Math Kangaroo is an annual competition for students in grades 1 – 12 that encourages students in mathematics through interesting math problems in a short test format along with positive rewards. For the first time, in 2021, Compass’s Herndon learning center will serve as an in-person testing site for the annual Math Kangaroo exam.
Math Kangaroo has its roots in a popular math competition started in Australia in the 1980s The idea was borrowed and re-envisioned in France in 1991 where the competitions was named “Kangourou Sans Frontiéres” (Kangaroo Without Borders), in a nod to its Australian origins. The contest came to the US in 1998 via a private academy in Chicago. Several years later, the US competition had grown, and early organizers founded Math Kangaroo in USA, a not-for-profit charity organization. Today, more than 6 million students from 76 countries take the annual test. Representatives from around the world work together to select the problems for the international Math Kangaroo tests.
General Contest Details
Eligibility From the Math Kangaroo site, “All students grades 1-12 qualify for participation in Math Kangaroo if they are able to work independently, read, and answer a multiple choice test.” Students do not have to be enrolled or affiliated with Compass or homeschooled in order to take the Math Kangaroo test at the Compass site. As a public testing site for Math Kangaroo, Compass welcomes students from public, private, or parochial schools, virtual academies, hybrid schools, and homeschooling.
Levels/Content Students should register for the Math Kangaroo level that corresponds to their grade in school, by age, without grade-skipping or acceleration. A 15 year-old taking Precalculus in school should the 10th grade-corresponding Level 10 exam. Math problems included on the Math Kangaroo exam cover a range of applied math skills such as spatial relationships, patterns, logic/reasoning, puzzles, and other math challenges. The test does not include straight, rote computation, and calculators are not allowed.
Test Format/Scoring The Math Kangaroo test is 75 minutes long, regardless of level. Students in grades 1-4 received 24 questions, and those in grades 5-12 have 30 questions. For scoring, 1/3 of questions are 3 points each, 1/3 are 4 points each, and 1/3 are 5 points each. The sum of earned points is the student’s result. The maximum possible score is 96 points for levels 1-4 or 120 points for levels 5-12.
Recognitions All students receive a t-shirt, certificate, and small gift. Top-scoring students in the national pool receive medals by grade level. For example, if the highest score in Level 6 was 117 points, all 6th grade students earning 117 points would earn a gold medal. All students earning the next highest score, say 116 points would earn a silver medal, and those earning the 3rd highest score would earn a bronze medal. Students who earn the three highest scores in their state are placed on a State Winners list and receive blue, red, and white ribbons. The national and state winners are awarded with the Certificates of Ranking and gifts such as books, games, gift cards, toys, college grants and mathematical summer camps. All t-shirts and small gifts are awarded the day of the test. Medals, ribbons, and advanced prizes are distributed through Compass and will be presented at a spring awards ceremony.
Practice Suggestions The Math Kangaroo website includes many sample questions and practice resources.