I thought I would share the following information concerning the upcoming TJ SIS (Student Information Sheet).

A client asked me if I thought TJ would be having an essay or math problem this year (2018).  I suggested she call TJ and ask admissions directly.   She shared the following with me:

From: [deleted]
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 8:06 AM
To: TJ Admissions <tjadmissions@fcps.edu>
Subject: Essay Prompt for TJ admission


Please advise if this year’s essay prompt will be math prompt like the last two years,  or the usual essay prompt with 3700 character count, in addition to the three SIS prompts.

Is there a character count limit for math prompt?



From: Sperling, Linda S. [mailto:LSSperling@fcps.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 8:15 AM
To: [deleted]
Subject: RE: Essay Prompt for TJ admission

The only thing we can tell you is that it will be a math or science problem-solving essay with a 3700 character limit.

Linda S. Sperling

Admissions Specialist

TJHSST Admissions Office

8115 Gatehouse Road

Falls Church, VA 22042



Another parent share this note which he said went out to all the students taking the SIS.

Administration of the SIS/Essay will begin promptly at 8:00 am and we expect to be completed by 10:30 am.

Semifinalists will complete four questions for the SIS/Essay on computers at their designated site. Semifinalists will have two hours to complete all four questions. The first three questions relate to the SIS and the fourth question will be the problem-solving essay prompt.

Keep in mind the SIS problem solving question could be science based, not a math question.

This excerpt from a position paper produced by Fairfax County Association of the Gift may help you understand just what the thinking behind the changes in the SIS.  The appendix includes some science based questions.





Appendix A

Sample Mathematical/Scientific thinking questions.

1. A scientific team is interested in conducting a study on whether eating jelly beans causes pimples. You are invited to participate in how the study is designed. What would you suggest? Be sure to indicate what data you would collect. Why do you think the data you collect will allow the scientific team to assess the role of jelly beans in the formation of acne?

2. A group of scientists travels to a recently discovered isolated island where there are some strange mammals that eat different amounts according to the weather. They acquire the following data:

(enter a table of data including how much they ate of bananas, grass, and tree nuts and the weather, every day for 30 days… The data would vary in interesting ways, not always consistently)

Do you think that weather is impacting the food patterns in predictable ways? What steps would you take to validate your belief?

(Note: this could be interpreted to be mathematical, i.e. do something with the data, or scientific, i.e. maybe someone would collect more data and explain how).

3. A child doodles the following crazy figure, and then asks you to calculate its area. How would you try to approximate it?

(enter a figure that has lots of rounded parts, i.e. not something that could easily be seen to be a circle or something, but would require some approximation by other figures. The figure could also contain some repeated pieces that get smaller and smaller, to see if a student thinks iteratively).

4. A strong medication for a new and dangerous disease has some side effects: too low a dose makes the medication not very effective against the disease, and too strong a dose makes the medication effective but patients risk severe side effects. Twenty adult, male patients with similar weights were included in a study intended to find the ideal dose, and their results are recorded below. How would you go about studying the ideal dose of the medication using mathematics?

(Students could be provided with some data about disease measurements and side- effect measurements, or some charts of data, and see if the kids are able to come up with models using quadratic functions, or estimate using local linear estimators…. kids may do quite creative things!)



Good luck on Saturday!

Kate Dalby