If Ben Hazelgrove is the envy of his Bainbridge Elementary School classmates, it probably isn't because of his cool hair or his trendy shoes. Instead, the jealousy of his fellow fourth-graders can be attributed to his perfect math score on the ISTEP.
"It was pretty easy," the 10-year-old said of his perfect score on the standardized test he took last fall. "I already studied it in math bowl, so I knew most of the stuff."
The scores for the test administered to grade school students throughout the state were recently reported, and his showed that out of 670 math questions, he answered 670 correctly.
However, finding himself at the top of the class is really nothing new for Hazelgrove.
"I usually get A's," he said.
Principal Dean Cook said the school has plans to let Hazelgrove study math at a sixth-grade level next year.
"We let him take the fifth grade post-test, to see what areas we would need to go over with him, and he scored perfect on that too," Cook said.
Although the Indiana Department of Education will not allow Hazelgrove to advance to another grade on the ISTEP, Cook said he would find other ways to continue to test Hazelgrove so that teachers can better know what skills he needs to develop.
"He moves along at his own pace," the principal said. "His teacher checks his work and any areas that he needs help on, the teacher goes over the lesson again. But there is really very little teaching involved with him. He is self-taught and picks it up very fast."
Hazelgrove admits he has his classroom teacher Richard Lyons and math bowl coach Katie Lewandowski to thank.
"He helped and gave the time to go over the lessons," he said of Lyons.
He was happy to make parents Ann and Don Hazelgrove proud, "They said good job," he said.
However, his proudest moment may have been when he saw the reaction from his classmates.
"They were jealous," he said.
He also had some advice for students wishing to improve their scores on the ISTEP.
"Study and pay attention to your teacher," he said.
While Cook said it is not uncommon in a school of several hundred students for one child to achieve a perfect math score on the ISTEP, he has not seen it happen for several years.
"We just can't find any weaknesses at the elementary school level," he said of Hazelgrove. "His logic is unbelievable. He is kind of a prodigy."
For Hazelgrove, the achievement sets a goal for future tests.
"I want to do better next time," he said, faltering a little as he realized he already scored perfectly. "Well, I want to do it again."