Maplesoft is a long standing supporter of the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician contest for high school students. For years, we have donated Maple as prizes to winners of the national and regional contests.
This year, being the 25th anniversary of Maplesoft’s incorporation, the company decided to support several projects that encourage the use of math amongst high school students and young adults. We dedicated a bigger budget towards projects that would enable us to make a significant impact on students and impress upon them the need for math and science in their future careers.
One project we undertook this year is giving an extreme makeover to the Who Wants to Be a Mathematician contest! With Maplesoft as a “Technology Sponsor”, the contest that was administered on pen-and-paper moved to a digital format. We donated our testing and assessment tool, Maple T.A. to administer the tests online, making the software accessible to every student that participated. This meant the students took an online test, and were automatically and instantly graded using Maple T.A.
The 2013 competition is underway, and the results are extremely positive:
- The number of students that participated in the contest doubled this year, with over 2000 students from over 150 schools participating.
- The competition introduced a second level of tests, making the competition more rigorous. After the first elimination round, eligible contestants moved to a second round with questions of increased difficulty levels.
- By avoiding much of the paper work and manual corrections, the organizers saw significant savings in time and money.
Custom test questions were created in Maple T.A., which were accessed by students from a server hosted by Maplesoft. The simple and easy to use interface of Maple T.A. enabled the students to take the test without spending time learning the tool. Maple T.A. supports the use of standard mathematical notation in both the question text and student responses. Maple T.A. also allows free-response questions, including questions that have more than one correct answer.
Who Wants to Be a Mathematician is a math contest for high school students, organized by the American Mathematical Society (AMS), as part of its Public Awareness Program. Ten students will be chosen for the semifinals and two will qualify for the finals to be held at the Joint Math Meetings in January 2014.
More information about the contest that is currently in progress can be found on the AMS website.