The Herald Bulletin

May 31, 2013

All Highland eighth-graders pass state algebra exam

Honors students set precedent, get leg up on high school courses

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — It doesn’t take a math whiz to know that a 100 percent pass rate in test scores is as good as it gets. But it does take math skill to reach that 100 percent.

For the first time, 100 percent of Anderson Community Schools eighth-graders who took the state’s Algebra I End of Course Assessment (ECA) have passed the exam.

There were 70 honor students at Highland Middle School this year who took the test. Many students don’t take the ECA until high school.“I think it’s a fantastic achievement,” said their teacher, Bob Windlan. “I’ve taught for 35 years and hit the high 80 percentile range but never 100 percent. It’s quite an accomplishment.”The students, with the lessons Windlan taught and the work they put in, said it really wasn’t that difficult.Eighth-grader Haley Hunt said a few of the questions were hard. “But for the most part it was easy,” she added. “We were taught all of this.”Wesley Erny said he too knew most of the subject matter because they’d “reviewed a lot” in class. Windlan said they began working on packets of problems, along with regular daily work, in late February for practice. The exam was given in April.He attributed part of the success to plenty of drilling and reviewing, noting that “repetition is key.”Principal Kelly Durr said Windlan consistently challenges the students to get them to improve. “Kids like the high-ability students need that challenge,” she added.Secretary Vicki Vanderbur told the story of a student who had moved to Illinois a few weeks ago. The student was back at the Highland building recently and asked to see Windlan because the student was struggling in math at his new school and wanted advice.Assistant Superintendent Beth Clark was at the school Wednesday morning to congratulate the students and told them they’re the “shining stars” of their class and Highland.She added they’ll have a “jump start on everybody else” as they head into high school next year, beginning Algebra II or geometry while the other students take their Algebra I ECAs. Find Dani Palmer on Facebook and @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.