As we announced earlier this year, TAME’s Divisional and State STEM Competitions are evolving to better meet the needs of our participants. One big change that you’ll see in competitions this spring is the new individual test format. Here’s our FAQ for the new test format:
How will the new tests be structured? Instead of the twenty-three different tests we currently offer, only seven individual tests will be offered at each competition. The tests will be administered by grade level and will combine math and science, including questions from both subject areas. Few students will know all of the material presented, but the tests will be a comprehensive assessment of knowledge and skills and will provide a solid baseline for measurable growth.
How will students know which test to take? Each student will take the test that corresponds to his or her grade level. For example, all seventh grade students will take the seventh grade test.
How many questions are on the tests? Each test will contain 40 math questions and 40 science questions. The questions will range in difficulty from easy to very challenging.
What material will be covered on the tests? All tests will be comprehensive and grade-level appropriate. Material will cover both core and elective subjects in math and science offered for each grade level across the state.
The majority of questions on each test will address material typically covered at the grade level for which it is offered. However, all middle school tests will include material from grades 6 – 8, and all high school tests will include material for grades 9 – 12. Few students will be familiar with all of the material on their test.
How much time is given for the test? Students will be given 75 minutes to complete the test.
How will the tests be graded? The grading remains the same as the previous testing format. Tests will be graded on answered questions only. There is no penalty for unanswered or incorrect questions. In the event of a tie, the tie will be broken based on the first incorrectly answered question.
Will only first-place finishers be invited to the State STEM Competition? The first-place finisher in each exam will receive an automatic invitation to the State STEM Competition. Since there will be fewer first-place finishers than under the previous format, design challenge finishers and other high-performing students may also be invited.
When will the new tests replace the old tests? The new tests will be offered at Divisional and State Competitions starting in the spring of 2017.
What study materials are available for the new tests? Practice tests will be available on the TAME website here at the beginning of January 2017.
Will the Engineering Design Challenge change too? The popular Engineering Design Challenge will remain as a primary component at each STEM Competition.
Is it true that Divisional and State STEM Competitions will be retired after 2017? Starting in 2018, Area STEM Competitions will be offered at multiple locations across Texas. Each of these events will be a one-day event, with students traveling a maximum distance of 4 hours. These Area Competitions will replace the Divisional and State Competitions, which will be retired after the 2017 competition season.
Why are these changes happening? TAME has grown by leaps and bounds, expanding our programs to 14 active regional chapters and counting. We now have an unprecedented number of schools wanting to participate in the STEM Competitions. This is a great problem to have; however, we need to scale our program to address the growing numbers of participants. Read more about the upcoming changes and how they will improve participants’ experience here.
We’re excited for this next era of STEM Competitions, and as always, we welcome your feedback. Contact the TAME State Office if you have any questions.