Should middle school tournaments used timed rounds?

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Should middle school tournaments used timed rounds?

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:16 am

Will NAQT's middle school program use identical rules to all other official NAQT events? If so, it seems to me that perhaps in a highly disorganized circuit where timed matches are presumably unheard of, and very few teams have gotten the chance to have real experience with pyramidal questions, keeping the timed matches, along with the shorter amount of time to answer a tossup after you buzz in, could really badly backfire at nationals by overwhelming teams. I would strongly consider changing the rules to make things more player friendly for this event, which should mostly be made up of what are effectively brand new teams anyway.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08; University of Missouri '12
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:55 am

Middle school tournaments will use the standard NAQT official rules. Just like high school tournaments, individual tournament hosts are free to choose timed or untimed rounds as will best suit the teams in attendance.
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:11 am

I'm speaking more about nationals. I think more than anywhere, using official NAQT rules at this national tournament could be incredibly problematic or off-putting to teams in your target audience.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08; University of Missouri '12
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby Stephen Colbert » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:37 pm

Will the 2011 NAQT MSNCT use timed rounds? Am I the only person who views this as possibly problematic? Have any of the qualifying tournaments been on the clock? If so, I would love to hear about those experiences.
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:41 pm

Stephen Colbert wrote:Will the 2011 NAQT MSNCT use timed rounds? Am I the only person who views this as possibly problematic? Have any of the qualifying tournaments been on the clock? If so, I would love to hear about those experiences.


Yes, MSNCT will use timed rounds.

No, you're not the only one who has expressed concern about that fact.

Yes, some of the qualifiers have used timed rounds.
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby Stephen Colbert » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:49 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:Yes, MSNCT will use timed rounds.

No, you're not the only one who has expressed concern about that fact.

Yes, some of the qualifiers have used timed rounds.

Thanks for your prompt reply. I'm glad to see that some of the qualifying tournaments have used timed rounds, though the TUH seem low. I'm curious to see how middle school teams adjust to playing on the clock.
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby the return of AHAN » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:07 pm

GREAT SCOTT! I see it now. The champs of the linked tournament only heard between 13 and 17 TU a game, and 18 appears to be the most anyone heard. That high end isn't so bad, but I'll be incensed if an important game is decided on < 15 TU! OTOH, my A team powered the heck out of MS-01, so maybe that would lead to more TU being heard.
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:35 pm

I think it's a very safe bet that the MSNCT moderators will be faster than the moderators at a school hosting its very first pyramidal tournament.
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby Stephen Colbert » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:58 pm

I'm not so sure moderator speed will be the only factor in increasing the number of toss-ups heard each round. Players unfamiliar with timed rounds, especially middle school players, tend not to play with a sense of urgency related to being on the clock. Middle school teams (particularly the inexperienced) are more likely to use the maximum amount of time conferring on each bonus part, transition incredibly slowly from one question to the next, wait to be recognized by the moderator on toss-ups, etc. In general, they're trained to play the game at a somewhat slower pace. Sure, good moderators will prevent most of these occurrences. But, I would strongly urge NAQT to consider either extending the time period or doing away with the clock entirely.
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:12 am

Yeah, nothing has changed to convince me that timed middle school rounds isn't a bad idea.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08; University of Missouri '12
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby cvdwightw » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:22 pm

I'm going to make the possibly-radical suggestion, and I guess this is as good a place to do it, that NAQT strongly consider using ten-minute halves at all levels of competition. Yes, the middle school questions are shorter, but middle schoolers also have a tendency to do things that slow down the game, and especially at the local level, there's not a whole lot the moderator can do about it. At the high school level, NAQT questions have, on average, gotten both longer and more accessible, meaning that 20 tossups takes longer to read in 2011 than it did in 2001. This is especially a problem noted at HSNCT, where even competent moderators had difficulty getting through 20 questions last year and I shudder to think about the less-competent ones. Unifying the timing rules across levels also removes the timing dilemma inherent in high school tournaments using a D2 SCT/ICT set. Again, this is something I strongly encourage NAQT to explore.
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:11 pm

cvdwightw wrote:I'm going to make the possibly-radical suggestion, and I guess this is as good a place to do it, that NAQT strongly consider using ten-minute halves at all levels of competition. Yes, the middle school questions are shorter, but middle schoolers also have a tendency to do things that slow down the game, and especially at the local level, there's not a whole lot the moderator can do about it. At the high school level, NAQT questions have, on average, gotten both longer and more accessible, meaning that 20 tossups takes longer to read in 2011 than it did in 2001. This is especially a problem noted at HSNCT, where even competent moderators had difficulty getting through 20 questions last year and I shudder to think about the less-competent ones. Unifying the timing rules across levels also removes the timing dilemma inherent in high school tournaments using a D2 SCT/ICT set. Again, this is something I strongly encourage NAQT to explore.

A+. Also, eliminating the clock at competitive levels of play (national tournaments, sectionals) where the excitement or novelty or distinction of timed rounds aren't actually important to attract converts from some other type of quizbowl (or whatever the general argument is).
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:15 pm

Devil's advocate for a second: the major pro-clock argument is not "it's exciting for players who play timed rounds in non-NAQT formats!" but rather "timed rounds keep the tournament as a whole on a fixed schedule."

(I am entirely ambivalent about timed rounds at tournaments with high-quality staff pools- ICT, HSNCT, and I would argue MSNCT as well. The clock-delenda-est thing is for SCT, where we know the average moderator will have less experience.)
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby Auroni » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:18 pm

So long as NAQT is incredibly careful about designating which invited staffers are allowed to read and which are allowed to scorekeep, the tournament as a whole will go as scheduled with untimed rounds.
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Re: Should middle school tournaments used timed rounds?

Postby theMoMA » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:53 pm

If that's the concern, why not go with twelve-minute halves? Moderators can read at a reasonable yet still time-constrained pace, tender middle school ears won't have to hear super-fast reading, and the extra four minutes per round only add up to an extra hour at max.
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Re: NAQT's middle school program

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:40 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:(I am entirely ambivalent about timed rounds at tournaments with high-quality staff pools- ICT

I'm not. The argument NAQT has made in the past in favor of shorter tossups was that shorter tossups permits more tossups per packet, and that their division of effectively a fixed amount of clue-reading time among more tossups differentiates better than, or at the very least differentiates as well as, dividing that same reading time among fewer longer tossups. This all falls apart when there are just fewer clues per round. Harvard played two 21 tossup rounds at ICT--even though in those rounds, the two teams combined to power 9 and 10 tossups. Even though the round was being played unusually quickly, we only heard one more tossup than an ACF round, and therefore many fewer clues to differentiate. Now, of course, ICT lacks the college readers that staff HS- and MSNCT, but it's also a far smaller tournament. I'm not actually sure timed rounds* have as few deleterious effects, even at such events, as you claim.

*of course, if we go with Andrew's suggestion and implement timed rounds where there's rarely any danger that the whole packet doesn't get read because the time is so long, well, fine--separate issue. (Similarly, if a timer went off two minutes after each ACF round finished, no one would notice or care.)
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