The DT-HSM tests and yields a score for each of the 20 different competencies required for success in high school math. Some of the 20 areas tested by the DT-HSM are:
- Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division of Common Fractions and Mixed Numbers
- Solving Algebraic Equations
- Setting Up Equations
- Word Problems
- Probability and Statistics
The format of the DT-HSM was chosen based on several considerations. First, it would increase the reliability of the scale scores, since score reliability tends to be proportional to the number of answer choices. Second, it would reduce the score that would be expected if a student was merely guessing. Third, it would reduce the feasibility of "working questions backward" (i.e., trying each answer to see if it satisfies the conditions of the question). Fourth, it mimics the effect of "open-response" questions on many state-wide tests.