2016-2017 CAD


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This policy applies for all competitions held in California.

I. Decathletes May Use Calculators for the Mathematics Test

If competitors wish to use calculators on the Mathematics Test, they are responsible for bringing them to the test.  Calculators will not be provided for decathletes who do not bring their own.  Calculator use is permitted only for Mathematics; competitors will not be allowed to use calculators on any other test.

CAD no longer requires decathletes to clear the memory of their graphing calculators. Teams will be required to submit a roster that lists the student and the type of calculator, including all back-ups, s/he will be using in competition.

Permissible Calculators

If a competitor wishes to use a calculator, it can be a basic, four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator, provided it has none of the features listed in Prohibited Calculators. Decathletes that are found guilty using a prohibited calculator will be disqualified from competition for that year.

Prohibited Calculators

Calculators with any of the following features are NOT allowed in CAD competitions:

  • pocket organizers
  • hand-held or laptop computers
  • electronic writing pads or pen-input devices
  • models with an alphabetic (QWERTY) keypad, e.g. TI-92 or HP-95
  • models with paper tape
  • models that make noise
  • models that can engage in wireless communication (transfer data or information with other calculators)
  • models that require a power cord
  • models with CAS (computer algebra systems), e.g. TI-89
  • NOTE:  USAD has approved the TI-Nspire calculator so long as it does not have the (CAS) stamped on the back side of the machine.

Because companies are continuously introducing new products, it would be impossible for CAD to maintain an up-to-date list of specific model numbers that possess these features.  If a competitor is uncertain whether a particular calculator will be allowed, the student should bring a backup that does not possess any of the features in question.  No backup calculator will be provided for any competitor whose calculator is disallowed.

Competing without a Calculator

Competitors may opt to take the Mathematics Test without a calculator; however, CAD is suggesting competitors use a basic, scientific, or graphing calculator for solving the trigonometry test items.

Calculator Failure During a Test

If a competitor’s calculator stops working during a test, the student should continue taking the test without a calculator.  No additional calculator will be provided, and the competitor will not be allowed to take the test again later. However, as noted in Section III above, a competitor may bring a backup calculator and/or spare batteries to the test. Decathletes are prohibited from using multiple calculators during a test (i.e., a backup calculator can only serve as a replacement for a calculator that stops working).

Calculator Use Form

Teams advancing to the state championship will be required to submit a Calculator Use Form. Check with your Regional Academic Decathlon Coordinator to confirm whether the Calculator Use Form will be required for local competition.

Send all comments or questions to ken@academicdecathlon.org