What are the best calculators for studying statistics at A-level?
We learn a lot from our conversations with teachers at Casio, including what it’s like for students to navigate the GCSE and A-level maths curriculum.
One of the insights we’ve heard from education experts is that having access to the right tools becomes particularly important when students are expected to demonstrate deeper understanding of statistics at A-level.
This can be a challenging topic, especially for those sitting higher-tier papers, so the more support students can get as they prepare for and sit their exams, the better.
The right calculator is an indispensable tool for displaying, analysing and understanding statistics, so students should be aware of the different options available to them.
An advanced scientific calculator is the minimum requirement for students who have achieved the necessary grades at GCSE and want to go on to study A-level maths.
A device such as the Casio fx-991CW – the most advanced model in the new ClassWiz range – offers a range of functions that encourage exploration of statistics, including 1-variable tables and bi-variate data support.
In the calculator’s Distributions menu, students can access normal and binomial distributions. The ‘Normal CD’ and ‘Inverse Normal’ functions, in particular, are likely to prove highly useful in A-level maths exams.
However, when students are working at greater depth and feel ready to go further in their study of statistics, they could gain a lot from using a calculator with more extensive functionality.
This is where graphic calculators can really show their value.
The fx-CG50 is the most advanced graphic calculator in Casio’s range. It has a number of features that make it a powerful tool for working with statistics, including the capability to:
- Import data
- Plot charts
- Calculate regression statistics
- Calculate single-variable statistics
You can use the calculator in the classroom to take a set of data and visualise it in the form of pie charts, bar charts, histograms and box plots, all of which will be drawn for you.
It’s also possible to access summary statistics for any set of data entered into the device, calculate correlation coefficients and a lot more.
This diverse functionality, combined with the option to display and analyse statistics in a more visually engaging way, can be a big help to A-level maths students just getting to grips with this topic.
We recently spoke to James Davis, Head of KS5 Further Mathematics at Newstead Wood School, who stressed how valuable it can be to use graphing technology when studying statistics.
He also underlined the importance of giving students a lot of time with the fx-CG50, so they can feel completely comfortable using it before going into their A-level maths exams.
“If they have been using the fx-CG50 from the word go at the start of year 12, which my students have been, they have gained excellent skills and know how to get the best out of the calculator in an exam scenario,” James said.
The Casio fx-CG50 is a powerful tool to help students deepen their understanding of statistics and realise their full potential in exams.
However, we understand that the prospect of adopting graphing calculator technology to study A-level maths can be somewhat daunting, not just for students but for teachers as well.
That’s why we offer various forms of support and dedicated resources to make adoption of the fx-CG50 as straightforward as possible.
You can access free training that provides an introduction to the device, led by qualified teachers and focused on a specific aspect of the A-level maths curriculum.
Casio also offers loan sets, which means you can do a trial run of the fx-CG50 in the classroom with your students before going ahead with a purchase. You can request one here.
In the future, we’re planning to expand our range of support with new initiatives including monthly Topic Deep Dives and student-focused workshops on getting the most out of the fx-CG50.
To find out more about the support we offer or to discuss your school’s technology needs, just contact us.