High School Talent Search Contest in Mathematics
Dear Curriculum Coordinators, Teachers and Students,
In an effort to go green, minimize mailings and to make the test more
accessible to students, the Talent Search Tests will not be mailed to
schools but the tests will be posted on the Vermont Coalition
The Talent Search is an opportunity for students to challenge
themselves mathematically outside of a classroom, and we encourage
participation from any student who is interested in mathematics.
Although the problems are designed to be challenging even to the best
students, it has been our experience that the longer students
participate, the more problems they can do on subsequent tests.
Furthermore, we will note that last year, solving fewer than half of
the problems would still have allowed a student to place in the top
If these are not already sufficiently good reasons to participate, we
also have a few other incentives:
- Each year from eight to twelve top ranked students are awarded gift
certificates and other excellent prizes. These students are honored
at a dinner to which they and their parents/guardians and a high
school math teacher are invited.
- Students may be invited to attend, free of charge, the week-long
Governor’s Institute in Mathematical Sciences at the University of
- The prize-winning students are also invited to be members of the 15
student team that represents Vermont at a national mathematics
competition held each May on the campus of Penn State University.
The Talent Search Contest and the Awards Dinner are sponsored by the
Vermont State Mathematics Coalition. The VSMC is also actively
involved in organizing and staffing the Governor’s Institute in
We are asking teachers to give students at your high school the
opportunity to participate in the Talent Search Contest. This
includes students of all grades who have an interest or aptitude for
mathematics and are willing to tackle some challenging problems. We
also try to reach all homeschooled students. Please keep this contest
in mind for any home-schooled students that you may know.
RULES FOR THE TALENT SEARCH CONTEST
- Students in all Vermont high schools (as well as middle schools
and elementary schools) are eligible for participation in the Talent
Search Contest. Each student who wishes to enter the Contest should
submit solutions to as many of the problems as possible.
- The work of each student is expected to be her/his own. Students
should not consult with other students, teachers, parents or other
individuals or internet sources about solutions to problems or for
hints on solutions. A student's signature on the paper testifies that
the rules have been followed.
- For problems that require a numerical answer, you will be awarded
full credit for a complete correct answer with adequately supported
reasoning. Partial credit will be given for correct answers having
insufficient justification, numerical approximations of exact
answers, incorrect answers with substantially correct reasoning,
incomplete solutions or proofs, or proofs with logical errors. For
solutions relying on computer assistance, all such computations must
be clearly indicated and justified as correct. The decisions of the
graders are final.<.li>
- Creativity, ingenuity, and clarity are encouraged.
- Answers to problems should be in simplified form. Final answers
such as 8/4, 892, 7-3 and 2cos60º would not be satisfactory. In cases
when there is a question as to what is "most simplified",
then alternate answers will be accepted, i.e., 7/2, 3 1/2, and 3.5
are all acceptable.
Note to Teachers: In several high schools, there are teachers
who require that their students submit entries in the Talent Search
Contest. If you expect your students to turn in an entry as a
homework assignment, we are asking you, before the papers are mailed,
to look at what your students have turned in to you. Please submit
the papers of only students who have made a good faith effort to
write or demonstrate their solution of any problem they have