THE BEGINNINGS: SVMC
In the fall of 2013, a group of Mathematics teachers got together in Shanghai to discuss the needs of their individual schools, and within that, the needs of their students. There were discussions about different school programs, different school curriculums and syllabi, academic expectations of students, academic readiness when applying to various university courses, and alike. Out of such discussions, the idea to create "our very own" competition was born, under the name of SVMC, Shanghai Virtual Mathematics Competitions.
School Year 2013 – 2014 marked the first year of online Mathematics competitions in Shanghai, one every quarter, for students in grades 6-8, followed by grades 9-10 and by grades 4-5 as well later in the year. With the fourth and final competition for the school year on May 27th of 2014, SVMC closed its doors and HighFour Competitions was launched to serve the needs of schools and students, not only in Shanghai but worldwide, and not only in Mathematics but in multiple subjects.
THE SECOND PHASE: HIGHFOUR COMPETITIONS
In September of 2014, building on the feedback from the previous years’ SVMC, HighFour Competitions was officially launched on its own domain, offering monthly competitions in Mathematics for grades 4-5, 6-8, 9-10, and starting with Round 4, for grade 11-12 students as well.
Throughout this school year there were teams from major cities in China (Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, and so forth), as well as from unexpected parts of the world, namely Lithuania. The number of teams for most rounds were around 100, although there were rounds with as high as 150 teams of students (which roughly translates to 600 students) competing online, doing their best to earn the claim to being the top team of Mathematicians.
THE THIRD PHASE: ADDITIONAL SUBJECTS
In June of 2015, for the final round of competitions of the school year, HighFour Competitions piloted competitions in five additional subjects: History of Mathematics, General Sciences, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. Based on the feedback received from schools participating in these pilot rounds, the following school year started with monthly online competitions in a total of seven academic areas, covering a variety of categories between grades 4 and 12.
The additional subjects required the need for more subject experts who helped develop formula booklets for Chemistry and Physics, as well as building up the list of topics used by most schools around the world.
THE FOURTH PHASE: ON-SITE
As the monthly online competitions continued in school year 2015-2016, the idea of combined Mathematics and Science competitions emerged. Building on the experiences at NEAMC at WISS, the team behind HighFour Competitions began planning for an on-site event that would go beyond the confines of Mathematics and provide a platform for students that excel in Sciences as well.
On April 15 of 2017, the first on-site competition was hosted by The Western International School of Shanghai. The 48 participating students competed in six rounds of team and individual competitions in Mathematics and General Sciences and are eager to return next year.
OUR LATEST ADDITION: INDIVIDUAL ROUNDS
In 2017, several eager students, whose schools could not sign up for HighFour Competitions, expressed interest to join monthly rounds. However, as team competitions were only available for schools, these students could not participate. As a response to these requests, in addition to continue offering team competitions, our platform was expanded to accommodate individual students as well. With this new addition, students who wish to compete in any of the available subjects are no longer required to be registered by their schools/teachers. This new development allowed students to register themselves or be registered by parents or academic centers to participate in the monthly competitions.
Considering that HighFour Competitions was launched merely a few years ago, it has clearly come a long way. This is largely due to teachers who took on the challenge to join these competitions and invest their time and energy to coordinate their students through the monthly rounds. In addition to such continuous support from dedicated teachers around the globe, HighFour Competitions is grateful for the following companies/individuals:
- Haese Mathematics – for financially supporting the first two years of online developments.
- Ride’n’Web – for designing the first online platform of HighFour Competitions and keeping it updated for three years.
- International School Community – for giving teachers free 6-month premium membership to their website for being part of the HighFour community.
- The Western International School of Shanghai – for hosting the first on-site event for free of charge.
LOOKING AHEAD: FUTURE PLANS
HighFour Competitions continues to evolve and strives to provide a better service to teachers and students around the world – the complete overhaul of the website with several additional features are all proofs to that. The introduction of question strands, statistical analysis, individual and team score tracking, practice module, and other new features allow teachers and students to analyze past results, practice randomized questions from the question bank and improve performance based on past statistics.
In order to continue offering a great service, HighFour Competitions is always ready to hear feedback. Should there be a new subject introduced? Should there be changes made to how subjects are managed? Should there be additional features? Please send your suggestions to Contact Us and let the team discuss what can be done to improve.