SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

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SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby TheDoctor » Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:03 am

The first SCOP MS set is available for mirroring from 2 January 2016 through 9 April 2016. This set is based on the SCOP Novice 6 set; some of the questions will be replaced, but many of them will be edited versions of our Novice questions. SCOP is written by a conglomerate of writers (most from Illinois), and is head edited by myself. Previous years' questions are available on our website and posted in the archive.

The set includes ten rounds of 20/20 (tossups/bonuses) and a half packet (10/10) to be used as replacements and tiebreakers. Tossups are powermarked. Bonuses are worth thirty points each, have three parts, and are intended to be read one part at a time. These questions are written to the national format, with each round using 20 tossups, each read to two teams, and up to 20 bonuses, as earned by those teams; if your tournament will deviate from this format, you must confirm this with me prior to receiving the questions. The use of this set on significantly altered formats without my prior approval will result in financial penalties.

Distribution
SCOP MS will use the following distribution per round:

5/5 Science (including 1/1 Noncomputational Math)
4/4 Literature (including roughly 0.5/0.5 Young Adult Literature)
4/4 History and Government
2/2 Religion and Mythology
2/2 Fine Arts
1/1 Geography
1/1 Current Events/Social Science/Philosophy
1/1 /Trash

Fees
The mirror fee outside of Illinois is $8 per team (including house teams). We offer a $1/team discount for complete statistics (in SQBS format with full individual statistics and with round report enabled) posted promptly after your tournament. There is an additional discount of $2/team if you choose to scan and e-mail (or snail-mail) your raw scoresheets to me for the calculation of conversion statistics by topic. Hosts in developing circuits that have not used a SCOP set in the past may negotiate for further discounts, as well. This set is not available for mirroring to high school teams.

Illinois
Unlike our Novice-level set, the MS set is available to mirror in Illinois.

Prospective mirror hosts, or anyone with questions about the Novice or Middle School sets, may contact me at strey.k.a@gmail.com.

Scheduled Mirrors
12/12 Cedar Shoals HS, GA [pre-set version; modified format]
01/09 Olentangy, OH
01/16 Tuscumbia, MO
01/23 Calvary Lutheran, MO
02/27 Longfellow, VA
03/12 Barrington Station, IL
04/09 Litchfield, IL
Last edited by TheDoctor on Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:30 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby the return of AHAN » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:31 pm

2nd Saturday in March, please.
Jeff Price, Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby TheDoctor » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:32 pm

the return of AHAN wrote:2nd Saturday in March, please.


Pleasure doing business :smile:
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Re: SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby TheDoctor » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:07 pm

The mirror range has been extended by a week for a mirror at Litchfield, IL.
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Re: SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby TheDoctor » Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:30 pm

Our last two tournaments ran yesterday, so the set is now posted at the SCOP website and will be uploaded to quizbowlpackets.com shortly. Thank you to everyone who played and mirrored the set, and especially to everyone who sent scoresheets. A big thanks, of course, to the writers and editors!
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Re: SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby Big Y » Mon May 16, 2016 7:02 pm

I am glad that you fixed many of the repeats we had to deal with when I moderated on this set at its sixth site and that the rounds all now have enough bonuses. It was annoying to get an errata sheet with almost every round. However, I am surprised that such a slowly produced set still has triple point as a tossup answer and then a few rounds later has it as the answer to the hard part of a bonus using the same clues.
David Reinstein
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Re: SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby TheDoctor » Mon May 16, 2016 7:12 pm

The version used at Barrington was an extremely early draft that I didn't realize I had sent until the questions had already been printed, so there were a lot of differences between that and the final set played everywhere else that no one had time to find and amend (which is why the errata sheets focused solely on whole-question paste repeats and powermarks).

That said, the middle school canon is incredibly narrow, and it doesn't surprise me that that happened especially in science. It's something we try to avoid, but it won't always be possible.
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Re: SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby Big Y » Mon May 16, 2016 7:59 pm

I want to make sure I understand what you are saying.

You are saying it is OK to toss up an answer in a set and then use that same answer as the hard part of a bonus with the same clues in a later round.

If that is not what you are saying, you are free to clarify.
David Reinstein
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Re: SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby TheDoctor » Mon May 16, 2016 8:28 pm

I'm saying--with the qualification that I haven't looked at the questions in discussion, so I'm not certain how many of the "same clues" are or could have been used--that I agree that this should be avoided, but there isn't much that can be done about it at this stage. We always try to avoid this happening, but (assuming the repeats are as egregious as it sounds) it sounds like this one slipped through, probably in the course of editing the Novice set down. It would have been nice to hear about this after the Barrington mirror, when it could have been edited out, though obviously you were somewhat hobbled in this by having had to deal with the set as sent (apologies :smile:).

Speaking on the topic of repeats in general, I expect a certain number of thematic repeats to happen in question sets, and have no problem with that happening. There will naturally be a greater need for such things to happen in middle school sets, where canon is very narrow; I greatly prefer seeing a topic repeated to seeing unanswerable topics asked, especially in middle school. To use an example from an NAQT high school set, I'm fine with the fact that both [city] and [country] appeared as answerlines twice in Round 1 of a set my team heard this year, since it meant that when those answers were used as bonuses, they replaced what would otherwise have been much harder parts (it would have been nicer if they'd been separated into different rounds, but what can you do?).

Edit: Changed because a friend of mine pointed out that I probably shouldn't leave NAQT answer space posted publicly, since I'm not sure how much of those sets will be reused next year.
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Re: SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby Big Y » Tue May 17, 2016 8:07 am

I read for that IS set as you did. I thought the two repeated answers in round 1 were among the biggest problems in the set even though there was no overlapping content. After the tournament, I emailed NAQT to point out the problem, and the questions were moved in later uses of the set so that they were no longer in the same round. I also pointed out a problem with a sports question that had become outdated a few days before the tournament based on an unanticipated event. Overall, I thought that IS set was a very good set. (For the sake of disclosure, I normally write a significant number of questions for NAQT but contributed very little to that set.)

SCOP MS Round 6 wrote:9. According to Gibbs’ phase rule, a pure substance at this point has zero degrees of freedom. Polymorphic substances, which have multiple different solid forms, can have more than one of these points. Helium-­4 has two of these points because of its (*) superfluid behavior. For 10 points, name this point at which all three phases of a substance—solid, liquid, and gas—can exist in a state of thermodynamic equilibrium.
Answer: triple point (do not prompt or accept critical point)


SCOP MS Round 8 wrote:17. The units of this scale are equal to degrees Fahrenheit, plus thirty-­two, all multiplied by five-­ninths. For 10 points each,
[10] Name this scale of temperature, named after a Swedish scientist, that gives a value of zero to the temperature at which pure water freezes.
Answer: Celsius scale (accept centigrade)
[10] One hundred degrees Celsius holds this value for water. At this transition value, a liquid becomes a vapor.
Answer: boiling point
[10] At this value for temperature and pressure, a substance can exist as a gas, a liquid, and a solid in equilibrium.
Answer: triple point


I didn't point out this problem because it was one repeat of many, and I wasn't trying to make an exhaustive list.
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Re: SCOP MS 6 (January-April 2016)

Postby TheDoctor » Tue May 17, 2016 1:41 pm

Well, that's reassuring on four counts:

1. The clue space being repeated is the barest description of what a triple point is, rather than a deeper or stranger clue, meaning that this is not a case of writers plagiarizing each other.

2. The bonus is at the very end of a round, meaning that this would not have become a problem for the vast majority of teams.

3. The bonus is in a late round, meaning that, in conjunction with 2 above, the bonus likely had minimal impact.

4. The bonus comes after the tossup, meaning that all teams who heard the bonus had an equal opportunity to have previous knowledge of the subject from within the tournament itself, so even if this didn't get replaced (as it should have), the teams who heard it weren't as disadvantaged as they would have been had it been the other way around.

Again, this is something that we already work to avoid, and I don't expect that it will happen again in a way that is not remediable. As a reassurance, that is NOT me suggesting that this isn't a problem, just that it's a problem that likely didn't affect many teams and that could easily have been fixed with the use of replacement questions at the vast majority of sites, which did not use the 3.3.x version (nicknamed "question shuffle" because that's what was happening at that stage) you read at Barrington, but the 3.5.x version that had actually been through editing. Again, I apologize (as I have several times both to Jeff Price and to the various moderators who were in attendance) for having selected the wrong version when sending it to Barrington; I'm sure we both remember when NAQT sent the wrong set to a Chicago conference, and just as they tightened up their double-checks since that incident, I have tightened up mine and am sure that it won't happen again. I hope that if that hadn't been the case, you would have shown me the respect you afforded NAQT and informed me of the error after the tournament, even though you don't write for me and have no responsibility to do so. I truly do appreciate you having brought it up even in this too-little-too-late situation, and will be sure to bring this incident up to the editors who cover the subjects I don't directly oversee next year.

(mods, feel free to move this next bit to a new thread should it require that) Since I don't think either of us is illusioned as to whether this is a "glass houses"-style approach to my post in the NAQT sets thread, I'll just say here that those who mirrored this set and had to replace this bonus did so at an average cost of less than $3.50 per team in attendance. I have never made any bones about the fact that I'm frustrated with NAQT sets as they're written now, and that that comes down largely to the price. I ran a frosh/soph tournament on NAQT question this year for which I paid $11.93 per team flat and $18.50 per team effectively because digital copy isn't permitted. For a middle school set (to put this back into the frame of this discussion), mirrored to the same number of teams, I would have paid, by my calculations, $13.50/team after discounts and before printing, which is nearly twice the base fee charged for SCOP MS before discounts are applied.

The limit of tolerance I have for sets for which I pay that much money, in the context of what else is available and at what prices, is not high, and the fact that I've been an editor for NAQT in the past and know how close most of their set production comes to the first-use deadlines (and the sacrifices that, especially, low-level subject editors have to make to meet those deadlines) makes paying almost $20/team feel like a slap in the face. I could excuse the kind of wild difficulty swings and strangely-themed, obviously unedited bonuses I've had to sit through in conference (IS-A sets) if I didn't know how much was being paid for it. At those prices, a set should be damn near perfect in every way, but what I got for my tournament and what I hear in conference are adequate sets at twice the price they're worth. I run a low-level program in a low-level part of the state with low-level funding, and if I'm going to get an adequate, no-frills set regardless, I for one am going to do that by paying less for a housewrite, even if it means I have to replace a bonus that repeats material from an earlier tossup.

Because I know that it's nearly impossible not to take it personally when people criticize a question set that you've contributed to even if, as in this case, my beef is not with the questions that you personally wrote, I want to make this very clear, both to you and Lee Henry, whom I greatly respect for having jumped into set editing feet-first this year, and whose questions I hope to mirror next year, especially given the practical experience he's gained this year: I do not think that NAQT is a bad company, nor do I think anyone would be better off if it wrote fewer questions. What I do think is that they're already doing as much as they can, and perhaps a little more than they can, and that their greatest value comes at high levels, not low. I find their college sets very enjoyable even though I'd prefer if they had less trash, and their national tournaments are, especially logistically, without compare. They annually perform monumental tasks of question writing at monumental volumes, and do so consistently in a way that allows all of us to rely on there being n NAQT tournaments in our respective areas even years in advance. That is not a small achievement.

I just wish I could afford it.
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