Are you really smarter than a 7th-grader?

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ISTEP science test results mixed

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

PERRY COUNTY – Raise your hand if you think you're smarter than a seventh-grader.

OK, all of you with your hands up, explain how muscle cells in the body interact with nerve cells.

That's one of the sample questions for Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress science exams taken by fifth- and seventh-graders statewide in September.

Results released by the state Education Department last week showed Perry Central Community School students exceeded state pass-plus averages by 2 percent at the fifth-grade level and 5 percent at the seventh grade.

Sixty-nine percent of the 71 seventh-graders at the Leopold school achieved passing or pass-plus scores, 12 percentage points higher than the state average.

The 70 fifth-graders there topped the state's 64-percent rate by two points.

One hundred Tell City-Troy Township fifth-graders also bested the state rate by two points. The 127 seventh-graders who took the test matched the statewide 57-percent passing rate.

Nineteen fifth-graders at Cannelton passed, topping the state percentage by 10 points. Only one-third of the city's 24 seventh-graders who took the test passed, however.

If you answered the question above by saying nerves pass electrochemical signals via neurotransmitters and cause muscles to contract, you may be smarter than a seventh-grader.