a no calculator/calculator portion will be implemented not only for the final test in May, but also any other test or quest.

  5. Students with TI-89's or similar symbolic devices should be prepared to use a graphing calculator on contests and test portions disallowing use of a symbolic device. Please bring an allowed calculator, if possible, since we have very few to loan.

  6. On classroom test portions where a TI-89 is allowed, a TI-92 will also be allowed.