History Distribution

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Insolvency law of Canada
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History Distribution

Post by Insolvency law of Canada »

I've been looking at the History distributions for NAQT, PACE, and ACF, and it appears that PACE and ACF have a disproportionate amount of their questions about European History. In both cases, the ideal distribution is something around half of the history questions. Why is it so high?

Is it because Europe, or European derived countries, have dominated the world for the past 200 years or so? This seems like the most likely cause to me; however, it isn't enough justification to have half the history questions be about Europe. Why not America - who's been hegemonic for at least a generation - or China - who looks to be on the rise?
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Re: History Distribution

Post by MorganV »

When you think about it, America already has a disproportionate number of questions dedicated to it compared to the rest of the world - 1/1 per packet dedicated to a single country with only 350 years of history to draw upon.

Honestly, the easy answer is that European and American history is emphasized because high schoolers can be expected to know it more than Chinese history or what have you.
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Re: History Distribution

Post by AKKOLADE »

It's far more common for high schoolers to learn about European history than Chinese/Japanese/Australian/Burkinabe history.

vvv Bruce does better answering this than I did.
Last edited by AKKOLADE on Wed May 29, 2013 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: History Distribution

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

It's far more common for people in general to learn about European history than Chinese/Japanese/Australian/Burkinabe history. And there's a lot of material there to ask - there has literally been an entire tournament consisting of nothing but European history.

As somebody who has spent the last half decade writing a lot of college-level history questions, I'll second the point about America being the most over-represented country in the distribution. I find American history to be the most frustrating part of the distribution to write, because there's so little there in comparison to the rest of the world. I don't, however, view this as a problem or as something that should be corrected. It makes sense for American history to be 1/1, because that's also the history that we can expect Americans to know the best. (For Canadian or UK quizbowl, I think it makes sense for their local history to be equally disproportionately weighed in tournaments written for their country).
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Re: History Distribution

Post by geowzrd »

Being more of a history person, it does seem odd that in VHSL competitions, many packets seem to be either 1/3 history (mostly European and U.S.), or more recently 1/3 science, which can make the distribution unpredictable with no specific formula.
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Matt Weiner
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Re: History Distribution

Post by Matt Weiner »

The top-level VHSL distribution--that is to say, the total number of history, science, etc--is fixed per round and has not changed in around 15 years to my knowledge (certainly not since HSAPQ begin writing the questions in fall 2009). The balance of questions between tossups and directed parts can change on a random basis from round to round. The four math calculation parts are always directed questions, leaving 30 tossups and 16 directed parts to be filled by the other 46 questions. That means any individual question has a 15 out of 23 chance of being a tossup.

Year to year, some subdistributions (how much of science is chemistry) have changed, but they do not change within one competition year.
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