Information About Our Online Contests
[PLEASE NOTE: Our contest system is constantly improving based on what we have learned at past contests and suggestions you have sent us (thank you to those of you who have sent helpful suggestions!), so if you have attended one of our online contests in the past, some of the procedures may have changed. As such, we ask you to please read the following carefully.]
Thank you for your interest in our online contests. We developed this system during March of 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic and quickly emerged as the only major math contest in the United States that continued operations uninterrupted. Participating in an online contest requires more work on the part of the chaperones, and we send our thanks to the chaperones who are willing to take these extra steps to support their students' mathematical development when the students cannot attend an in-person contest. This page will navigate you through the process of getting your students ready and helping them participate in the contest.
How do the contests work?
Our contests will be held in an online Zoom room, and students may take the test from any suitable physical location as long as they are accompanied by an adult chaperone who agrees to proctor the test, make sure that the student is following instructions, and help send us the student's answers when each test is over. Participants will be allowed into the room thirty minutes before testing starts. When participants arrive they will find a welcome screen and a reminder to take care of all the preparation tasks listed below in the "before the contest" section. During the first half hour mathleague.org staff will be available to help those who need technical assistance. Those who have completed the necessary steps are invited to relax and wait for the contest to start.
When it is time to start testing the contest director will explain the rules for each contest and display the timer and rules for that contest on the Zoom shared screen. When each test starts the contest director will share a PDF of the test that participants can open in a web browser. They will be able to view the file but not download or print it. We recommend that participants write their answers on the answer sheets that they printed out the day before the contest AND, for every contest other than Number Sense, to fill in the answers on the online form at the same time. Participants may switch back and forth between the timer on the Zoom screen and the PDF of the test, but are not to access any other applications on their computer while the timer is running.
After each test is over students must submit their answers immediately through the online form, except for the Number Sense test where there will be a ten minute break during which time the chaperones will supervise students as they input answers into our online form. Chaperones will also be instructed to email us an image of the students' answer sheet(s) if anything goes wrong when attempting to enter the answers online.
Once the written testing is over students are invited to stay around for the Countdown Round. Contest directors will invite certain students to compete in a head-to-head buzzer round based on their performance on the written portion of the contest. Participants will need a working camera and microphone to participate in the Countdown Round. The Countdown Round will not affect a student's overall score for purposes of awards, and the rules will be explained by the contest director prior to the beginning of the event.
Results for the contest will be posted on our website within 24 hours of the completion of the contest if possible, and in some cases we may even be able to announce the results after the Countdown Round for those who want to stick around and find out who the winners are.
Students will be able to keep their answer sheets after the contest, and all registered chaperones will receive a PDF copy of the test and solutions after all contests with this release number have concluded. We expect the same level of test security as with our in-person contests, and students are not to share their answers or discuss the questions with anyone who hasn't taken the test until all tests with this release number have concluded. Please understand that the viability of an online testing mechanism depends on the participants respecting the system and working to keep the tests secure.
How do you register?
Each contest has its own information page containing a schedule for the contest (please pay careful attention to the time zone!) and a link to register. To access the list of upcoming contests you can register for, click on the appropriate age range from any page on our website (elementary, middle, or high school) and click "events" just below that. Select the contest you want to register for and you will be taken to the information page. At the bottom of the page you will be asked to select the state or country in which your students attend school before being taken to the registration page.
On the registration page, fill in the information requested. It is particularly important to make sure you select your school name and to follow the membership link if your school does not appear on the form. It is also crucial that the chaperone listed for each student is the same adult who will be physically present with the student during testing, because we need to communicate information with them prior to the contest to help them access the files and links they will need to support the student. If you have already registered students under the name of a chaperone who will not be physically present with them during the testing, please email us at email@example.com to let us know who the actual chaperone will be. Please note that for students testing in the US, only English language versions of the tests are available at this time.
After registering, you will be taken to a confirmation page. Please save this page in case your email system blocks the automated confirmation email that we send. Click the "pay now" button at the bottom to pay your contest registration, as it is more difficult to do this later and some email systems may refuse to display the payment link we send in the automated confirmation email.
What do you need to do the day before the contest?
Each chaperone will receive a reminder email one to two days before the contest with a list of all registered students from your school, along with their payment status, confirmation number, ID number, and registered chaperone. Please review that information and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if any changes need to be made, particularly to the chaperone email address. After you have reviewed this information, please complete the following steps:
- Make sure each of your students knows their confirmation number and ID number (this will be sent to you in the pre-contest email; if you don't get that by the evening before the contest, email us at email@example.com so we can get that to you). Multiple students from the same school might have the same confirmation number, but each student will have a unique ID number.
- Make sure each of your students knows whom they will be working with on the collaborative events (this could be the Team, Power, or Relay tests depending on the contest) if they plan to do those events collaboratively. Team members should know each others' ID numbers and have a plan for how to communicate during the test; if students are not in the same room they may communicate via audio or video call using whatever app they choose. mathleague.org does not organize teams or put team members in contact with each other; this is the responsibility of the team members and their chaperones.
- Download and print your students' answer sheets at this link. Except for the Power Question at the high school level, all answers will be submitted through an online form; these answer sheets will be shared with us only if something goes wrong with the online answer submission. If you have absolutely no way to print out the answer sheets, feel free to create handwritten answer sheets. This is not ideal, but we can work with handwritten sheets if necessary.
- Click on this link to make sure you can access our test page. If you cannot access this page, you are using a Google account or device that has artificial restrictions placed on it that we cannot override. Please use a different Google account (or log out of your Google account entirely) or a different device as needed in order to access the file. We cannot troubleshoot this step for you, because we do not control what sort of restrictions have been placed on your Google account or your device, but you MUST find a way to access this page or you will be unable to access the tests on the day of the contest. We have gotten word that many schools restrict students' access to outside links when they are logged into a school-provided Google account, so it is imperative that you test this in advance and take any corrective action that is necessary on your part.
- Click on this link and enter your student's last name, event number, and ID number exactly as they were sent to you in the pre-contest email, then click submit. There is no need to select a test, just click submit. The event number is a four-digit number embedded in the URL near the top of the email, right after the characters "event=". Note that if the pre-contest email has your student's name spelled or capitalized incorrectly, this is because our system simply records the names exactly as they were entered by the person who registered for the contest; you must replicate the last name exactly as it appears in the email or the verification will fail. Once your information has been correctly submitted, you will reach a page that says your information has been verified. You will take these steps again the day of the contest to access our online submission portal. If you encounter any difficulty, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you before contest day.
- Decide how you will capture images of your students' answer sheets if necessary (remember you will only need to do this if you cannot enter your scores online, but you should be prepared just in case). If you have a scanner attached to your computer, that is the best way to capture the images; scan the pages at 300dpi grayscale and save them as a PDF. If you don't have a scanner, feel free to use an app on your phone that will allow you to take a picture and save it as a PDF; we recommend the free CamScanner app because CamScanner will allow you to trim the edges of the image and align the image so it looks like a scanned page.
What do you need to do the day of the contest?
A link to the online meeting room will be sent to the email address of each student's chaperone of record about 15 minutes before the room opens; please email email@example.com if this link is not received by 10 minutes before the time the room is scheduled to open. You will be admitted to the room at the designated check-in time; do not email us before that time asking why we won't let you into the room. Please follow these instructions to get set up for the meeting:
Participants are to refrain from any public chatting throughout the contest unless specifically invited to chat by the contest director. Any public chatting will be grounds for dismissal from the contest. Students are also not to talk to anyone at their testing location while the timer is running unless they are talking to their teammates during one of the collaborative rounds.
- Make sure all students you are chaperoning are present and ready to go and that every student has their own computer that is connected to the internet. The computer must have a camera and each student and their surroundings must be visible on camera while testing so we can monitor them just like at an in-person contest (in particular, students may not use an artificial background). Please note that if you try to use something other than a computer (such as an iPad or a phone), you run the risk of using a device that is designed to turn your camera off when you switch apps, and this will place you in violation of the rules and subject to disqualification from the contest.
- Please go through the steps above once more to verify that you can access our test page and log into the online data entry system.
- Make sure students have answer sheets, pencils, calculator, and scratch paper.
- On each student's computer, click on the invitation link to the meeting room, and turn on the student's camera and join with computer audio. Make sure the student's microphone is muted. Start the chat window and test your sound and video with the tools Zoom provides.
- Make sure the student's name is listed correctly in the participants list; you may use the "rename" feature in Zoom if necessary to ensure that this step is done.
- Find the setting in Zoom that allows you to "raise your hand" and do this once you have completed all the steps above. This is how we know you are ready to begin the contest. You will be able to see a blue hand icon next to your name when you have done this successfully.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help. We will do our best to help as many people as we can, and those of you who followed the instructions above and got everything taken care of in advance have our thanks. Just like washing your hands and social distancing, these actions will flatten the tech support curve so we can help everyone who needs help.
Students will be given instructions for each test and then a link will be posted in the chat window allowing students to open the test itself. As soon as the link is posted students may access the test and begin working. As a chaperone your job is to monitor the students during the test to ensure they are complying with the rules. DO NOT interact with any student while the test is running or you will disqualify the student from that test. Maintain a suitable distance where you can observe but not disturb the student while the test is going on.
Students will write their answers on their answer sheets during the test and, for all tests except Number Sense, will simultaneously indicate their answers in our online data entry form. After each non-Number Sense test is over, have the students submit their answers through our online data entry form immediately once the timer hits zero. After the Number Sense test, the contest coordinator will give instructions for typing the student's answers into our online data entry form and will allow time to do this. Please pay attention to these instructions and follow them promptly.
If you are unable to reach the confirmation page after clicking to submit your answers, please capture an image of each answer sheet page that the student has submitted. If you are capturing Number Sense tests, please remember to capture both pages if the student has answered questions on both pages. Email the image file(s) to email@example.com within the designated time with the word "HELP" in the subject line, and include the last name and ID number of the student (or the team captain if it is a collaborative round) and the name of the test (eg. target12). It will be helpful if you also include a description of the problem in the body of the email.
The students will be given a break after each round is over. Students are expected to be back in their seats and ready to take the next test when the break is over.
What happens after the contest is over?
After the Zoom meeting ends, the contest directors will ensure that all submitted tests have been scored and will post the results on our website. As the results are posted, an automated email will be sent to the chaperones. This email will contain a link to a post-contest survey, information about how to access the results and score reports, and a link to information about prizes.
Note that some scores and rankings could change in the few days after a contest as we uncover and correct any scoring errors. Please remember that we do not post negative scores online, so a missing score on the public results does not mean that your student's test was not graded. Also remember that there are multiple ways to qualify for the next level, so a qualified student showing up lower in the individual totals than your student does not mean that we have made a mistake in calculating the qualifiers. If you have thoroughly read the qualifying rules and feel that we have calculated our list of qualifiers incorrectly, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know exactly which rule your student should have qualified under and include numerical data to back up your appeal.
You should also email us if you feel we have graded any items incorrectly; you will need to download a score report and let us know exactly which question numbers you feel have been graded incorrectly. We will only correct grades where an obvious grading error has been made; if there is anything about the student's answer that might cause a grader to be less than completely sure that the student answered the question correctly, the grade will stand.
You will be sent a PDF of all the contest questions and solutions after all students have taken this test and after all AfterMath sessions for this test have concluded.
If you have students who have qualified for the next level of competition (District, State, National, or International Championships), you will be sent an invitation prior to that contest. However, you do not need to wait for this notification to sign up for the Championship round if it is already posted on our website. If the Championship round that your students have qualified for is not already scheduled on our website, please be patient as we work to finalize our schedule for the year. If your school would be interested in hosting a Championship round, please let us know.
Remember we offer practice materials and classes on our website to help your students prepare for contests. Practice materials can be purchased at http://mathleague.org/store.php and you can sign up for classes at http://mathleague.org/classes0.php.