The CMS is looking for assistance from the Canadian mathematical community in marking the Canadian Open Mathematical Challenge (COMC).  The number of students writing the COMC has been growing and we are currently looking for additional marking partners to help with the influx of exams.  The Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge (COMC) is Canada’s premier national mathematics competition open to any student with an interest in, and grasp of high school math.

Current marking partners are:

  • BC – University of British Columbia
  • Alberta – University of Calgary; MacEwan University
  • Saskatchewan -University of Saskatchewan
  • Manitoba – University of Manitoba
  • Ontario – University of Toronto and York University (York marks our international papers)
  • Newfoundland – Memorial University
  • New Brunswick – University of New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia – Dalhousie University
  • Quebec – École Polytechnique
  • PEI – University of Prince Edward Island

We would like to involve more universities in Canada to become official marking sites in order to accommodate the growing number of students. The CMS can tailor the number of exams an institution may want to mark.

What does being a partner entail?

The exam is typically written on the first Thursday in November and the CMS ships out all COMC materials to the writing centres. The schools are provided with a return postage envelope which would go to the Marking Lead designated by the university. Marking Leads recruit volunteers such as faculty members, PhD’s, grad students and strong undergraduates to help with the marking. Once the exams have been received (roughly November 10-15) they need to be scanned into Crowdmark which is our collaborative online grading and analytics platform.  Markers can be assigned to grade an exam, with Part A and Part B questions taking on average less time because full marks are assigned when the correct answer appears.  The data on the front page (student name, email, etc) needs to be entered into a database. This can be done by anyone.  The Marking Lead provides access to the tasks by entering the name and email address of the individual on the Crowdmark page.   On average, it takes 6.96 minutes (0.116 hours) to grade an exam.  Once the exams are received, your team has roughly 15 days to mark the exams, and enter the metadata information. We like to have the preliminary marks back to teachers before the Christmas break. Since the marking platform is online, your volunteers don’t have to be in one place to mark the exams. Once the exams are marked and the grades are entered, CMS will select the top 200+ exams from across the country and have them vetted to see who will go on to write the Canadian Mathematical Olympiad (CMO) and to receive public recognition for their efforts.

By being a marking partner, your university will receive a list of all the top students in Canada to use to offer scholarships or recruitment. We will feature your logo on our COMC website and include your logo on every exam that goes to your province.

CMS would like to accommodate the increase in the number of students writing the COMC competition and give them the chance to represent Canada at the International Mathematical Olympiad. If you are interested in this opportunity or would like to discuss this further, please contact the COMC committee chair or the CMS Competition team.

Dr. Robert Woodrow
Chair of COMC Committee
Canadian Mathematical Society

Dr. Termeh Kousha
Executive Director
Canadian Mathematical Society