What Kind of Math Is on the HSPA?

by Lynda Schwartz, Demand Media

The High School Proficiency Assessment, or HSPA, is a New Jersey Department of Education exam that tests student knowledge of mathematics and language arts literacy. During the math portion of the exam, you will encounter questions on geometry, algebra, data analysis and numerical operations. The exam tests a student’s eleventh-grade knowledge of both subjects, and a passing grade ensures the student's graduation after his senior year.

Number and Numerical Operations

The number and numerical operations questions of the HSPA exam look at your ability to solve numerical equations using real world tools including estimation, a computer, a calculator or pencil and paper. You will encounter fractions, exponents and operations using real numbers in a variety of equations and breaking down complex equations into simpler forms. You must have a firm understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with the type of numbers encountered in the real number equations listed earlier.

Geometry and Measurement

During the geometry and measurement portion of the HSPA, you will find questions relating to geometric shape properties, including volume and perimeter. Brushing up on formulas that find perimeter, area and volume, such as the Pythagorean theorem, is vital to your success on this section of the HSPA exam. You should also practice determining the perimeter and volume of unequal polygons. Throughout these sections, you will encounter multiple choice questions and questions that require you to sketch your answer.

Patterns and Algebra

In the patterns and algebra portions of the HSPA, you will find questions relating to solving linear equations, functions, and patterns and procedures. The patterns section uses both numerical and alphabetical strings that require you to notice and assume the continuation of the given pattern. In addition, pictorial patterns add a third level of patterns. You will encounter both multiple choice and open-ended questions in this section.

Data Analysis, Probability and Discrete Mathematics

This section requires knowledge of fractional probabilities, graph properties and percentages. Like the section's name implies, you will figure out probabilities based on given information. The majority of the questions in this section are multiple choice and others require you to show all your work on your answer sheet. Failing to show all work will void the answer, and it be marked as wrong. Like all sections, word problems will come up that require you to decipher the data from a small paragraph.

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About the Author

Lynda Schwartz is a fitness professional who began writing in 2004. She has contributed to "Women's Day" and "Good Housekeeping" magazines, as well as covered fitness and well-being for online publications. Schwartz holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science and health promotion.

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