ACS New York Section
2008 Annual Report
Stephen Z. Goldberg
Professor of Chemistry, Adelphi University
2008 Olympiad Coordinator
report on the 2008 Olympiad takes the same form as my reports on the 1999-2007
Olympiads, although in 1999 and 2000 these were called preliminary reports.
This report summarizes some of the most important items pertaining to the
2008 Chemistry Olympiad and makes some comparisons with Olympiads for the
period 1999-2007. In 2003 additional tables giving detailed information
indicating the high schools that participated and the distribution of students
among the testing sites were included for the first time. Also included
for the first time in 2003 was a table showing those schools which participated
in 2002 but not in 2003. Similar tables are included in this report.
A table indicating the dates at which schools registered for the Olympiad
was included for the first time in 2004. That practice is continued
here. In this report, some information previously provided about
the National Exam as part of the running text is now given in tabular form.
Nationally, approximately 11,000 students took the local
exam. In the New York Section a total of 393 students from 56 different
high schools registered to take the local exam. The local exam was
scheduled to be administered on March 1 (9 sites) and March 2 (3 sites).
These sites and the site coordinators are listed on page 9. Of the
students who registered, 326 actually took the exam. The percentage
of registered students taking the exam was 83.0%. The high score
on the exam was 57 (perfect score = 60), the low score was 13. The
average score was 37.23, with a standard deviation of 11.35. The names,
schools and scores for the students scoring 51 or above on the local examination
are given on page 10. The National Exam was administered at two locations,
Purchase College of SUNY on Saturday, April 12, and Adelphi University on
Sunday, April 13. Based on the size of the New York Section, 20 students
were allowed to continue to the National Exam level. Prior to 2005
the section had been allowed only 19 students.
Of the 868 students who took the National Exam 100 students
attained honors and 50 attained high honors. These numbers were
established by the national ACS. Of the 20 New York Section students
who took the National Exam six obtained honors and one obtained high honors.
As compared to 2007 more New York students were recognized with honors or
high honors, but fewer of the recognized students obtained high honors.
Anna Chithelen, the one student who obtained high honors, was invited to
attend the Study Camp.
A summary of performance of New York State participants for the
National Exam is included here:
2001 2002 2003 2004
2005 2006 2007 2008
Number of students
19 18(1) 20(2)
20(3) 19 20(2) 20(4)
54 58 56
Low Qualif. Score
(1)Although New York was entitled
to 19 participants one student did
not show up for
the National Exam.
(2)Since one student from the
previous year had attended the Study Camp
we were entitled
to one additional slot for the National Exam.
(3)There was a problem involving
the citizenship status of one student, and
as part of the resolution
of this problem the national office granted us one
for the National Exam.
(4)As a result of a reapportionment
from the national office of ACS the section
was allocated 20
slots for the national exam.
The following are my most important recommendations. They are
based on my ten years of experience as the Olympiad Coordinator.
(a) In addition to the Olympiad coordinator, the section should
have an Olympiad publicity committee so that the event can be better publicized
in local and school media. (This recommendation has been made in
each year since 1999 but has not been implemented.) The lack of such
a committee was particularly important in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007,
and again this year, since in each of those years one of our students
qualified for and attended the National study camp in Colorado Springs.
(b) The 2000 recommendation that registration forms should include
a space for identifying the gender of each student has been adopted and
this greatly assists the coordinator in the preparation of correspondence
to students. It was also recommended in 2000 that it would be helpful
if the registration form had a space to indicate whether or not each student
is or will be U.S. citizen by the date of the National Exam. This
has not been done due to lack of space, but perhaps the form can be reformatted
to accommodate this information.
(c) Answer sheets for the local exam should not be purchased
from the ACS. ACS answer sheets were used in 1999, but the Scranton
device available could only be used for the first 50 questions. The
final 10 questions had to be hand graded. Since 2000 we have purchased
500 of the 882-ES Scantron answer sheets directly from Scantron Corporation.
Not only was the cost less than the cost for a smaller number of answer sheets
purchased from ACS, but we were able to machine grade and analyze all 60
questions on the exam. This practice should be continued.
(d) There continues to be extensive use of the Sunday sites.
Students taking the local exam on Sunday do not do so solely for religious
reasons, but also because of the proliferation of special Saturday programs
for students. This year the Saturday date was also the date of the
SAT exam, and therefore the Sunday sites were used much more extensively
than in the past. An additional Sunday site, the Horace Greeley School in
Chappaqua was used. As recommended in the past, we might also wish
to have additional Sunday sites in Manhattan and/or Suffolk.
(e) The Staten Island site, which we first used in 2001 as a
replacement for the Hudson County site, is still sparsely used, but should
be retained if possible. We should continue to work to encourage
more students from Staten Island and Hudson County to participate in the
Olympiad. There has been some modest interest in again having an additional
site in Hudson Country.
(f) The use of Queens College in Queens provides good geographical
distribution of sites. We should continue to include a Queens test
site for the local exam.
(g) The adoption, in 2001, of a policy that permitted schools
to register up to six students per registration form, but also permitted
a school to register up to twelve students by submitting two registration
forms and two registration fees (although as a single check) has worked very
well. This policy should be continued.
(h) Although one person, the coordinator, should be responsible
for receiving and distributing materials it is important to have a standing
committee to which the coordinator can turn if s/he has policy issues
to deal with. This recommendation, which was made previously, has
not been implemented.
(i) The registration fee was raised from $20 in 1999 to $25 in
2000. The fee has remained $25 since then. Part of the reason
for raising the fee was to provide funds for small gifts to the site coordinators
and the laboratory technicians. No policy on gifts has been established.
As a result, gifts were not purchased in either 2000 or 2001. Some
recognition of the time and effort expended by the site coordinators and
the laboratory technicians is most appropriate. In 2002 I purchased
Olympiad pins from the national office of ACS and sent them to the site coordinators
and laboratory technicians as a token of appreciation. In 2003 I again
purchased pins from the national office of ACS. Additionally I sent
a bouquet of flowers to Maria Reichlin-Fishkis, the lab tech at Purchase
College of SUNY. In 2004 periodic table pens were given to the site
coordinators, national exam proctors and lab tech personnel. Consideration
should be given to other ways of how we might show these people our appreciation.
In 2005 no gifts were given to the site coordinators, but flowers were sent
to Maria Reichlin-Fishkis. In 2006 and 2007 no gifts were provided
to either to Maria Reichlin-Fishkis or to the coordinators. For 2008
no gifts were provided to the site coordinators, but flowers were sent
to Maria Reichlin-Fishkis (out of pocket expense by S. Goldberg).
(j) The department of the Olympiad coordinator provides
stationary, phone and fax facilities as well as some secretarial support.
Since the Olympiad usually generates some net income, it might be appropriate
to provide a modest monetary reimbursement to the coordinator's department.
Alternatively a book might be purchased and donated to the coordinator's
department or school library. This recommendation, made previously,
has not been implemented.
(k) This is a recommendation based on experience in 2002.
It is recommended that each site coordinator review the local exam prior
to the date it is administered. If any typographical errors are found
that information should be conveyed to the Olympiad coordinator so that
all sites have the same set of corrections which need to be made.
Additionally the Olympiad coordinator should communicate any errors that
have been discovered to the ACS Olympiad.
(l) In 2002 an experimental national policy permitted as many
as three students from a single high school to take the National Exam was
considered to be an experiment. In 2003 the previous policy allowing
a maximum of two students from any school was reinstated. The New
York Section should work to have the experimental policy reinstated and
(m) For 2003 the Board of the New York Section authorized the
payment of a stipend of $50 to graduate students who proctored the local
exam. This policy has been continued. There should be clear guidelines
regarding under what circumstances proctors should be used and how many
proctors should be at any site.
(n) The registration fee adopted in 2000 remains adequate to
cover the expenses associated with the Olympiad, but the Board might consider
increasing the fee. Another option is to have a surcharge of perhaps
$5/registration for schools which register after the official close of
registration. In 2006 one third, and in 2005 more than half the schools
registered after the official closing date. In 2007 a larger percentage
registrations came in before the registration deadline than in previous
years, only 9 registered late. In 2008 only 7 schools registered
late. See Table 2 on pages 16-17 for a listing of the dates
(o) Once again, in 2008 information about the Olympiad, including
registration materials and directions to all test sites, was available via
a link on the home page of the web site of the New York Section. This
should be done each year. It is not recommended at this time that
schools be able to register via the web site, but web based registration
is something we might wish to consider.
3) Local Examination Sites:
All the sites from 2007 were again available for 2008.
Additionally, as a result of the local examination being given on the same
day as the SAT there was a request that we have a Sunday testing site in
Westchester. Mr. Richard Goodman of the Horace Greeley School offered
to serve as a site coordinator and administer the test at his school.
The site drew a large number of students and we should continue to use it
if it remains available to us.
4) National Exam
Both Purchase College of SUNY and Adelphi continued as National
Exam sites. Like 2000, 2001 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 but unlike
2003 there was a highly uneven distribution of students between the two
National Exam sites. Six students took the National Exam at Purchase,
and fourteen students took the National Exam at Adelphi. The distribution
was not totally the result of religious or geographic considerations although
these factors were important in some cases.
Students who take the National Exam are often involved in
various programs that meet on Saturday mornings. We might reconsider
the value of giving the National Exam on both Saturday and Sunday.
An alternative would be to administer the National Exam only on Sunday
at one or two sites. Given the geographic range of the section the
use of two sites would be better for the students. The use of one
site is simpler in terms of organization. Since both Purchase and Adelphi
have been National Exam sites for quite a number of years it is probably
appropriate to look to see if other institutions could serve in this capacity.
Although there is no reason to believe that either Adelphi or Purchase
will not be available as National Exam sites for 2009 it cannot be assumed
that they will continue in this role indefinitely. The requirements
for a National Exam site are a laboratory facility capable of accommodating
20 students and lab technicians to prepare the equipment and chemicals.
Registration fees were received from 56 high schools, generating
an income of $2075. Expenses of $2044.37 are summarized on page
11. The net income for the event was $30.63. As was the case
since 2003, but not prior to that, the total given for expenses includes
the cost of printing and mailing the original invitation to schools to
participate in the Olympiad. The expenses for the January 2008 printing
and mailing was $670.64; the same expense in 2007 was $475.14. For
2006 the cost was $637.35. Since 2006 the cost of the printing and
mailing have been obtained directly from the section office spreadsheets.
In 2003 the board of the New York Section, at the request
of Lesley Davenport, authorized the payment of stipends of $50 to graduate
student proctors. This practice has been continued. It has been
longstanding practice at NYU for the exam to be proctored by a graduate
student. The exam at Queens College was also proctored by a graduate
student. Also, as was first the case in 2003, money was allocated
to cover the costs of a laboratory assistant at Adelphi. In 2003 $200
was provided to Adelphi, but since 2004 and again this year, a payment
of $100 was made directly to the student assistant. In 2008 the student
assistant was Jonathan Roy.
of the 1999-2008 Olympiads:
This section, which had been section 6 in reports up to and
including that for 2003, was moved in the 2004 report. Since that
report, and now, it is section 10 (see pages 7-8). Because the comparison
now extends over ten years the page must be printed in landscape format,
and it is for this reason that the section has been moved.
report continues the practice introduced in the 2003 report of including
supplemental tables. The four supplementary tables are:
1) Table 1 (pages 13-15) lists the participating
high schools and the number of students each
and the each site.
2) Table 2 (pages 16-17) lists the dates on which
schools registered for the Olympiad
3) Table 3 (pages 18-20) lists the number of students
registered for each site and how many
students were registered
at each site by each high school. This table also contains totals
for comparable data
4) Table 4 (page 21) lists those high schools
which participated in the 2007 Olympiad but
which did not participate
in the 2008 Olympiad.
In addition to thanks for the help and support provided by
the coordinators at the test sites, I would like to express my special
thanks to Blanche Crawford, secretary of the Chemistry Department at Adelphi
for her administrative assistance; to Virginia Briguglio of Adelphi for
her assistance in the grading and analysis of the local exams; to Stuart
Close of Ossining High School for proctoring the National Exam at Purchase
College of SUNY, and to Maria Reichlin-Fishkis (Purchase) and Jonathan Roy
(Adelphi) for their help in setting up and dismantling the laboratory portion
of the National Exam. Richard Goodman of the Horace Greeley School
was a first time site coordinator.
9) Passing the
I have served as the Olympiad Coordinator since 1999 and
as a National Exam proctor for two years prior to that. I have found
the job to be time consuming but also extremely interesting and rewarding.
I have saved all my computer files (WordPerfect 8) pertaining to the administration
of the event and correspondence with students and teachers. Additionally,
at the suggestion of the NY Section Board in 2001 I maintain, or at least
try to maintain, an activity log of what is involved in coordinating the
Olympiad. The log and my computer files would be helpful to the next
Olympiad Coordinator, and I would be happy to work with that person and
share the knowledge I have gained over the past ten years. At the
Board meeting in September 2003 Ron D’Amelia volunteered to learn what is
involved in coordinating the event. Each year, beginning with the
2004 Olympiad he has been copied on most of the correspondence involved and
this practice was continued in 2008. I really do enjoy being the Olympiad
Coordinator and would be willing to continue in that role if the Section
would like me to do so. If I continue as the Olympiad Coordinator I
will work even more closely with Ron next year.
10) Comparison of the 1999-2008 Olympiads:
Number of schools
Students taking local exam 253
Percentage taking local exam 78.1
Std. Deviation in Avg.
$1750.00 $1875.00 $1675.00 $2350.00
$1029.02 $1197.73 $2348.53(4) $1992.00(4) $1750.56(4)
$ 106.93 $ 742.62
$ 845.98 $ 477.2 $
1.47 $ 133.00
$ 549.44 ($
Number of schools
Students taking local exam
Percentage taking local exam
Std. Deviation in Avg.
(1) In 1999 and
2000 registration was limited to six students/school. In 2001 schools
could register up to six students for a $25 registration fee, or up to twelve
students for a $50 registration fee. Of the 50 schools registering
students in 2001, 25 schools registered six or fewer students and 25 schools
registered 7-12 students.
(2) Of the 53 schools registering students in 2002, 39 schools
registered six or fewer students and 14 schools registered 7-12 students.
Of the 64 schools registering students in 2003, 34 schools registered six
or fewer students and 30 schools registered 7-12 students. Of the
60 schools registering students in 2004, 36 schools registered six or fewer
students and 24 schools registered 7-12 students. One school, Lawrence
High School registered twice, since two teachers each registered two students.
Thus, in the financial summary it appears as if there were 61 schools but
in fact there were only 60 different schools. Of the 67 schools registering
students in 2005, 42 schools registered six or fewer students and 25 schools
registered 7-12 students. Of the 60 schools registering students
in 2006, 30 schools registered six or fewer students and 30 registered
7-12 students. Of the 62 schools registering students in 2007, 30
schools registered six or fewer students and 32 registered 7-12 students.
However, because of the confusion at the St. John’s site in 2006 I gave
the Mary Lewis Academy the right to register up to 12 students for $25.
(3) Of the 56 schools registering students in 2008 30 registered
six or fewer students, 25 registered 7-12 students, and Horace Greeley
school, by special permission registered 15 students.
(4) For 2003 the total expenses include the cost ($509.93) of
the bulk mailing of approximately 1400 pieces to announce the Olympiad to
the high schools. This cost had not been explicitly included for previous
years and that should be taken into account when comparing expenses and
net incomes. Also the cost of materials for the laboratory portion
of the 2003 National Exam was considerably higher than in previous years.
For 2004 the cost of the bulk mailing was $468.44. For 2005 the cost
of the bulk mailing was $443.61. For 2006 the cost of the bulk mailing
was $637.35. In 2006 the laboratory portion of the National Exam cost
$196.52 which was also greater than in most years. For 2007 the cost
of the printing and bulk mailing was $475.14. For 2008 the cost of
the printing and bulk mailing was $670.64
2008 CHEMISTRY OLYMPIAD TEST CENTERS - SATURDAY, MARCH 1, 2008
Mr. Jonathan Wedvik
School South 845-624-3475
31 Demarest Mill
West Nyack, NY
2) STATEN ISLAND
Dr. Roy H. Mosher
Department of Biological
2900 Bedford Avenue
Dept of Chemistry and
Queens College of CUNY
65-30 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, NY 11367-1597
Ms. Erin Plati
Dept of Chemistry, Room
New York University
31 Washington Place
New York, NY
6) NASSAU COUNTY
Dr. Stephen Z. Goldberg
Department of Chemistry
Garden City, NY
7) NASSAU COUNTY
Dr. Stuart Karp
Department of Chemistry
Long Island University
516-299-2492 (central office)
C.W. Post Campus
8) SUFFOLK COUNTY
Dr. Joseph Lauher
Department of Chemistry
SUNY Stony Brook
631-632-7880 (central office)
Stony Brook, NY
Dr. Joseph Skrivanek
Division of Natural
ALTERNATE TEST CENTERS (SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 2008)
10) Yeshivah of Flatbush
Mr. Paul Cohen
1609 Avenue J
11) Rambam Mesivta
Mrs. Rebecca Isseroff
12) Horace Greeley School
70 Roaring Brook
Chappaqua, NY 10514