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- The inaugural state math contest took place on May 2, 1981 at Illinois State University. The contest would remain at ISU until 2000, when it would move to University of Illinois.
- 1331 students from 32 Division A schools (<750 students) and 69 Division AA schools (>750 students) participated.
- The contest was sponsored by ICTM and CNA Insurance Companies. CNA would remain a sponsor of the contest until 1993.
- Topics at the state finals were:
- Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus (20 questions, 1 point each)
- Calculator Team (5 person, all levels) (20 questions, 5 pts each)
- Ten Person Team (1 team, 5 FS, 5 JS) (20 questions, 5 pts each)
- FS 2 Person Team (10 questions, max score 60 pts)
- JS 2 Person Team (10 questions, max score 60 pts)
- FS Relay (2 teams per school) (3 rounds, max score 30 pts)
- JS Relay (2 teams per school) (3 rounds, max score 30 pts)
- 2 Oral Topics per division
- Awards given to top five in each event, and top five overall teams
- Scoring is done by hand at the regional level. A custom Apple II-e based scoring program written by ISU faculty is used at the state finals.
- Summer employment at CNA Insurance was given to an outstanding senior chosen by CNA. Scholarships (up to $300) awarded to the top two 2-person teams at the state level, top two oralists in each oral event, and the top five in the Pre-Calculus event.
- Calculators awarded to the top five in the Algebra 2 event (TI 58-C, HP-41CV)
The program is discontinued following the 1983 contest
- The 10 Person Team was replaced with FS 8 Person Team and JS 8 Person Team (20 questions, 5 pts each)
- While scoring at the regional is left to the host, scoring at the state finals is completed using an Apple McIntosh program.
- Participation in the state finals tops 150 schools for the first time.
- Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 Pre-Calculus changes to 20 questions, 2 pts each, max 40
- 8 Person Teams changes to 20 questions, 5 pts each, max 100
- Participation at the regional level tops 250 schools for the first time.
- For the first time, scoring at the regional and state level use the same program. Revelation, a DOS database program, is customized and used for the contest. Regional hosts mailed their 5.25” disk with results to the contest chair for statewide compilation.
- Bell Laboratories/AT&T provides printing for the contest in 1986 and 1987.
- Regional participation tops 275 schools for the first time.
- Number of oral topics reduces to 1 per division.
- A voluntary and experimental Essay Competition is introduced at the state finals. Schools with full teams were invited to participate. Teams of four students work on problems, which were graded for completeness, accuracy, presentation, and creativity. Logistic issues prevent the competition from continuing.
- A voluntary and experimental Computer Competition is introduced at the state finals. Teams of four students write a program in PASCAL given specified parameters. Logistic and timing issues prevent the competition from continuing.
- Regional contest participation tops 6500 students for the first time.
- Graphing calculators are permitted in the 8-person team competition. The competition went back to ‘No Calculator’ in 1998.
- The first ICTM Contest website is created.
- The Illinois Tool Works Print Shop begins provides printing for the contest. ITW provided printing for the contest until 2016.
- State Finals participation tops 2000 students for the first time.
- The oral assistant is recognized as an equal partner in the oral competition.
- Scoring at the state finals switches to Microsoft Access.