This free option can be used during tests.

By Blake Bakkila
May 15, 2017

You can now get your next graphing calculator at the App Store.

Desmos, a San Francisco-based startup, offers a free graphing calculator program that can be accessed on smartphones and computers. Last Monday, Desmos announced its partnership with Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a state-led association that works to develop exams in the Common Core education system. Together, the two brands built their free calculator, which was specifically designed for students who are blind and visually impaired, according to a Smarter Balanced press release.

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Committed to helping students learn and love math, the program also blocks any distractions from other apps. After downloading the Desmos app, students can use the calculator without an Internet connection. And with more assessments being administered online, teachers and administrators can embed the calculator into the test. This eliminates the need for a physical calculator, which can cost over $100.

“We think students shouldn’t have to purchase this old technology that predates the internet,” Desmos founder Eli Luberoff told Bloomberg, referencing handheld calculators made by companies like College Board-approved Texas Instruments Inc. “This market is shifting. A monopoly is crumbling.”

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Smarter Balanced, which oversees standardized testing for middle- and high school school students in 15 states, will provide the program to all of its members this fall. The “fully accessible calculator” will be available for the 2017-18 school year, but some students and teachers are already starting to use the program.

Desmos was founded in 2011 and has been backed by Pearson Plc, the world’s largest education company, as well as The College Board, which runs all SAT and Advanced Placement tests.

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