2009 NAQT HSNCT

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby First Chairman » Sat May 30, 2009 7:34 am

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:I just worry about dividing teams up too much. Should we also split private and public schools? Parochial and secular schools? Schools between 500-2000 and schools over 2000? By region?

But yes, i can see why you might feel slighted by the afterthought that this usually ends up being, from what i've heard.


As my experience with Decathlon can attest, there will be no easy way to do splits unless you know ahead of time that you have a proper critical mass to reward such a title. A small school in Texas according to USAD I think was any school with a population less than 1000, but then we get into schools that are 10-12 only vs 9-12, private schools all being placed into the highest-enrollment public schools, magnet schools getting weird because they don't wish to be compared with private schools, and the mixed public-private magnets (performing arts magnet program in a public school). Basically it's too tricky, especially if your competition is open in the way that NAQT's event is.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Yellow-throated Honeyeater » Sat May 30, 2009 7:38 am

Good luck today.

If you're keeping score at home, stats are supposed to go here.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby First Chairman » Sat May 30, 2009 9:22 am

Cover it live link here.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby etchdulac » Sat May 30, 2009 10:42 pm

Final Day One stats remain elusive, but from what I am hearing, Georgetown Day is the lone 10-0. They gave Dorman their lone loss of the day.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby cwRsync » Sat May 30, 2009 11:06 pm

The biggest surprise of the day, in my opinion, was that Ransom Everglades went 8-2.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby etchdulac » Sat May 30, 2009 11:32 pm

In case anyone is interested: Here's a list of above-.500 teams, who all advance to playoff competition tomorrow. Hopefully the blog will have full stats accessible soon. But in case not:

GDS 10-0, Dorman A 9-1, as stated before...

8-2 teams ranked 3 to 12: Charter A, Detroit Country Day, State College A, Maggie Walker, Detroit Catholic Central, Bergen County, Hoover, Walton, Stow-Munroe Falls, Ransom Everglades.

7-3 teams ranked 13 to 33: TJ A, Rancho Bernardo A, Chattahoochee A, New Trier, Torrey Pines, Mission San Jose A, Walter Johnson A, Chaska, State College B, Brookwood, Carbondale, Auburn, Walnut Hills, Eden Prairie, LASA, Santa Monica, Ottawa Hills, Charter B, Shady Side, MLK Magnet, Francis Howell Central.

6-4 teams ranked 34 to 71: Grosse Pointe North, Arcadia, Kellenberg A, Half Hollow Hills West, Dorman b, Pensacola, East Brunswick, Hume-Fogg, Loyola, North Hollywood, Bellarmine, Mission San Jose B, Ballard A, Soton A, La Jolla A, Wheaton Warrenville, duPont Manual, Dunbar, Minnetonka, Livingston, Plymouth, Moravian, Cave Spring, St. Viator, EO Smith, Bellarmine B, Lafayette, Houston St. John's, Troy, Culver, Penn, Rappahannock, TJ B, La Jolla B, Flushing, Buffalo Grove, Parkview B, Temple
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT by state

Postby etchdulac » Sun May 31, 2009 12:10 am

Edit: 1st-lead writethru to correct New Trier state

Done more out of my own curiosity (and boredom) than anything else...

Playoff teams by state, listed with total from state in field: (this list presumes every team listed in the May 27 field arrived and played)

California (11/15): #14 Rancho A, #17 Torrey Pines, #18 Mission San Jose A, #28 Santa Monica, #35 Arcadia, #43 North Hollywood, #44 Bellarmine A, #45 Mission San Jose B, #48 La Jolla A, #59 Bellarmine B, #67 La Jolla B

Illinois (7/10): #16 New Trier, #23 Carbondale, #24 Auburn, #42 Loyola A, #49 Wheaton Warrenville, #57 St. Viator, #69 Buffalo Grove

Michigan (6/18): #4 Detroit Country Day, #7 Detroit Catholic Central, #34 Grosse Pointe North, #54 Plymouth, #62 Troy, #68 Flushing

Virginia (5/7): #6 Maggie Walker, #13 Thomas Jefferson A, #56 Cave Spring, #65 Rappahannock, #66 Thomas Jefferson B

Pennsylvania (4/7): #5 State College A, #21 State College B, #31 Shady Side, #55 Moravian

Ohio (4/9): #11 Stow-Munroe Falls, #25 Walnut Hills, #29 Ottawa Hills, #47 Soton A

New Jersey (3/6): #8 Bergen County, #40 East Brunswick, #53 Livingston

Georgia (3/6): #10 Walton, #15 Chattahoochee A, #22 Brookwood A

Minnesota (3/13): #20 Chaska, #26 Eden Prairie, #52 Minnetonka

Texas (3/8): #27 LASA, #61 St. John's, #71 Temple

Kentucky (3/8): #46 Ballard A, #50 duPont Manual, #51 Dunbar

South Carolina (2/2): #2 Dorman A, #38 Dorman B

Delaware (2/4): #3 Charter A, #30 Charter B

Florida (2/4): #12 Ransom Everglades, #39 Pensacola

Tennessee (2/2): #32 MLK Magnet, #41 Hume-Fogg

New York (2/4): #36 Kellenberg A, #37 Half Hollow Hills West

Indiana (2/5): #63 Culver, #64 Penn

District of Columbia (1/1): #1 Georgetown Day

Alabama (1/5): #9 Hoover

Maryland (1/1): #19 Walter Johnson A

Missouri (1/8): #33 Francis Howell Central

Connecticut (1/2): #58 EO Smith

Louisiana (1/2): #60 Lafayette

Arkansas (1/4): #70 Parkview B

Oklahoma (0/13)

Iowa (0/6)

North Carolina (0/4)

Mississippi (0/3)

Utah (0/3)

Wisconsin (0/3)

South Dakota (0/2)

Kansas (0/1)

Montana (0/1)

Nevada (0/1)

New Hampshire (0/1)

New Mexico (0/1)

Vermont (0/1)

Canada (0/1)
Last edited by etchdulac on Sun May 31, 2009 8:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby wd4gdz » Sun May 31, 2009 12:21 am

quantumfootball wrote:The biggest surprise of the day, in my opinion, was that Ransom Everglades went 8-2.


This is not surprising at all. They played great last year and had wins over some very good teams. I'm pretty sure they returned most if not all of their best players this year.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby dtaylor4 » Sun May 31, 2009 12:22 am

New Trier's from Illinois...
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Edward Powers » Sun May 31, 2009 12:37 am

So how do tomorrow's playoffs work---with 71 teams, will GDS get a first round bye, and then the teams ranked 2-71 play each other based upon seedings, such that #2 plays # 71, # 3 plays # 70....and so on until #36 plays # 37?---in these cases it would be # 2 Dorman A vs. # 71 Temple, # 3 Charter A vs. # 70 Parkview B...and # 36 Kellenberg A vs. # 37 HHH West???

Or is there a different formula in use?

Also---does anyone know what time the playoffs start tomorrow?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Public safety diving » Sun May 31, 2009 12:53 am

Edward Powers wrote:So how do tomorrow's playoffs work---with 71 teams, will GDS get a first round bye, and then the teams ranked 2-71 play each other based upon seedings, such that #2 plays # 71, # 3 plays # 70....and so on until #36 plays # 37?---in these cases it would be # 2 Dorman A vs. # 71 Temple, # 3 Charter A vs. # 70 Parkview B...and # 36 Kellenberg A vs. # 37 HHH West???

Or is there a different formula in use?

Also---does anyone know what time the playoffs start tomorrow?

It's a double-elimination system, with all of the 6-4 teams starting in the loser's bracket. The system of byes is rather complex, as the schedules had to be made ahead of time with little knowledge of how many teams would actually make the playoffs.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Edward Powers » Sun May 31, 2009 1:05 am

Thank you. I was pretty sure it would be more complicated than the example I came up with.

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby closesesame » Sun May 31, 2009 11:24 am

I was once one of NAQT's strongest supporters, so I never thought I'd be saying this:

I agree with everyone in the quizbowl community that PACE is far more legitimate than NAQT. The rounds at PACE are too long, but the questions actually test academic knowledge, not Wheaties.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby ClemsonQB » Sun May 31, 2009 12:38 pm

closesesame wrote:I was once one of NAQT's strongest supporters, so I never thought I'd be saying this:

I agree with everyone in the quizbowl community that PACE is far more legitimate than NAQT. The rounds at PACE are too long, but the questions actually test academic knowledge, not Wheaties.


There's certainly a trade off though. The HSNCT's questions are poorer, but the NSC's game format and tournament format can turn out some pretty unfair results.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Public safety diving » Sun May 31, 2009 12:45 pm

ClemsonQB wrote:There's certainly a trade off though. The HSNCT's questions are poorer, but the NSC's game format and tournament format can turn out some pretty unfair results.

Actually, the NSC is fairer. The clock means that the per-round distribution will vary between rounds, and double-elim is not nearly as good as a round-robin playoff.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby ClemsonQB » Sun May 31, 2009 12:50 pm

hwhite wrote:
ClemsonQB wrote:There's certainly a trade off though. The HSNCT's questions are poorer, but the NSC's game format and tournament format can turn out some pretty unfair results.

Actually, the NSC is fairer. The clock means that the per-round distribution will vary between rounds, and double-elim is not nearly as good as a round-robin playoff.


Actually, some teams get eliminated from the NSC with only one loss, or at least I can think of an example of this happening in the past, which is completely unfair. Also, you bringing up the distribution has to do with the issues with questions and their distribution, which I noted as being poorer at the HSNCT. NAQT should have a set distribution for each game, not for the whole tournament, but that is another argument which has been brought up at numerous times in other threads.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby DumbJaques » Sun May 31, 2009 1:40 pm

Actually, some teams get eliminated from the NSC with only one loss, or at least I can think of an example of this happening in the past, which is completely unfair. Also, you bringing up the distribution has to do with the issues with questions and their distribution, which I noted as being poorer at the HSNCT. NAQT should have a set distribution for each game, not for the whole tournament, but that is another argument which has been brought up at numerous times in other threads.


The NSC tournament format no longer allows teams to be eliminated with only one loss, so there will be no repeats of what happened to Dorman last year. I don't think there's anything unfair about the NSC at this point.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby ClemsonQB » Sun May 31, 2009 1:45 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
Actually, some teams get eliminated from the NSC with only one loss, or at least I can think of an example of this happening in the past, which is completely unfair. Also, you bringing up the distribution has to do with the issues with questions and their distribution, which I noted as being poorer at the HSNCT. NAQT should have a set distribution for each game, not for the whole tournament, but that is another argument which has been brought up at numerous times in other threads.


The NSC tournament format no longer allows teams to be eliminated with only one loss, so there will be no repeats of what happened to Dorman last year. I don't think there's anything unfair about the NSC at this point.


Well, that's good. I've never really had any qualms about the NSC's game format either, I just remember hearing others complain about it (Daichi and maybe others have said things about the stretch round at some point).
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby JackGlerum » Sun May 31, 2009 2:10 pm

closesesame wrote:I was once one of NAQT's strongest supporters, so I never thought I'd be saying this:

I agree with everyone in the quizbowl community that PACE is far more legitimate than NAQT. The rounds at PACE are too long, but the questions actually test academic knowledge, not Wheaties.

I'm in the same boat. I only played in a few rounds, but I recall losing buzzer beaters on where Lady Gaga's name comes from, who coached Allen Iverson, and calculating a removable discontinuity--all in an elimination round.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby cdcarter » Sun May 31, 2009 2:33 pm

The teams left are DCC, Dorman, State College, and Charter. The "semi-finals" are happening now, but Charter is guaranteed into the finals, even if they lose to DCC. State College is playing Dorman now.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby dschafer » Sun May 31, 2009 2:45 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
Actually, some teams get eliminated from the NSC with only one loss, or at least I can think of an example of this happening in the past, which is completely unfair. Also, you bringing up the distribution has to do with the issues with questions and their distribution, which I noted as being poorer at the HSNCT. NAQT should have a set distribution for each game, not for the whole tournament, but that is another argument which has been brought up at numerous times in other threads.


The NSC tournament format no longer allows teams to be eliminated with only one loss, so there will be no repeats of what happened to Dorman last year. I don't think there's anything unfair about the NSC at this point.


Team A goes undefeated in their prelim and playoff bracket. Team B goes undefeated in their prelim and playoff bracket. Team A and Team B both win advantaged finals in their playoff bracket, meet in the final. Team A wins the final. Team B has been eliminated with only one loss.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Yellow-throated Honeyeater » Sun May 31, 2009 3:09 pm

NAQT has a better tournament format and match format. PACE has a better distribution and questions. Power matching is better than round robin divisions, double elimination is better than round robin divisions (especially if you don't have enough time for an advantaged final), not having one part bonuses is better than having one part bonuses, and making all tossups and bonuses the same number of points is better than variable point values.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby cdcarter » Sun May 31, 2009 3:53 pm

Hey NAQT, if you want your tournament to have like, any legitimacy what so ever, when you resolve a protest, maybe the person who gave the result of the protest, and was almost assuredly on the mysterious protest committee is aware of what the protests were. Then, don't resolve the protest that doesn't matter before resolving the protest that does. That might make people like your tournament more. I dunno though, the distribution and question quality of this weekend was egregious.

For what it's worth- an advantaged final between Charter and Dorman is going on right now.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby jonpin » Sun May 31, 2009 4:31 pm

Shcool wrote:NAQT has a better tournament format and match format. PACE has a better distribution and questions. Power matching is better than round robin divisions, double elimination is better than round robin divisions (especially if you don't have enough time for an advantaged final), not having one part bonuses is better than having one part bonuses, and making all tossups and bonuses the same number of points is better than variable point values.


Power matching is better than round robin preliminaries.
Double elimination is not better than round robin playoffs.
Non-variable points are better. If PACE wants to preserve their 1000-point total, I'd recommend twenty cycles of 20-10 blind powers with 3x10 bonuses.

ETA: PACE's tournament format looked awesome. The one thing I might've done if there were time and ability for two-ish more packets was have the championship brackets crossover top 3 or top 4 and then an advantage final.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Frater Taciturnus » Sun May 31, 2009 4:41 pm

Charter wins both nationals the year they decide to not play NAC.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Tower Monarch » Sun May 31, 2009 4:45 pm

jonpin wrote:
Shcool wrote:NAQT has a better tournament format and match format. PACE has a better distribution and questions. Power matching is better than round robin divisions, double elimination is better than round robin divisions (especially if you don't have enough time for an advantaged final), not having one part bonuses is better than having one part bonuses, and making all tossups and bonuses the same number of points is better than variable point values.


Power matching is better than round robin preliminaries.
Double elimination is not better than round robin playoffs.
Non-variable points are better. If PACE wants to preserve their 1000-point total, I'd recommend twenty cycles of 20-10 blind powers with 3x10 bonuses.

ETA: PACE's tournament format looked awesome. The one thing I might've done if there were time and ability for two-ish more packets was have the championship brackets crossover top 3 or top 4 and then an advantage final.

Yeah, I don't know where the "better tournament format" is coming from. Only at HSNCT can you beat a team 3 out of 4 times and have the winner of that 4th game declared champion. In what way is double elimination better than a round robin? Overall, once NSC switches to all 30-point bonuses, I see no need for HSNCT as is. NAQT needs to make some serious changes or there really isn't a point in having them declare a "national champion." Good job Charter, but I would definitely cite your NSC performance rather than your HSNCT performance in marking your accomplishments.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Matthew Jackson » Sun May 31, 2009 7:27 pm

Okay, so here's the deal.

NAQT has, for the past twelve or so years, run a high school national championship tournament. For many teams, this is their only national; for others, it's a second (or first, depending on chronological order) chance to prove their ability on a national stage after (or before, usually) another big national tournament. NAQT is a company of sufficient size and authority to declare a legitimate champion if it wants to run a tournament capable of doing so, with extremely well-handled logistics and a larger field draw than any other national.

It's becoming clear, however, that the NAQT HSNCT has some critical flaws that went unresolved this year, and will severely harm the tournament's legitimacy if they continue. I believe that NAQT does indeed want to give its largest trophy to a legitimate high school quizbowl championship team, and I understand that it wants to provide a fun tournament for all 100+ teams that show up. However, it's also true that over the past few years, NAQT hasn't come through with a tournament that's good enough for the teams most likely to win. Most of the top teams, and many other teams, have grievances with this tournament that will render NAQT unable to host a legitimate national championship if the policies of the company and the lower quality of HSNCT questions continue. I'll come out and say the following: I would like NAQT to be the best it can be for many teams, and I'm not personally threatening to leave and never come back, but as a member of a so-called top team, it seems as though the HSNCT questions were very unpopular among top teams in a way that has me worried about the company's future. When I go to HSNCT, I want to know that I'm in it to win a respectable high school trophy; I also want to know that I'm playing a field of nationals-quality teams that made it there on their own merits (or on wild-card bids that show their effort and love of the game). Both of those things were true this year - NAQT awarded a well-earned championship trophy to Wilmington Charter (congratulations, guys) and a well-earned second place trophy to Dorman (congratulations to you guys, too; that 600+ point advantaged final game was really impressive). The field also contained many nationals-level teams.

However, some of the top teams' grievances must be answered if they are to stick with HSNCT and not jump ship in the coming years, leaving NAQT with 100+ mediocre teams and a few good teams that want a trophy more than victory over a true nationals field. I'll start by saying that NAQT did get some things right this year: the elimination of list bonuses, 30-20-10s, and A/B/both or neither bonuses was a positive improvement. Even so, consider the following suggestions still apply (and most apply to regular season IS-sets as well). Here goes:

-First and foremost, the high proportion of non-academic (pop culture, sports, and general knowledge, which, put together, are colloquially referred to as "trash") questions and semi-academic (geography, current events, interesting general knowledge) questions needs to be significantly cut down. A national academic quiz tournament (from National Academic Quiz Tournaments, no less) should primarily test academic content, and many rounds felt as though they went up to 40 or 50% non-academic material. This made important games very swingy with less tossups on the big categories that the best high school quizbowl players study most. My solution for doing this would combine sports and general knowledge into the Pop Culture category and reducing them to fewer than 10% of the questions at HSNCT (as opposed to about 18% now), while Current Events and Geography would take up no more than 4 to 5 percent each (as opposed to about 7 or 8% each now).

-Second, (and this would help with players' perception of the first issue), the tossups and bonuses within academic categories should be more rigidly academic and more rigidly within their own categories. Cross-disciplinary giveaways were common at this tournament, and often rewarded a geography player during a history tossup, for one common example. The links between bonus parts were often tenuous at best (off the top of my head, the "people banned from traveling to certain countries" bonus in the finals comes to mind as rather bad). There is a difference between elements worth tossing up due to their significance in science (hydrogen, helium, carbon, uranium, etc.) and elements most notable for their name and atomic number (technetium, the element in the crossdisciplinary "111" tossup, etc.). The former can make good tossups; the latter cannot. Other tossups, especially in the science category, referred to people, devices, or weather phenomena (earthquakes? clouds?) that seemed anti-climactic at best and outright terrible at worst (did we really need a tossup on "purring" that gave its frequency in hertz?)

-Third, in conjunction with the former, it might make sense to increase the character limit on high school tossups to 500 characters (from 425), or something like 400 characters without spaces. Part of the problem with some tossups is that their short length led to difficulty cliffs and transparency, the latter of which made them easy to "figure out" without as much certainty behind them. Most other well-regarded high school question writing agencies (HSAPQ, PACE, high quality house writes) end up about a line longer than NAQT questions with pyramid-style descending difficulty and little outcry that the questions are too long. People pay for tournaments - national tournaments especially - so they can hear as much quizbowl as they can! (The argument has been made that getting through more tossups is a higher priority than having more information in each tossup. I don't see why the balance can't be re-struck towards slightly longer questions with a more uniform descent of clue difficulty, while still getting through at least 22/22 with good moderators.)

-Fourth, computational math questions (of the "Pencil and paper ready" variety) should be reduced significantly or eliminated altogether. I'm not going to rehash this argument here, but it suffices to say that these tossups aren't seen as anything like other quizbowl questions by top teams - the same top teams that graduate high-quality writers who would otherwise be interested in helping the company, but are alienated by math computation's presence. Between algebra, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus, calculus, and some linear algebra/number theory at the upper end, I believe there is enough academic mathematical content to be tossed up in a more conventional way if math computation were to be eliminated entirely. NAQT already does have tossups on mathematical subjects; my ideal fix would reduce math comp from 1.8/0 to 0/0 a game, increase theoretical math by .25/.25 or .5/.5 a game, and still have about 1.3 tossups to distribute among other academic categories (philosophy and social science).

-Fifth, if it's possible to reconfigure the system to do this, switch to a per-packet, rather than per-tournament, distribution of categories. Certain categories like social science and philosophy seemed entirely absent from many games, and the tendency for rounds to fluctuate widely in how academic they were was disconcerting. If that's not possible, make sure that every round has at least one tossup and/or bonus in each major category, and check each packet to make sure that the packet's distribution matches, with minimal margin of error, a correct fraction of the per-tournament distribution.


Well, there's where I stand. I had fun at this tournament, and don't mean to let my grievances imply that the tournament was entirely non-enjoyable. My apologies also for a lack of specific examples - once I have some amount of sleep and a final exam done, I plan to go through the set with more examples of things that went wrong and how to improve them.

Despite my frustrations, I'm more interested in an improved HSNCT than I am in losing faith. I'm willing to participate in the dialogue about how to improve it for the future in a reasoned and truthful manner, because I totally want the HSNCT to exist as a well-regarded national championship in the years to come.

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby something similarly dumb » Sun May 31, 2009 7:36 pm

Is Geography really considered only semi-academic? I can understand labeling Current Events as semi-academic, but Geo? Is this a widely held belief I'm not aware of?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Tower Monarch » Sun May 31, 2009 7:39 pm

Johannes Climacus wrote:Is Geography really considered only semi-academic? I can understand labeling Current Events as semi-academic, but Geo? Is this a widely held belief I'm not aware of?

It is very difficult to write a geography question that could be considered academic. There are many discussions on the board about this, but basically it's been agreed that Geo doesn't really deserve a position alongside more clearly academic subjects.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby master15625 » Sun May 31, 2009 7:43 pm

Oh man, it is so unfortunate that the Round 17 Match we played against DCC ended in a tie at 285-285. We ended up losing the tiebreakers 310-295. Our final placement could have been different had things changed, oh well. We had unfortunately some close losses in this tournament (tiebreakers with DCC, 10 points to Maggie Walker), so it could've changed completely.

The Iverson question was nice (reading Wikipedia can help sometimes :)) The question distribution doesn't seem that bad, just that the pop culture came in excess.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Novi2010 » Sun May 31, 2009 8:24 pm

Neil, what's the makeup of DCDS this year? I know you're a junior, but how many seniors, aside from Allen Huang do you have?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Charley Pride » Sun May 31, 2009 8:32 pm

everyday847 wrote:sweaty hell



I remember this, and I noticed its absence this year.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby at your pleasure » Sun May 31, 2009 8:32 pm

Is Geography really considered only semi-academic? I can understand labeling Current Events as semi-academic, but Geo? Is this a widely held belief I'm not aware of?

Geography per se is not un-academic; the problem is that many geography tossups tend twards pure atlas or worse almanac knowledge, which is only marginally academic in the the sense that there is no "atlas studies" or "almanc studies" major at most universities. A truly academic geography tossup would (to me) need to either have clues about geosystems, how landforms affected or have affected human affairs or "academic geography"(historical carthography, land use, the distribution of populations, and so on and so forth).
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby master15625 » Sun May 31, 2009 9:22 pm

Novi2010 wrote:Neil, what's the makeup of DCDS this year? I know you're a junior, but how many seniors, aside from Allen Huang do you have?


We had 5 seniors and one junior this year on our team.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby AlphaQuizBowler » Sun May 31, 2009 9:32 pm

Can someone explain how Dorman can come in second after beating Charter 3 times and then losing once?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Sun May 31, 2009 9:35 pm

AlphaQuizBowler wrote:Can someone explain how Dorman can come in second after beating Charter 3 times and then losing once?


The short version is that results against other teams count too, not just head-to-head. Full details will need someone who has actual access to the tournament stats.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Brian Ulrich » Sun May 31, 2009 10:07 pm

RyuAqua wrote:-Fifth, if it's possible to reconfigure the system to do this, switch to a per-packet, rather than per-tournament, distribution of categories. Certain categories like social science and philosophy seemed entirely absent from many games, and the tendency for rounds to fluctuate widely in how academic they were was disconcerting. If that's not possible, make sure that every round has at least one tossup and/or bonus in each major category, and check each packet to make sure that the packet's distribution matches, with minimal margin of error, a correct fraction of the per-tournament distribution.


Just for informational purposes, every round had either one or two social science questions, though a few were borderline category-wise, like the "Soviet government" bonus which counted as government and some foreign language stuff in linguistics.

There was only 7/7 philosophy in the tournament, so not every round had that.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby jonpin » Sun May 31, 2009 10:14 pm

RyuAqua wrote:I'll start by saying that NAQT did get some things right this year: the elimination of list bonuses, 30-20-10s, and A/B/both or neither bonuses was a positive improvement.

And let's hope they stay away from these in next year's IS sets.

-Second, (and this would help with players' perception of the first issue), the tossups and bonuses within academic categories should be more rigidly academic and more rigidly within their own categories. Cross-disciplinary giveaways were common at this tournament, and often rewarded a geography player during a history tossup, for one common example. The links between bonus parts were often tenuous at best (off the top of my head, the "people banned from traveling to certain countries" bonus in the finals comes to mind as rather bad). [...] (did we really need a tossup on "purring" that gave its frequency in hertz?)

This has happened to an increasing and increasing-annoying extent as the years have passed. I'd like to suggest a moratorium on any bonus that begins "FTPE, name these related..." They are gimmicky and bad. Also, my god, did that last question actually exist?

Most other well-regarded high school question writing agencies (HSAPQ, PACE, high quality house writes) end up about a line longer than NAQT questions with pyramid-style descending difficulty and little outcry that the questions are too long.

My personal guess on this: The type and caliber of teams going to PACE is less likely to complain about questions being TOO LONG than the type coming to HSNCT. This is inextricably tied in with field size. Any tournament of 150+ teams is going to have 20 or so coaches/teams that don't want a tossup to go on for longer than 20-30 seconds.

-Fourth, computational math questions (of the "Pencil and paper ready" variety) should be reduced significantly or eliminated altogether. Between algebra, geometry, trigonometry, precalculus, calculus, and some linear algebra/number theory at the upper end, I believe there is enough academic mathematical content to be tossed up in a more conventional way if math computation were to be eliminated entirely.
-Fifth, if it's possible to reconfigure the system to do this, switch to a per-packet, rather than per-tournament, distribution of categories.

I'll be less diplomatic on the last one. I don't care if you can "reconfigure the system" to make a per-packet distribution. If you can't, get a new system. The NAQT HS distribution page says at the bottom "The per packet column shows the per packet set numbers divided by the number of packets in the set. The total number of tossups in this category in a single packet will be this number either rounded up or down; the bonuses follow a similar constraint. In addition, a single packet set will never have a packet in which both of those numbers are rounded up and another in which both of those numbers are rounded down." I do not have any current-season packets with me at home right now, but I am 90% certain there have been IS packets that I've read in competition this year with 3 math calc tossups in the first 20. Seeing as how right now my job consists of sitting in a room at my school waiting for someone to ask me for tutoring, I may begin to go through a current IS set and count up to check that distribution. I expect it will differ wildly from what you have posted on a per-round basis.
On the math front, it has been my take that math calculation in and of itself is not terrible. It can be made pseudo-pyramidal in a way that NAQT has in the past tried to do and I'm not sure I see it as much anymore. In my opinion, you have two options with calc: (1) If you insist that any math calculation be as badly written as what you've done this year, get rid of it. (2) If you will write it well, it can stay, but it should be limited at 1 tossup per packet OR part of one bonus in the form of scientific math. I guess you do have a third option which is (3) keep writing 2 bad math tossups a packet and piss everyone off.

I've said it too many times at tournaments this year: "Every year, these guys make it harder for me to defend them." And yet I have to read a tossup that ends "For ten points, name this Roman god amalgamated with the Greek god Hermes."

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Yellow-throated Honeyeater » Sun May 31, 2009 10:17 pm

AlphaQuizBowler wrote:Can someone explain how Dorman can come in second after beating Charter 3 times and then losing once?


Dorman beat Charter twice the first day, which didn't really matter, since both teams finished at least 7-3. On the second day, Charter's only loss was to Dorman, while Dorman lost to Charter and somebody else. It was double elimination the second day, so Charter is the legitimate champion. The same thing could have happened with the PACE NSC playoff system if they played more rounds and used power matching the first day.

The reason to use double elimination in the playoffs is that it efficiently gets you to the point at which every team except one has lost two matches. There are no good reasons not to use it.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby at your pleasure » Sun May 31, 2009 10:24 pm

I've said it too many times at tournaments this year: "Every year, these guys make it harder for me to defend them." And yet I have to read a tossup that ends "For ten points, name this Roman god amalgamated with the Greek god Hermes."

To be fair, that's the sort of thing that could have been unintentional, although "Identified with" would have been a better word choice.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Sir Thopas » Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm

Brian Ulrich wrote:some foreign language stuff in linguistics.

Tossups on the circumflex are categorically not linguistics!
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby vandyhawk » Sun May 31, 2009 11:02 pm

RyuAqua wrote: (did we really need a tossup on "purring" that gave its frequency in hertz?)


I don't think I'm overstepping my bounds in saying that in internal emails, several people notably opposed the inclusion of that question. Apparently it stayed in though.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Charbroil » Sun May 31, 2009 11:18 pm

Edit: Moved the Question related posts to the Question Discussion Topic

As the captain of a team which probably fits as well into the "silent majority" that NAQT caters to in its efforts to spread Quiz Bowl across America, I think that the fact that our opinions not only correspond greatly to many of the comments made previously might be noteworthy as representative of a greater trend. To give a picture of what we're like, we went 7-3 and were eliminated after going 1-2 in playoffs, and this was our first year ever playing NAQT.

Also, it's worth noting that this opinion is given with the qualification that we greatly enjoyed the tournament and the efforts that everyone in NAQT put forth in putting it on.

1/ Difficulty Across Rounds: Something I thought was a bit odd was that there seemed to be issues with difficulty across rounds. We're not a top flight team, so it's possible that the issue is just that we don't know the canon well enough, but it seemed strange that whereas we knew most of the giveaways and/or recognized the topics of the 1st playoff game, we knew barely half of them in the 3rd. The effect on our performance was palpable, since we came within 25 points of beating Bergen and lost by over 300 to the ostensibly lower seeded State College B.

2/Tournament Structure: Also, I have to admit, there were disadvantages to the tournament structure as a whole. Whereas the power-matching format is nice in theory, I can't help but feel that there might be some issues in a system where almost every one of the next 67 teams below us (including non-playoff teams) had better statistics than we did.

Edit: I forgot to mention that the teams we played were all genuinely at our level (except, obviously, DCC and State College B).

More seriously, though, I would have liked the chance to play for an actual numerical berth rather than a multi-way tie for 43rd. Not only would that give teams more Quiz Bowl and more accurately determine the best team, but playing 3 rounds and leaving seemed distinctly anticlimactic.

3/ Protests: Finally, on a minor note, how common is the rule that one can't protest what another team said? In the 1st playoff round, not only did we distinctly hear the other team say "apotosis" instead of "apoptosis," but so did the scorekeeper. If that's a well established Quiz Bowl rule with strong reasoning behind it, that's fine--but at the very least, if there's a dispute between the tournament workers, it seems that it would be preferable to read a new tossup to both teams.

Matt Jackson wrote:Despite my frustrations, I'm more interested in an improved HSNCT than I am in losing faith. I'm willing to participate in the dialogue about how to improve it for the future in a reasoned and truthful manner, because I totally want the HSNCT to exist as a well-regarded national championship in the years to come.


This thoroughly summarizes how I feel as well in qualifying my comments.
Last edited by Charbroil on Sun May 31, 2009 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Sun May 31, 2009 11:27 pm

Charbroil wrote:5/ Protests: Finally, on a minor note, how common is the rule that one can't protest what another team said? In the 1st playoff round, not only did we distinctly hear the other team say "apotosis" instead of "apoptosis," but so did the scorekeeper. If that's a well established Quiz Bowl rule with strong reasoning behind it, that's fine--but at the very least, if there's a dispute between the tournament workers, it seems that it would be preferable to read a new tossup to both teams.


Quick comment here: I'm pretty sure that the second "p" can be silent (http://www.bartleby.com/61/13/A0371350.html). If the protest were thrown out with no clear explanation that's not good, but if the moderator knew this (or had it written on the paper), then there's nothing wrong here.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Sun May 31, 2009 11:41 pm

I just returned from moderating this tournament. There were a number of good to excellent questions at this event; the majority of questions was at least passable. However, there were a ton of execrable questions that I'll mention after I find my list; when I say these questions were bad I mean to say that even were one to endorse a distribution where trash and at best tenuously academic general knowledge makes up 25% of a round (and in case you couldn't tell, I don't think one should) one would still find these specific trash and tenuously academic general knowledge questions to be low-quality. (And then there are difficulty swings.)

Between staff-side logistical flubs, team-side logistical flubs (which affected game-changing protests in the semifinals and finals!), and the aforementioned question quality issues, I can't endorse HSNCT as adequately differentiating between the top teams in the country. I really hope that it can be fixed, and I am prepared to work night and day so that that can happen, but I don't want NAQT to smile and nod and suppose that it's doing just fine because the middle 60% of teams are satisfied. This is a national championship, and to earn that moniker it should be satisfying the top 20%, too.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Sun May 31, 2009 11:42 pm

Anti-Climacus wrote:Geography per se is not un-academic; the problem is that many geography tossups tend twards pure atlas or worse almanac knowledge, which is only marginally academic in the the sense that there is no "atlas studies" or "almanc studies" major at most universities. A truly academic geography tossup would (to me) need to either have clues about geosystems, how landforms affected or have affected human affairs or "academic geography"(historical carthography, land use, the distribution of populations, and so on and so forth).


Douglas, I'll be interested to see your thoughts on the Geography Monstrosity set when it's posted.

Some of this is probably better for another thread, but I've made my thoughts on atlas clues and almanac clues clear before (notably in the "different kinds of geography clues" thread). In particular, the number of actual almanac clues in the HSNCT was tiny; I don't believe there were any in the classically time-wasting "this lake has a surface area of nearly 72 square miles" leadin form. Atlas clues, by contrast, are easy for players to pick up through history, biology, and anthropology (to name three disciplines with plenty of placenames in them).

I don't think it is tenable to hold both of the following positions simultaneously: "all atlas clues are pseudoacademic" and "there were too many geography clues (for which read: placenames?) in the history tossups."* (And note that I'm perfectly willing to accept proposed forms of distribution change that lump geography into history or social science; just that people shouldn't shy away from writing questions on places that are interesting and important because someone once wrote a terrible tossup on the Vinson Massif.)

*Edit: unless perhaps you believe that the history tossups themselves were overburdened with the names of insignificant places? In which case I have more work to do this summer than copyediting the heights of a couple mountains out of the geography tossups.
Last edited by bird bird bird bird bird on Sun May 31, 2009 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Charbroil » Sun May 31, 2009 11:45 pm

everyday847 wrote: ...but I don't want NAQT to smile and nod and suppose that it's doing just fine because the middle 60% of teams are satisfied. This is a national championship, and to earn that moniker it should be satisfying the top 20%, too.


Technically, we were on the bubble of the top 20% of teams, but I think that ranking was a trifle inflated, at least statswise, and I'd like to note that we agreed with most of the question quality issues brought up here.

everyday847 wrote:...(And then there are difficulty swings.)...


I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who noticed that--could you mention specifics here or in the Question Discussion thread?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Sun May 31, 2009 11:49 pm

jonpin wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:I'll start by saying that NAQT did get some things right this year: the elimination of list bonuses, 30-20-10s, and A/B/both or neither bonuses was a positive improvement.

And let's hope they stay away from these in next year's IS sets.


The 30-20-10 is officially gone from all levels of NAQT play.

Sometime this summer I will be asking the other NAQT members for comments on various other bonus formats considered "unusual" or "archaic." There will likely be a parallel commentary thread on this board.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:00 am

This was fun to come to the first time. We enjoyed it.

Some of the questions were great. Some sucked. Most were just okay. But we had a good time.

I will say that us winning our first game by 5 points ended up being a bad break... as we lost the next 5 in a row... then managed to win our last 4 games to even our record.

I'm not really sure what our 5-5 record means considering i think we ended up playing only 2 eventual playoffs teams... which is kinda odd. I think our 5 wins were against teams with a combined record of... 12-38. And oddly, our 5 losses were against teams with a combined record of... 28-22. But hey, we'll take the moniker of "tied for 72nd place" and run with it.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Postby etchdulac » Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:38 am

(Edited to correct Dorman's record vs. Charter from 3-1 to 3-2.)

I am a volunteer moderator who just got home from Chicago. I'm going to throw out a few thoughts from my experience. Please keep in mind that I have zero actual influence in NAQT, and I have no team-based biases in this fight. Nor do I mean to be overly critical of any individual.

Mainly, I'm disappointed, though I am not disappointed with anyone per se. I am disappointed that, after the wonderful efforts and extensive labor of many organizers, officers and 150 volunteers, that what (some? many? most?) witnesses to the championship final will remember was, by multiple accounts, a simple, split-second error on something beyond the reach of protest; a tragic end to a fantastic match.

(I feel obligated to admit it's possible that I am wrong about how many people noticed the error, or judged it to be an error.)

For those who weren't there... hopefully, there will be a podcast up soon to refer to; I was sitting so far back that I could not hear well what transpired (an issue in itself, but a relatively insignificant one). But what I did hear was the winning team's coach, with (by my judgment) genuine regret, respond to congratulations by conceding that they should not have won, because on the final (I believe) tossup of their 350-340 win, Henry Gorman's response was delayed by more than the allotted time. Sweeping NSC and HSNCT is a massive achievement, yet the circumstances in the latter left the victors' coach sensing an impending outcry. Yet there's certainly no blame on anyone with Charter.

While I am trying to be understanding about the pressure of the moment, the fact is, the 3-2-5 rule was stressed in the moderators' meeting more than anything else; it fell by the wayside in the decisive moment via a simple, human mistake that once made, could not be fixed.

When Dorman looks back and sees a champion they beat three times out of five, dominated in the advantaged final, with the last loss clearly put in question, they have a right to feel slighted, and I hope they see it as entirely accidental. As a volunteer, I feel that whatever work everyone did all weekend to make everything fair may be lost in the minds of many.

When this comes alongside a series of serious complaints about trash distribution, set-difficulty and set-distribution issues, and computation questions -- complaints that I tend to side with, in most instances -- I do fear the chance that NAQT, and its devoted laborers, won't get this turned around.

And when I hear complaints about trivial content, format issues, and watch the trophy go to the wrong team in the eyes of the winning coach, it creeps into my mind that these are things I bring up about the atrocity I decry most on these boards. And if anyone in the know perceives that HSNCT is moving even an inch towards the NAC end of the spectrum... I am saddened, and I can only hope that measures are taken to change that.

In any event, congratulations to two magnificent finalists... two worthy champions.
Last edited by etchdulac on Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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