→ Statistics → Fa15 ME50 → Use a TI-89?
Updated 26 Aug 2015

Can I Use a TI-89 for Statistics Class?

Copyright © 2003–2015 by Stan Brown

Summary: The TI-83 is the official calculator of statistics class, but what if you already have a TI-89? This page explains the pluses and minuses. (“TI-89” includes the TI-92, TI-92 Plus, and Voyage 200, which have similar capabilities.)


Can your TI-89 do the calculations?

Probably, but you’ll need to check. Several years after they started making it, TI changed the firmware but didn’t change the model number. Therefore, recent TI-89s can do statistics, but older ones can’t (though most can be upgraded). Here’s how you can find out whether yours can do statistics:

  1. Press the [APPS] key.
  2. Select Flash Apps from the menu.
  3. Select Stats/List Editor.
  4. Press [2nd] [F6].

If you get a long menu beginning Z-Test, you have the statistics module.

If your TI-89 can’t do statistics and you want to upgrade it, you have two choices:

While the later-model TI-89 can do all the statistics of the TI-83 and even a bit beyond, the keystroke sequences are completely different. You’ll need to download and refer to TI’s online manual, a 200-page PDF file. (TI has the bad habit of moving pages around, “to better meet your needs”, with no redirection from old URLs. I have given up trying to offer a current URL here. I advise you search for “statistics with list editor”; once you find it look for a link to “guidebook”.)

Is your TI-89 the best choice for this class?

If your TI-89 can do the statistics (as tested above), I have no objection to your using it in MATH200 instead of a TI-83. (If you’re taking the course from another instructor, be sure to ask his or her policy.) However, you should be aware of a couple of issues:

If you’re not planning to take other TC3 math courses, and if you’re a techno-geek like me and like reading equipment manuals and figuring out things, then you might be okay; one student used a TI-89 successfully in a Fall 2002 class of mine and another in Summer 2007. But understand that you’re taking a risk. If you’re at all nervous about the extra work, and doing without the support systems that other students will have, then you should stick with the TI-83 or TI-84.

About the only reason not to get a TI-83 or TI-84 is the cost. That’s certainly a factor, but you can get creative. Ask around: maybe somebody’s got one you can borrow for the semester, or you can arrange a swap for the semester with a student in MATH202 or later.

If you do have to buy a TI-83 or TI-84, you have options. Wander the halls looking for signs put up by people selling theirs. Check prices at local retailers, particularly around Labor Day. Check price-comparison services on the Internet.

The bottom line: If you possibly can, use a TI-83 or TI-84 for the class. Statistics is hard enough for most students, without the extra work of learning a new calculator on your own. But if you really want to use your TI-89, you may.

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