Math Olympiads score big in competition; Berwick sixth graders in top tenth percentile

Posted June 14, 2011, at 12:29 p.m.

BERWICK, Maine — Twenty-three sixth graders from Eric L. Knowlton Elementary School scored in the top tenth percentile in this year’s international Mathematical Olympiad’s competition, with one student receiving a perfect score for the year.

Mathematical Olympiads is an international competition in which students in grades 4 through 8 complete five tests throughout the school year. Each test is worth five points and the student’s final score is the culmination of the five exams, which are five questions each.

The highest point total that can be earned is 25.

Questions on each of the tests involve computation as well as problem solving abilities.

This year, the team’s final score was 209, which was calculated through adding the top ten student’s scores. This score landed the sixth graders into the top tenth percentile in the competition out of 4,743 teams and 105,947 enrolled participants in fourth, fifth and sixth grades from every state and 24 foreign countries.

The team received a plague for their accomplishments, one of only 399 teams to do so.

One student in particular, sixth grader Nico Doucette, finished the year with a perfect score of 25. Nico is one of 52 male students in the entire fourth, fifth and sixth grade enrolled students who received a perfect score and one of 72 enrolled students in the world to receive the honor.

“I like math because I’m good at it,” said Nico, who said he was really nervous for the last test.

Nico received a gold coin for his perfect score. According to math teacher and Math Olympiad team organizer Eugene Bowken, Nico is only one of three students in the entire 15-year history of Math Olympiad at Knowlton to receive a perfect score.

Nico’s sixth grade team met once a week for an hour to practice their problem solving skills.

“These kids are just brilliant,” said Bowken. “They are going to go places.”

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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