Nebraska Academy of Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, Volume 2 (1973).


Copyright 1973 by the author(s).


The Annual High School Mathematics Examination, now in its twenty fourth year, is a joint project of The Mathematical Association of America, the Society of Actuaries, Mu Alpha Theta, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and the Casualty Actuarial Society. In Nebraska additional sponsors include the Nebraska Academy of Sciences and the Nebraska Actuaries Club.

The examination is conducted by regional contest chairmen in both the United States and Canada. More than 350,000 students in more than 6,000 high schools participate in the contest.

Questions on the Annual High School Mathematics Examination are prepared for the versatile, imaginative student. Although superiority in the subject is required for a student to do well on the examination, the condition is a necessary but not a sufficient one.

About one-third of the contestants in Nebraska and South Dakota had participated in one or more of the previous examinations, some as many as three times.

Coefficients of correlation computed between the Annual Mathematics High School Examination and the Scholastic Aptitude Test of the College Entrance Examination Board are of the order of 0.40 with Verbal Ability and 0.60 with Mathematical Ability (data available upon request).

Students who score relatively low on mathematics achievement rank low in the contest. However, students who score high on achievement do not ipso facto rank high in the contest. It is, of course, intended that the purpose and the structure of the contest examination should be different from that of the achievement examination.

The subject-matter contained in the Annual High School Mathematics Examination includes materials from elementary algebra, plane and simple coordinate geometry, intermediate algebra, and trigonometry. Questions pre-judged to be more difficult are weighed more heavily than the "easier" questions. Questions on the 1972 Examination together with an indication as to difficulty for three groups of students are shown in an appendix. The three groups of students are:

Group I: Top 100 Contestants in Nebraska and South Dakota

Group II: Team Members in Nebraska and South Dakota (3 per school: N = 522)

Group III: All Contestants from Nebraska and South Dakota (N = 6,158)