Information About Our Online Contests
[IMPORTANT NOTE: Even 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. This page was last updated August 23, 2021]
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.
If you would like to participate in a live demo of our online contest system, please sign up for one of the Zoom meetings below. Each demo will include a walkthrough of the entire online contest process minus the test questions themselves so you will feel more comfortable with the process on the day of the contest. We will answer as many questions we can and help make sure everyone can log in, position their cameras properly, and submit answers through the online form.
How do the contests work?
How do you register?
What do you need to do the day before the contest?
What do you need to do the day of the contest?
What happens after the contest is over?
How do we ensure test integrity?
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 ensure that the student's answers are sent to us 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 link 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. The contest director will give a password that students must enter in order to access the test questions and answer form. Participants fill in the answers on the online form and are encouraged to also write their answers on the answer sheets that they printed out the day before the contest. Writing the answers on the answer sheets is helpful in case something goes wrong and the online form does not get submitted properly.
After each test is over students must submit their answers immediately through the online form. Participants will be provided with specific instructions to follow if anything goes wrong when attempting to enter the answers online; as long as these instructions are followed exactly our staff will assist the participants and ensure that their test gets graded.
At most contests, once the written testing is over students are invited to stay around for the Countdown Round or other interactive activity. If there is a 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 (usually the top students in certain states and/or certain grades). Participants will need a working camera and microphone to participate in the Countdown Round. The interactive activity will not affect a student's overall score, qualification status, or awards eligibility, 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 interactive activity 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, and we expect all participants to do their part in this regard.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know who the actual chaperone will be. Please note that for students testing in the US, we cannot guarantee the availability of tests in any language other than English 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.
The email address(es) you provide when registering will be added to a Google group specific to your event number. This email group will be used to communicate with you about the contest. You may expect to receive four specific emails from us during the weeks before and after the contest; be sure to email us at email@example.com if you do not receive any of these emails in a timely fashion (you may need to check your spam or promotions folders and adjust the necessary settings if the emails do not show up in your inbox):
- A pre-contest email 24-48 hours prior to the contest reminding you of the details of the contest;
- An email about an hour prior to check-in for the contest with the Zoom link that you will use to log into the meeting;
- A post-contest email once results are finalized notifying you that the results are ready and giving you further instructions about how to download your score report, check your championship meet qualification status, and claim any prizes you may have won;
- An email within 1 month of the end of the contest with a PDF copy of the tests, answers, and solutions for the contest.
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 . After you have reviewed this information, please make sure each of your students knows their confirmation number and ID number (you were given this information when you registered; if you have lost this information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 and enter your student's last name, event number, and ID number exactly as they were sent to you when you registered, then click submit. There is no need to select a test, just click submit. Note that if the contest registration 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 email@example.com 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 an hour before the room opens; please email firstname.lastname@example.org if this link is not received by 45 minutes before the time the room is scheduled to open. You will be admitted to the room at the designated check-in time; please do not email us before that time asking why we won't let you into the room.
Make sure every student you are chaperoning has a separate device such as a computer or laptop that is connected to the internet and has a keyboard where students can type their answers. Each student should open an internet browser, navigate to mathleague.org/online, and complete the instructions there, paying special attention to the instructions for positioning their camera. Students and chaperones should also listen to and follow the directions given by mathleague.org staff during the event.
Students who are testing alone should log into Zoom either on their computer or on a separate device (be sure to download the Zoom app onto the phone or tablet if you have not already done so). Have the student 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. Test your sound and video with the tools Zoom provides.
If multiple students are testing in the same room, they can either follow the instructions above or the chaperone can set up one Zoom-connected device and position the camera so that all students in the room can be seen on the camera. For instance, if a teacher is chaperoning students in a classroom, each student will need a computer with a keyboard and internet connection but they do not all need to be connected to Zoom. The teacher may instead connect to Zoom through one computer as long as students can see and hear the Zoom meeting and the camera can capture an image of all the students in the classroom.
Participants are to refrain from any public chatting throughout the contest unless specifically invited to chat by the contest director. Any public chatting at forbidden times 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.
Students will be given instructions for each test and then a password will be announced allowing students to 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 may 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 fill in the answers on the online form and should also write their answers on their answer sheets as a backup in case anything goes wrong with the online submission process. After each test is over, have the students submit their answers through our online data entry form immediately once the timer hits zero.
When you reach the confirmation page indicating that your answers have been submitted and showing you what your answers were, please save a copy of that page for reference. This will be particularly helpful if you wish to challenge the grading of any of your questions after the contest. Please note that if you do NOT save this page you will have no proof that you submitted answers or what your answers were, and you will have no standing to object to any scoring on that test.
If you are unable to reach the confirmation page after clicking to submit your answers, you will be given very specific instructions by the emcee and must follow these exactly. You will need to raise your hand to indicate that you are having difficulty, then you will be sent to a breakout room where one of our staff members will explain what you need to do in order to have your test graded.
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 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 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 email@example.com 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, and you need to be prepared to submit documentation verifying which answers the student submitted prior to the submission deadline (this is why it is so important that you follow the instruction above about saving a copy of your answer submission). 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.
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. You can also sign up for the Number Sense Challenge, a one-hour session every Thursday night where students take a test and watch a lesson on how to do some of the problems, at http://mathleague.org/nschallenge.php.
How do we ensure test integrity?
Please understand that we take pride in having by far the most thorough online test security measures of any contest in the world, and many of you have told us you appreciate the high standards we hold all our students to because it makes our results more reliable and valid than the other contests. Just because our events are online doesn't mean we have to compromise our principles, and we will not tolerate any participants who attempt to bully us into accepting late tests or otherwise breaking our rules. Those rules are effectively promises we make to all the students who flock to our contests because of our commitment to integrity, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We promise that we will always vigorously defend the right of our rule-abiding students not to have their results tainted by any hint of an unfair advantage given to other students.
Running an online contest is not without its challenges, and please understand that if we make a mistake we will do what we can to correct the error with a priority of making sure no student is disadvantaged by our error. If a problem occurs on your end, whether due to failure to follow the instructions, or computer problems on your end, or anything else, we cannot accommodate you in a way that would provide an unfair advantage to your students. 99.9% of our participants have no problem following the rules and appreciate that we enforce them carefully, but occasionally we get requests to bend the rules from participants who failed to follow the instructions - showing up late to the contest, not submitting answers on time, and so forth. Just like we could not allow exeptions at an in-person contest if someone arrives late or does not turn their test in on time, we must hold firm to the rules at our online contests as well.
Those of you who attend our contests regularly will notice that our contest system is constantly improving based on what we have learned at past contests and suggestions we have received. We have a lot of mechanisms at work both publicly and behind the scenes to make sure our testing process is not compromised. While we cannot divulge all the proprietary details of our internal test security processes, participants will notice several public-facing security features such as mandatory Zoom registration, mandatory camera usage, mandatory chaperone presence, restricted communication between students during the test, and login procedures that ensure students cannot submit answers outside the designated window or sabotage another student's answer submission. We have additional enhancements planned and are always open to suggestions for how we can further improve our system; just understand that some suggestions we receive cannot be implemented for technical or policy reasons, and we may not be at liberty to explain the rationale behind some of our test security decisions.
While we do everything we can to maintain a secure testing environment, we cannot be physically present in every student's home to ensure there is no inappropriate activity. As such, we rely on the chaperones to be as committed to test security as we are and ask that they help monitor the students during testing to verify that the students are following all the rules. If you as a chaperone are unwilling to take this responsibility seriously, please help your student find a chaperone who is willing to work with us to ensure a fun, smooth, and secure contest for everyone.