New AMSQG announcement

This is the place for middle school quizbowl of all types.
Post Reply
User avatar
An Economic Ignoramus
Memerator
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:31 pm
Location: East Lansing, MI or Naperville, IL

New AMSQG announcement

Post by An Economic Ignoramus » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:10 pm

Hello everyone, I am pleased to announce AMSQG, a collaboratively written middle school set. The set will be available for mirrors after January 6th for a mirror fee of $10 per team. I will be serving as head editor with Bradley McLain (UIUC) and Kevin Kodama providing additional editing. If you are interested in mirroring this set, please email me at jakobsmyers [at] gmail [dot] com.

AMSQG will be a harder MS set with answerlines being squarely in the MS canon, but with questions that are skewed towards easier HS sets. There will be 12 packets of 5-6 line powermarked questions. A sample half packet will be made available at a TBD date.

The distribution is as follows:
4/4 Literature (1/1 American, 1/1 British, 1/1 European, 1/1 Miscellaneous [contemporary, classical, etc])
4/4 Science (1/1 Biology, 1/1 Chemistry, 1/1 Physics, 1/1 Other [Math, Astronomy, etc])
4/4 History (1/1 American, 1/1 European, 1/1 World, 1/1 Classical/British)
3/3 Fine Arts (1.5/1.5 Visual, 1.5/1.5 Auditory)
2/2 Religion and Mythology
.5/.5 Philosophy and Social Science (skewed heavily towards civics and government)
1/1 Geography
0.5/0.5 Current Events
1/1 Pop Culture/Trash

Current Mirrors:
Last edited by An Economic Ignoramus on Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Jakob Myers
MSU '21, Naperville North '17
"No one has ever organized a greater effort to get people interested in pretending to play quiz bowl"
-Ankit Aggarwal
Member, PACE
Memerator

Berniecrat
Lulu
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:54 pm

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by Berniecrat » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:27 pm

Just to be clear, this is the same set as the AMSQG set, except it has been slightly reworked to more easily be able to be played at the middle school level.
Arjun Nageswaran
Aptakisic '17
Stevenson '21

User avatar
dwd500
Lulu
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:33 am

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by dwd500 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:48 pm

I'm confused. Is this in addition to, or a replacement of this set?
David Dennis
Middle School Choir Director
District Scholar Bowl Coach
Washington, MO

Murray State University, 2001
Breckinridge County High School, KY 1996

User avatar
An Economic Ignoramus
Memerator
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:31 pm
Location: East Lansing, MI or Naperville, IL

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by An Economic Ignoramus » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:50 pm

dwd500 wrote:I'm confused. Is this in addition to, or a replacement of this set?
It's the same set. We're just enacting changes in the distribution, editing, and management of the set sweeping enough to merit a new forum post and a new thread.
Jakob Myers
MSU '21, Naperville North '17
"No one has ever organized a greater effort to get people interested in pretending to play quiz bowl"
-Ankit Aggarwal
Member, PACE
Memerator

User avatar
dwd500
Lulu
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:33 am

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by dwd500 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:32 am

The market for the hazy gap between SCOP, MSNCT and high school regular is pretty full for this season at this point, (WHAQ II, DEFT, SCOP, SOLON, etc.) and that's where this set sounds like it's headed.

Guaranteed 1/1 Chemistry and 1/1 Physics doesn't sound at all like a middle school set. NAQT doesn't have 1/1 of those two fields combined in a 24 TU MS packet. There's also discussion on the Northmont set's post about the appropriateness of 3/3 Fine Arts. Where you plan on finding 6 tossups and bonuses for philosophy that 90% of teams in the country have a shot at is anyone's guess. Any school that teaches much of that material by that age level is already past the usefulness of HS Regular-minus difficulty. You're going to run out of accessible answers, and you're already advertising that it's harder.

While that distribution/level will be fine for, maybe, the top 60 teams at MSNCT, I worry that it'll be nothing but an exercise in pain for the other 97% of teams across the country. Games where half of the tossups go dead don't accomplish much to sell this activity at the grassroots level. I can't understand why a new organization like yourselves is chasing such a tiny market, and one that already has a lot of other options this year.

As a middle school coach, I find that NAQT has a pretty good grip on what distribution can be asked, and what the average middle schooler has had a chance to be exposed to. What my team is always frustrated with is the shortness of the questions. Three lines means that unless you know that first clue, you're only going to get 10 points.

We live in a state where middle school kids are not allowed to compete vs. higher grades and we have tight restrictions on playing outside state lines. Most any other school that we can play against just isn't yet capable of handling that level of stuff. Reading into A-set level at practice has helped us, but they're still short questions. Housewrites at that level are longer, of course, but they will inevitably have the same distribution/exposure issue, and we're still not playing against other schools on those - it's not a comparable experience.

Here's stats from the middle school tournament we hosted last February on an MS set. 17 of 24 teams couldn't break 15 PPB on an MS set. Why would I subject those teams to something akin to an A-set?

For me, I would love a solid set with a distribution similar to NAQT, but where there's more lines per question, and longer powermarks. Something I'd call a really good "teaching set", where there's a solid hard bonus part - but a very "important hard part." HSAPQ Novice hit that mark for my freshmen last year. CALI did a good job of hitting that mark for HS a few years back. Anyone at NASAT probably heard me rave about the music bonuses (and, honestly, most of the bonuses) and their really good choices of "important" hard parts. I have not yet seen something entirely comparable at the middle school level - SCOP is closest. If a housewrite could hit that mark, I think they'd have a long list of mirrors ready to go.

I appreciate your commitment to promoting good quizbowl to this level, and your wanting to challenge teams is very noble, but I think there is a larger market out there that could really use a different kind of product.
David Dennis
Middle School Choir Director
District Scholar Bowl Coach
Washington, MO

Murray State University, 2001
Breckinridge County High School, KY 1996

Berniecrat
Lulu
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:54 pm

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by Berniecrat » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:38 pm

Hello Mr. Dennis,

Good evening. I hope this message finds you and all who read this well.

The points you bring up are all good ones. I just wanted to share how AMSQG was conceived in the first place to try to provide a rationale behind writing this set the way we are.

Last school year, three of the set writers, David Lee, Cooper Roh, and I, were all in middle school. We all loved playing quiz bowl, however we wished that there were more tournaments available. David Lee and I played quiz bowl for Aptakisic and aside from the national tournaments, we played 2 NAQT sets and SCOP-MS. Cooper played for Keith Country Day and he played one A-Set, 4 NAQT sets, and SCOP-MS aside from the national tournaments in terms of middle school quiz bowl. While I recognize, that seems like a lot for the middle school level, I think I can confidently say that all three of us would have played other tournaments if they were mirroring more middle school sets.

Cooper and I, along with then-freshman Govind Prabhakar, decided that middle school quiz bowl needed more question sets to be written and in general just more involvement. We thus came up with an American Middle School Quizbowl Guild that would write questions for the middle school level, as well as look at additional ways to try to help quiz bowl at the middle school level.

However, when we decided to write this new set, difficulty was obviously always going to be a major question. Govind had played middle school quiz bowl too before entering high school, and he, Cooper, and I agreed that one of the main problems with middle school quizbowl was that the amount of answerlines that were tossed up were way too narrow. We needed to expand the answerlines of middle school Quizbowl with this set, and thus increase the difficulty ever so slightly.

Originally, we went way too overboard with the difficulty. With the help of new writers and new editors, creating a production team made up of respected and experienced players, we were able to bring back the answerlines to a difficulty where they were not too easy in that it just became boring, but also not too tough so that teams would feel frustrated.

As to distribution, we understand your concerns. We believe that some of the categories that you mentioned could also include interdisciplinary questions. Chemistry could include Earth Science, philosophy could include religious thought and debate, etc. Nevertheless, we have taken your suggestions in mind and are actively considering changes to the distribution to better reflect the knowledge that middle schoolers are likely to have access to.

Again, all your points were well made and all of them (particularly the distributional changes you proposed) will be discussed amongst the AMSQG team.

Overall, however, we here at AMSQG feel that a set such as this has demand from middle school players and is justified in its difficulty.

Thank you for providing these valuable points for discussion for our team. We really appreciate this feedback, especially coming for someone who is familiar with the middle school quiz bowl circuit.

Sincerely,
Arjun & the AMSQG Team
Arjun Nageswaran
Aptakisic '17
Stevenson '21

alexdz
Rikku
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:29 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by alexdz » Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:07 am

Berniecrat wrote:...one of the main problems with middle school quizbowl was that the amount of answerlines that were tossed up were way too narrow. ...
I think one of the things that Coach Dennis was trying to emphasize was that this statement is statistically *not* true for the vast majority of middle school teams in the country. I've been working on middle school (and elementary) questions for several years now and as I've (hopefully) gotten better at it, I've realized a lot about what is askable in middle school. In an entire middle school set I wrote, I think there were maybe 6-8 questions that would fit into quizbowl's "social science" canon. And they were about the most basic you could get - for example, the psychology questions were things like "Freud" and "memory." That may be too narrow for you, but for 97% of middle school teams in the country, that's about all the psychological concepts they will actually know.

Expanding the middle school canon might be better done by - as Dennis suggested - writing well-done, gettable, but challenging lead-ins and hard bonus parts, rather than by expanding into parts of the distribution that are much less feasible at the middle school level.
Alex Dzurick
====
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
====
University of Illinois ('15-'17)
MOQBA Secretary ('08-'15) ::: MACA Vice President ('13-'15)
South Callaway MS/6th Grade Coach ('12-'13) ::: University of Missouri ('08-'12)
ACUI Region 11 Coordinator ('10-'11) ::: South Callaway HS ('04-'08)

idek
Lulu
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:29 pm

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by idek » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:26 am

alexdz wrote:
Berniecrat wrote:...one of the main problems with middle school quizbowl was that the amount of answerlines that were tossed up were way too narrow. ...
I think one of the things that Coach Dennis was trying to emphasize was that this statement is statistically *not* true for the vast majority of middle school teams in the country. I've been working on middle school (and elementary) questions for several years now and as I've (hopefully) gotten better at it, I've realized a lot about what is askable in middle school. In an entire middle school set I wrote, I think there were maybe 6-8 questions that would fit into quizbowl's "social science" canon. And they were about the most basic you could get - for example, the psychology questions were things like "Freud" and "memory." That may be too narrow for you, but for 97% of middle school teams in the country, that's about all the psychological concepts they will actually know.

Expanding the middle school canon might be better done by - as Dennis suggested - writing well-done, gettable, but challenging lead-ins and hard bonus parts, rather than by expanding into parts of the distribution that are much less feasible at the middle school level.
In Texas, we have tournaments where the majority of the field is putting up 20+ PPB. In areas like this, this set could be utilized, especially for the State Championship, which is run on an A set for lack for better material. I similarly found the MS canon too narrow.

I remember playing solo once in MS, and being able to get by solely on the fact that the tossups were way too canonical and easy. My conversion was like 15.5 PPB, but it didn't matter because tossups win games, and when the tossups are too easy, the system gets exploited by people who know the relatively shallow canon.
Vishal Sivamani
Coppell

User avatar
dtaylor4
Auron
Posts: 3727
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:43 am
Location: Springfield, IL

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by dtaylor4 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:45 am

idek wrote:
alexdz wrote:
Berniecrat wrote:...one of the main problems with middle school quizbowl was that the amount of answerlines that were tossed up were way too narrow. ...
I think one of the things that Coach Dennis was trying to emphasize was that this statement is statistically *not* true for the vast majority of middle school teams in the country. I've been working on middle school (and elementary) questions for several years now and as I've (hopefully) gotten better at it, I've realized a lot about what is askable in middle school. In an entire middle school set I wrote, I think there were maybe 6-8 questions that would fit into quizbowl's "social science" canon. And they were about the most basic you could get - for example, the psychology questions were things like "Freud" and "memory." That may be too narrow for you, but for 97% of middle school teams in the country, that's about all the psychological concepts they will actually know.

Expanding the middle school canon might be better done by - as Dennis suggested - writing well-done, gettable, but challenging lead-ins and hard bonus parts, rather than by expanding into parts of the distribution that are much less feasible at the middle school level.
In Texas, we have tournaments where the majority of the field is putting up 20+ PPB. In areas like this, this set could be utilized, especially for the State Championship, which is run on an A set for lack for better material. I similarly found the MS canon too narrow.

I remember playing solo once in MS, and being able to get by solely on the fact that the tossups were way too canonical and easy. My conversion was like 15.5 PPB, but it didn't matter because tossups win games, and when the tossups are too easy, the system gets exploited by people who know the relatively shallow canon.
Re-read Alex's post. For a set that presumably wants to be used across the country, a set that challenges top teams is likely going to drive teams away from quizbowl, which is the last thing the MS circuit needs right now.
Donald Taylor
Springfield, IL
(Decatur) MacArthur '05/UIUC '09 BS Accountancy/'10 Master of Accounting Science
Freelance writer, staffer, stats guru, TD

Where is Christchurch? That's in Queensland
Where is Palmerston North? That's in New South Wales

idek
Lulu
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:29 pm

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by idek » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:09 am

dtaylor4 wrote:
idek wrote:
alexdz wrote:
Berniecrat wrote:...one of the main problems with middle school quizbowl was that the amount of answerlines that were tossed up were way too narrow. ...
I think one of the things that Coach Dennis was trying to emphasize was that this statement is statistically *not* true for the vast majority of middle school teams in the country. I've been working on middle school (and elementary) questions for several years now and as I've (hopefully) gotten better at it, I've realized a lot about what is askable in middle school. In an entire middle school set I wrote, I think there were maybe 6-8 questions that would fit into quizbowl's "social science" canon. And they were about the most basic you could get - for example, the psychology questions were things like "Freud" and "memory." That may be too narrow for you, but for 97% of middle school teams in the country, that's about all the psychological concepts they will actually know.

Expanding the middle school canon might be better done by - as Dennis suggested - writing well-done, gettable, but challenging lead-ins and hard bonus parts, rather than by expanding into parts of the distribution that are much less feasible at the middle school level.

In Texas, we have tournaments where the majority of the field is putting up 20+ PPB. In areas like this, this set could be utilized, especially for the State Championship, which is run on an A set for lack for better material. I similarly found the MS canon too narrow.

I remember playing solo once in MS, and being able to get by solely on the fact that the tossups were way too canonical and easy. My conversion was like 15.5 PPB, but it didn't matter because tossups win games, and when the tossups are too easy, the system gets exploited by people who know the relatively shallow canon.
Re-read Alex's post. For a set that presumably wants to be used across the country, a set that challenges top teams is likely going to drive teams away from quizbowl, which is the last thing the MS circuit needs right now.

You and Alex are very correct in your statements. What I was alluding to is that this set could be used in areas like Cali, Texas, Illinois, and Connecticuit, where there are multiple teams that could play this set and put up great numbers. Furthermore, it could be used in the many "nationals prep" tournaments at the MS level. I'm trying to say that this wouldn't really be bad when you have 8-10 teams that could put up a legit statline in a region on this set.
Vishal Sivamani
Coppell

User avatar
dtaylor4
Auron
Posts: 3727
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:43 am
Location: Springfield, IL

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by dtaylor4 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:00 am

idek wrote:You and Alex are very correct in your statements. What I was alluding to is that this set could be used in areas like Cali, Texas, Illinois, and Connecticut, where there are multiple teams that could play this set and put up great numbers. Furthermore, it could be used in the many "nationals prep" tournaments at the MS level. I'm trying to say that this wouldn't really be bad when you have 8-10 teams that could put up a legit statline in a region on this set.
If that is true, then this set should be aimed at that audience. Given this distribution, I cannot in good faith suggest this set for teams in my region. At Litchfield's tournament in March, 8/18 teams cracked 15ppb on SCOP Novice, and I would bet on it being much lower for this set, based on what has been published.
Donald Taylor
Springfield, IL
(Decatur) MacArthur '05/UIUC '09 BS Accountancy/'10 Master of Accounting Science
Freelance writer, staffer, stats guru, TD

Where is Christchurch? That's in Queensland
Where is Palmerston North? That's in New South Wales

User avatar
TylerV
Lulu
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:58 pm

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by TylerV » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:32 pm

I'll preface this post by stating that my role in this project is only feedback based. I am not receiving, nor seeking, financial compensation for my work and as a result am not directly writing or editing any tossups but rather providing guidance to the writers and editors and keeping the answerlines, both length and content, in check.

That being said, as the most experienced person involved with this project, I wanted to clear up a lot of the issues caused by poor communication.

First of all, the target audience for this set has not been stated as clearly as I would have liked it so I will state it here. The set being produced is meant to be used as nationals prep for middle school teams. This set is being written with the understanding that the top middle school teams are better than many novice high school teams. This also leads me to my second point, the distribution.

The original distribution was made both without a clear target audience, as the original post showed when it mentioned it could also be used as a novice set, and without an intimate understanding of what a nationals prep needs to accomplish, mainly that the content cannot be out-of-line, both in regards to distribution and difficulty, to the tournaments it is meant to prep for.

With that all being said, the distribution is going to undergo changes. While not finalized, the editing team and I want to make sure we create something refreshing without reinventing the wheel, it is going to more accurately reflect MSNCT and USABB without trying to shoehorn topics that are beyond the pale.

I understand that the constant reshuffling has caused the set to lose its chance to create a good first impression, and I can only ask that potential tournament hosts thoroughly examine the sample packet, when it is posted, and base their decision off of that.

If there are any concerns about the direction of the set, specifically relating to middle school theory, I would gladly respond to any emails that get sent my way.
Tyler Vaughan
Gibson-assembling tossups from lists of named things on Wikipedia since 2014.
UW-Platteville, Rock Valley, UIUC 2014-2017
I do stuff for IAC

idek
Lulu
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:29 pm

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by idek » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:40 pm

TylerV wrote:I'll preface this post by stating that my role in this project is only feedback based. I am not receiving, nor seeking, financial compensation for my work and as a result am not directly writing or editing any tossups but rather providing guidance to the writers and editors and keeping the answerlines, both length and content, in check.

That being said, as the most experienced person involved with this project, I wanted to clear up a lot of the issues caused by poor communication.

First of all, the target audience for this set has not been stated as clearly as I would have liked it so I will state it here. The set being produced is meant to be used as nationals prep for middle school teams. This set is being written with the understanding that the top middle school teams are better than many novice high school teams. This also leads me to my second point, the distribution.

The original distribution was made both without a clear target audience, as the original post showed when it mentioned it could also be used as a novice set, and without an intimate understanding of what a nationals prep needs to accomplish, mainly that the content cannot be out-of-line, both in regards to distribution and difficulty, to the tournaments it is meant to prep for.

With that all being said, the distribution is going to undergo changes. While not finalized, the editing team and I want to make sure we create something refreshing without reinventing the wheel, it is going to more accurately reflect MSNCT and USABB without trying to shoehorn topics that are beyond the pale.

I understand that the constant reshuffling has caused the set to lose its chance to create a good first impression, and I can only ask that potential tournament hosts thoroughly examine the sample packet, when it is posted, and base their decision off of that.

If there are any concerns about the direction of the set, specifically relating to middle school theory, I would gladly respond to any emails that get sent my way.
Where can this sample be found? I've been looking to potentially send my team to a mirror.
Vishal Sivamani
Coppell

User avatar
TylerV
Lulu
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:58 pm

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by TylerV » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:38 am

idek wrote:Where can this sample be found? I've been looking to potentially send my team to a mirror.
As of now, it is still uncompiled. The sample packet, after we finish our distribution related discussions, will be posted in this thread. There is no current timetable for when this sample packet will be complete othan than it will be done and posted well in advance of the slated completion date.
Tyler Vaughan
Gibson-assembling tossups from lists of named things on Wikipedia since 2014.
UW-Platteville, Rock Valley, UIUC 2014-2017
I do stuff for IAC

User avatar
Illinois Admin
Lulu
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:11 pm
Location: Urbana, Illinois

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by Illinois Admin » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:27 am

I would like to say first and foremost thank you to everyone who has posted in this thread and shared their concerns about this set. We have listened to these concerns and have revamped our distribution to better reflect what teams will be facing at nationals.

Religion/Mythology 1/1 (.5 each)
Lit: 3.5/3.5
-English language lit 1.5/1.5
-Euro Lit .5/.5
-Young Lit 1/1
-Any lit .5/.5
Science 4/4
-Astro .5/.5
-Chem .5/.5
-Bio 1/1
-Earth Science .5/.5
-Any Science .5/.5
-Math 1/1
Fine Arts 1/1
-Visual .5/.5
-Auditory .5/.5
History 4.5/4.5
-American 1.5/1.5
-European 1/1
-World .5/.5
-Ancient .5/.5
-Any History 1/1
Trash 1/1
Social Science .5/.5
Current Events 1.5/1.5
Geography 2/2
Misc/Mixed/Other 1/1

Again, I would like to say thank you to everyone who raised concerns about this set. We believe that these changes will make the set more accessible and useful as a preparation for nationals.
Bradley McLain
Rockford Auburn High School (2012-2015)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2015-)
College Liaison - IHSSBCA (2017-)
Assistant Coach-like Person - University Laboratory High School (2017-)

User avatar
An Economic Ignoramus
Memerator
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:31 pm
Location: East Lansing, MI or Naperville, IL

Re: New AMSQG announcement

Post by An Economic Ignoramus » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:57 pm

Considering that a) neither of the original creators of this set can write for it anymore and b) it doesn't really seem like anyone wants this set to happen, I regret to inform all interested parties that this year's AMSQG isn't going to happen.
The questions written so far might become a side event or be cannibalized by some other set, so stay tuned for that
Jakob Myers
MSU '21, Naperville North '17
"No one has ever organized a greater effort to get people interested in pretending to play quiz bowl"
-Ankit Aggarwal
Member, PACE
Memerator

Post Reply