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Packet Distribution Form

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:57 am
by bdavery
The attached form is intended to improve question distribution both within a packet and within a tournament. Editors may use multiple copies to ensure, for example, that in a 10-round tournament, they have more than (say) 2 world history questions but only 10 (say) chemistry questions.

When putting together a packet, write in the number of questions in each category (i.e, 3-4 science, 3-4 lit, etc.) As you place a question, mark the subcategory to indicate it is now in the packet.

Interested users are welcome to improve or adjust the form to, for example:

A) fit more rounds on a single page [now, there are only 2] and/or adjust the spacing to make it easier to write on.

B) move subcategories [if you don’t want current events under “miscellaneous”, move it to “social studies”, etc.]

C) remove categories not used in their event (such as math or RMP)

D) include the next level below the main categories listed [break out US history into pre- and post-Civil War, etc.].

Significant improvements to the form should be posted in this thread so all can benefit.

Re: Packet Distribution Form

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:04 pm
by Dan-Don
Mr. Avery, where would some of your tossups go on this form? For example, I'm wondering about things like tossups that are just lists of ANSWER: shades of blue or ANSWER: shades of red. Would the The Mad Hatter be under lit? Does computational math include tossups on seven such as "Draw a tic-tac-toe grid. Fill in the numbers 3, 9, 5, 6, 1, 2, 4, 3. If this were a standard sudoku grid, what number is missing?" Or how about cross-disciplinary foreign language/drivers ed like translating the French term for airbag into English?

(These are tossups from your 2008-2009 IHSA-format league set.)

Re: Packet Distribution Form

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:15 pm
by rjaguar3
My method (used for WN frosh/soph 2010) uses a computer. For reference, I was working with a modified version of the 2009-10 IHSA distribution.

1. Calculate how many questions you'll need for each subcategory.
2. Write the questions.
3. Create a spreadsheet with every question listed (I keep a brief note of the answer for a toss-up or the topic for a bonus to avoid conflicts.)
4. For each category:
a. Decide the minimum number of questions you need in each subcategory.
b. Take each subcategory and randomly assign (number of rounds)*(min qs from subcategory) to each packet.
c. Take the remaining questions and assign those to packets at random, as evenly as possible (i. e. the number of questions per packet differs by at most one for each subcategory and category).
5. Internally randomize the packet. When I randomized WNFS, I had a few guidelines to prevent randomness from appearing unfair:
a. Miscellaneous/pop culture would appear only in the first half
b. No toss-up is paired with a bonus from the same category (this applies to paired-bonus formats like IHSA)
c. No two consecutive toss-ups are from the same category.
d. No two consecutive bonuses are from the same category.
e. The number of toss-ups and bonuses in each category per half is either the same or differs by one.
f. The total number of questions in each category per half differs by at most one.

Re: Packet Distribution Form

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:51 pm
by cvdwightw
So I looked at this file and I'm not particularly whelmed by it. An answer document does pretty much everything this does, and more, in a way that streamlines the process much better than this file does. For the uninitiated, an answer document is basically a spreadsheet file in which you write the answers to every question you've written or intend to write for the tournament. You can use a basic Excel sheet that you keep on your own computer (I do this when I'm responsible for writing/editing only a few categories), or a Google Spreadsheet that you share with all of your co-authors/co-editors (I do this when part of a large writing team). In some cases, for instance this year's ACF Regionals, I've used a personal Excel sheet to keep track of everything in my categories and a Google Spreadsheet to coordinate from a packet-based view. My guess is that >99% of people who have worked with answer documents don't want to work with anything else except perhaps a custom online system like NAQT and HSAPQ have (that <1% is for the possible time that Ryan Westbrook forgot to attach the Excel sheet with the Word files). There are two basic ways to make an answer document, which depend on the type of distribution:

1) Set distribution per packet. The simple way to do this is to separate the answer document into sheets for tossups and bonuses, then place the packets in either rows or columns and the subcategories on the other axis.
2) Variable distribution per packet. The simple way to do this is to separate the answer document into sheets for top-level categories, then place the packets in either rows or columns and the subcategories/question types on the other axis.

You can click this link to view a prototype of the second kind of answer document

Things that the answer document allows you to do that you can't do with this file:
1) Select answers and look at distributional balance before you start writing questions.
2) Quickly search for repeat answers.
3) Collaborate with multiple co-authors or co-editors, including leaving notes for yourself and/or your co-editors.
4) Mark the stage of each question (answer selected, written, edited, edited + proofread, etc.) as you go through the writing process.
5) Ensure that you never accidentally throw the same question into two different packets.
6) Account for who wrote what questions.
7) Other important things that I'm forgetting but which someone will doubtlessly remind me of.

Re: Packet Distribution Form

Posted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 3:38 pm
by mlaird
I think what Bryce posted is mostly for people who reuse questions for different types of sets, like the large companies that aren't NAQT and HSAPQ do. That way they tailor their sets to specific needs of customers, rather than just putting out a 15 round set with a set distro and format. This is why such providers are alluring to people who only play their state formats.