Canyon Crest Academy recently placed second in the 2012 Team Scramble, a national mathematics contest administered by National Assessment & Testing (http://www.natassessment.com).

Coach Brian Shay prepared students for the first major team competition of the academic year, on which students worked furiously as the entire school raced to answer 100 problems in a variety of mathematical topics in just 30 minutes. With so many questions and so little time, competitors needed not only strong mathematical skills, but also the ability to quickly decide which problems to solve and which to skip, as well as how to allocate the test questions amongst themselves to maximize their school’s score. This year, the top 25 scores ranged from 41 to 86.

One of the best things about the large-team format of the Team Scramble is that it allows for the inclusion of interesting-but-time-consuming problems that cannot appear on most other math competitions. Some of this year’s more complicated problems were one about the height of a pile of beach balls, a logic problem in which five suspects were known to have each made exactly one true and one false statement, and a question about missing values of a data set with certain relationships between its mean, median and mode.

Not resting on their laurels, Canyon Crest Academy will participate in National Assessment & Testing’s 2012 Ciphering Time Trials on Dec. 13 and the 2013 Four-by-Four Competition on Jan. 31. Each of these contests features ten rounds in which students have three minutes to answer problems, but the first requires students to work individually on three problems per round, while the second allows teams of four to tackle four problems in each round.

National Assessment & Testing administers high-quality mathematics competitions for high schools by e-mail. Their contests cover a variety of formats, including individual and team tests, as well as a variety of difficulties, from an easier 100 problems in 30 minutes to a more complicated 15 problems in one week.