More than twice as many high-school students took part in this year’s North American maths contest ‘who wants to be a mathematician’, following its switch to a digital format. As part of the makeover, Maplesoft, which has been sponsoring the competition for several years, donated its testing and assessment tool, Maple TA, to administer the tests online, saving significant time and money for the organisers.
More than 2,000 students from over 150 schools participated in the contest this year, double the previous number, as it moved for the first time from pen-and-paper to a digital format.
The contest is organised by the American Mathematics Society (AMS), as part of its public awareness programme. Maple TA was made available to every student that participated. Students took an online test that was supervised by a teacher and the tests were graded automatically by the software. Students scoring 80 per cent or above moved on to the second round, which was also administered using Maple TA. Ten students have been chosen for the semi-finals, and two will qualify for the finals at the Joint Math Meetings in January 2014.
Custom test questions were created in Maple TA, which were accessed by students from a server hosted by Maplesoft and the software allowed the instructors to assess student responses and performance automatically. Maple TA supports the use of standard mathematical notation in both the question text and student responses, but it also allows free-response questions, including questions that have more than one correct answer.
The company’s involvement with the competition was part of Maplesoft’s year-long activities to support and encourage the use of maths amongst high-school students and young adults, in celebration of the company’s 25th year of incorporation. ‘Encouraging the study of maths amongst youth and young adults, and providing the technology tools to aid in those studies, is a mission we have chosen to highlight in Maplesoft’s 25th anniversary year’ said Jim Dell, Vice President, Marketing.