Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction


Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Germain-McCarthy, Yvelyne

Second Advisor

Gill, Ivan

Third Advisor

Thoreson, Claire

Fourth Advisor

Santanilla, Jairo


This mixed-method study investigated the impact of graphing calculator use on high school calculus students' reasoning skills through calculus problems when applying to concepts of the definite integral and its applications. The study provides an investigation of the effects on reasoning when graphing calculators are used, since it is proposed that, through reasoning, conceptual understanding can be achieved. Three research questions were used to guide the study: (1) Does the use of the graphing calculator improve high school calculus students' reasoning ability in calculus problems applying the definite integral? (2) In what specific areas of reasoning does use of the graphing calculator seem to be most and least effective? and (3) To what extent can students who have used the graphing calculator demonstrate ability to solve problems using pencil and paper methods? The study included a quantitative, quasi-experimental component and a qualitative component. Results of the quantitative and qualitative analysis indicate that (1) graphing calculators had a positive impact upon students' reasoning skills (2) graphing calculators were most effective in the areas of initiating a strategy and monitoring progress (3) students' reasoning skills were most improved when graphing calculators were used together with the analytic approach during both instruction and testing and (4) students who used the graphing calculator performed equally as well in all elements of reasoning as those who used pencil and paper to solve problems.


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