IHSA Advisory Committee

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dtaylor4
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by dtaylor4 »

mrgsmath wrote:All of this misses my original point. My contention was that having final clues that 80% of the "people in room" can answer, as opposed to 80% of the questions being answerable by prepared teams is diluting the quality of the question set. I hold to my Mark Twain example. Is it not reasonable to expect out of 10 prepared Varsity players, that one of them should get Mark Twain with a final clue of "The Celebrated Leaping Frog...." as opposed to "Tom Sawyer." And that the round where it goes dead is indicative of two teams that need to step up, rather than the questions step down. I am not advocating for hard questions that no one can answer, I am suggesting that questions reflect a quality of education we can reasonably expect from our players.
Allow me to poke holes in your argument. I think someone else tried making this point, but I'll do so again: you are only looking at the giveaway. A tossup is more than just the giveaway. Average teams should be able to get it before FTP. The difficulty of a tossup is determined by the totality of the clues, along with the answer line. A tossup on Twain for high school is perfectly fine, but depending on the tournament, the clues may have to be harder across the board. To branch over to history, imagine a tossup where the Conway Cabal is the giveaway for George Washington. Easy answer? Yes. Tossup difficulty? Way up there.

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CometCoach72
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by CometCoach72 »

mrgsmath wrote:
Justifying tossup clues that are so easy that anyone can get them, just so we can hear the bonuses seems to place the focus on the questions and not on the players. If this is our standard then why not adopt the format that requires that all bonuses be read on an alternating basis between teams without rebound. If you contend that this would remove the reward for getting the tossup, I would counter that the tossup lost its value when the writer made it so easy.

It is not my belief that tossups be made difficult for the sake of difficulty, but that the level of difficulty reflect the level of education. Having final clues that are answered by 80% of Jr. High students is not acceptable for a Varsity round, and if that is what is necessary for bonuses to be heard then we are in big trouble.
I couldn't disagree more about the giveaways in a toss-up. I agree with the poster who wrote that given a good question, it will be answered correctly prior to the giveaway. I firmly believe that this is a player's game, and giveaway clues at the end of a pyramidal toss-up allow players to play. The consequence of a correct toss-up answer, the bonus question, also allows players to play. All of my students would rather answer questions than let them go dead. I'd rather have questions that appropriately challenge our students and allow them to shine than have questions where the final score has both teams in double digits or one team has absolutely no chance because the questions are buzzer beaters. The difficulty Mr. Grant mentions should match the level of education (including the giveaway clues), so we do agree on that for sure. I'm certainly not suggesting that all of the toss-ups should get answered in every match, I'm suggesting that the questions should be appropriately challenging and may the best team win.

We tried that alternating format for "bonus" questions at a certain tournament this year in Illinois that shall remain nameless. It was, in this coach's opinion, a complete disaster (I say that as a coach of a team that got the "pleasure" of playing two Saturdays in that format). If anything, that particular choice of format drove up the value of a toss-up and completely defeated the purpose of a bonus question. Perhaps another format might have a different effect closer to the one Mr. Grant suggests above.
Jay Winter
Greenville HS (IL) Scholastic Bowl Coach and Chief UN Translator for Math
Decatur MacArthur Class of 1990 - Illinois State Class of 1994 - MS Ed SIU Edwardsville 2010
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by CometCoach72 »

Dan-Don wrote:
mrgsmath wrote:I am suggesting that questions reflect a quality of education we can reasonably expect from our players.
And so this comes back to the great question of whether quizbowl is supposed to be a test of what we learn in school or our own intellectual curiosity.
At the risk of this thread having more tangents than a trig book...

does the truth about the difference between Scholastic Bowl and Quiz Bowl lie somewhere in the middle of what Dan-Don is suggesting?
Jay Winter
Greenville HS (IL) Scholastic Bowl Coach and Chief UN Translator for Math
Decatur MacArthur Class of 1990 - Illinois State Class of 1994 - MS Ed SIU Edwardsville 2010
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by Stained Diviner »

CometCoach72 wrote:
Dan-Don wrote:
mrgsmath wrote:I am suggesting that questions reflect a quality of education we can reasonably expect from our players.
And so this comes back to the great question of whether quizbowl is supposed to be a test of what we learn in school or our own intellectual curiosity.
At the risk of this thread having more tangents than a trig book...

does the truth about the difference between Scholastic Bowl and Quiz Bowl lie somewhere in the middle of what Dan-Don is suggesting?
My thoughts were actually going in another direction. In Scholastic Bowl, everything is askable, so there is no reason to get rid of Drivers Ed, and Music questions should include anything that makes noise. Writers are expected to push the boundaries of what is considered academic. In Quiz Bowl, the goal is to be as academic as possible, so the categories, subcategories, clues, and answer space are selected to focus on content that is almost without question academic.

As far as the discussion above is concerned, keep in mind that you are discussing an extreme case--there are very few lit clues that lots of bad teams know, and Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer for Twain is one of them. If I was writing the question, I probably would include that clue at the end, but keep in mind that it probably would be the easiest lit clue, and one of the easiest clues period, that teams would get throughout the day. Also, as stated above, most teams wouldn't get it because somebody would answer the question before that point. Actually, if I was editing a tournament, this would be the type of thing I would put in a tiebreaker, in case you have a match that is tied 40-40 after twenty questions.

Adding: To paraphrase Bobby Kennedy, Scholastic Bowl coaches look at Family and Consumer Sciences and ask, "Why not?" Quiz bowl coaches look at Family and Consumer Sciences and ask WTF.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by mrgsmath »

I apologize, when I stay up too late I forget that frogs jump and not leap. But the issue of question difficulty did originate out of the Rock and Roll issue, since my main objection to R&R as Fine Arts was that it seemed to me to simply be an effort to allow weak teams a way to answer a question correctly and not study the actual subject.
Mark Grant
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by Dresden_The_BIG_JERK »

mrgsmath wrote:I apologize, when I stay up too late I forget that frogs jump and not leap. But the issue of question difficulty did originate out of the Rock and Roll issue, since my main objection to R&R as Fine Arts was that it seemed to me to simply be an effort to allow weak teams a way to answer a question correctly and not study the actual subject.
As a small part of the distribution, 1/1 or so a tournament, I really have no problem with it. Nobody is arguing Lady Gaga or the Black Eyed Peas should be going into FA, but the Beatles? Chuck Berry? I can see it. At some point the music does become so ingrained in our culture that it crosses the line...I really don't mind.
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by the return of AHAN »

Westwon wrote: Adding: To paraphrase Bobby Kennedy, Scholastic Bowl coaches look at Family and Consumer Sciences and ask, "Why not?" Quiz bowl coaches look at Family and Consumer Sciences and ask WTF.
Quote-of-the-month voting has a new leader in the clubhouse...

David Reinstein, FTW.
Jeff Price
Barrington High School Coach
Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by mrgsmath »

Dresden_The_Moderator wrote:
As a small part of the distribution, 1/1 or so a tournament, I really have no problem with it. Nobody is arguing Lady Gaga or the Black Eyed Peas should be going into FA, but the Beatles? Chuck Berry? I can see it. At some point the music does become so ingrained in our culture that it crosses the line...I really don't mind.
In the real world I would agree, but we are talking about IHSA. The Beatles, Chuck Berry, and the rest of the Hall of Fame would be a welcome replacement for many of the questions in the Miscellaneous Category, but in my opinion not FA.

To Jay: The format of seperate bonuses is common to many states and meets, while I don't find it appealing myself, my suggestion was made for those who feel the Bonuses need to be heard, and therefore justifies "giveaway" tossups. I feel bonuses should be earned and that giveaways devalue them. I am not advocating 60-40 rounds only that final clues reflect some level that is reasonable for high school students. In fact the very suggestion by some that most quality teams never reach the giveaway only supports my position, since the giveaways are not heard in those cases anyway.

On This Subject I Shall Say No More
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

mrgsmath wrote:In fact the very suggestion by some that most quality teams never reach the giveaway only supports my position, since the giveaways are not heard in those cases anyway.
No, it doesn't; it means that the presence of the giveaways doesn't damage or insult good teams, while it educates precisely those teams that need it.
Andrew Watkins

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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by TheDoctor »

mrgsmath wrote:I feel bonuses should be earned and that giveaways devalue them.
The disconnect in our philosophies stems, I think, from our opinion of what is important in a match. You clearly believe that toss ups are the most important questions with which to test players. I respectfully disagree. In my opinion, toss ups, while important, serve primarily as portals to the demonstration of deeper knowledge in bonuses. I'm not saying that bonuses should not be earned. Far from it. What I am saying is that, if it is not possible for most bonuses in a round to be heard, you have a badly written packet on your hands. If you have two inexperienced teams--the "Team C" previously outlined--playing each other (a situation that is extremely common in novice tournaments where pyramidality is most sorely needed), you need to allow for those teams to hear questions for the purpose of learning. You need to allow inexperienced teams to hear both toss-ups and bonuses to help them improve their game.

Essentially, what I am saying is this: There is a reason that bonuses are worth more points than toss ups. Bonuses (well-written ones, at least) require the demonstration of increasingly deeper knowledge, whereas toss ups are made to test knowledge on a subject that is generally well-known and curricular. Bonuses require deep knowledge; toss ups reward, but do not require depth. Teams must earn the right to hear a bonus, yes, but you need to include easier clues to allow for many teams to earn that right. You never write for only one level of play, and failing to write for inexperienced teams is a symptom of poor writing most often observed in QG and Platypus-type packets.
Kristin Strey
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by Dresden_The_BIG_JERK »

TheDoctor wrote:...a symptom of poor writing most often observed in QG and Platypus-type packets.
This is the Godwin's Law of HSQB
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by TheDoctor »

Granted. My apologies. :smile:
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Coach Grant, it seems to me that perhaps, as you have been coaching a team that is successful enough to win tournaments, that maybe its easy to lose sight of the fact that a very, very small number of teams are particularly talented at the high school level, when you consider that there are probably thousands of quizbowl teams out there. When you are surrounded by success, and you are frequenting a board that often self selects its users to be those who are already interested enough in quizbowl to try and improve, it is extremely easy to lose sight of the fact that some teams literally know nothing about basic material that is not only quizbowl famous, but which anybody outside of quizbowl should know too. It took me until I had graduated and directed two tournaments for this fact to really sink in, since now I was an objective observer and not an active participant, and a lot of the teams that came to my tournaments were inexperienced. Would you believe me if I said a room of 8 players heard the giveaway "For 10 points, name this body... that orbits the Earth" and was not able to identify the moon? That literally happened in a game I read for two local teams. There are many, many more cases I have observed of things we think are easy going totally dead even upon hearing the standard giveaways, like tossups on Eisenhower, or Mozart, or surface tension, or Voltaire. It is clear to me that we already are at a point where most teams don't know much about basic material, and that until we have many, many more teams who we can feel confident will know all of the giveaways in a set, it would be disastrous to advocate removing any of those giveaways that are already going dead at high rates.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by mrgsmath »

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:Coach Grant, it seems to me that perhaps, as you have been coaching a team that is successful enough to win tournaments, that maybe its easy to lose sight of the fact that a very, very small number of teams are particularly talented at the high school level, when you consider that there are probably thousands of quizbowl teams out there. When you are surrounded by success, and you are frequenting a board that often self selects its users to be those who are already interested enough in quizbowl to try and improve, it is extremely easy to lose sight of the fact that some teams literally know nothing about basic material that is not only quizbowl famous, but which anybody outside of quizbowl should know too. It took me until I had graduated and directed two tournaments for this fact to really sink in, since now I was an objective observer and not an active participant, and a lot of the teams that came to my tournaments were inexperienced. Would you believe me if I said a room of 8 players heard the giveaway "For 10 points, name this body... that orbits the Earth" and was not able to identify the moon? That literally happened in a game I read for two local teams. There are many, many more cases I have observed of things we think are easy going totally dead even upon hearing the standard giveaways, like tossups on Eisenhower, or Mozart, or surface tension, or Voltaire. It is clear to me that we already are at a point where most teams don't know much about basic material, and that until we have many, many more teams who we can feel confident will know all of the giveaways in a set, it would be disastrous to advocate removing any of those giveaways that are already going dead at high rates.

I know I said I was done, but this is the best case I have heard presented for this cause and I feel obligated to acknowledge it. I do see the need in cases such as those you have cited to help weaker teams. I do however think at some point we must strive to elevate rather than accomodate, and I draw my line at :grin: :grin: :grin: "Tom Sawyer" :grin: :grin: :grin:and perhaps "...name this element with atomic number 1 and chemical symbol H." :aaa:
Mark Grant
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by Cheynem »

My general feeling on "elevate" vs. "accommodate" means that we should reward academic knowledge. It would be utterly inappropriate to use "sounds like train" as a giveaway for Mark Twain or a trash clue for "hydrogen" or something like that. However, the fact that Twain wrote "Tom Sawyer" or that hydrogen is atomic number 1, symbol H are legitimate academic facts. More to the point, as Charlie is alluding to, I bet there are a number of teams that could not provide the answers of Twain or hydrogen given those facts. I believe the vast majority of high school questions, especially for regular season events, should feel comfortable using broad giveaways when appropriate.
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Re: IHSA Advisory Committee

Post by kayli »

I think that giveaways should be different for different strata of competitive play. For example, it would be acceptable for a novice tournament to have a giveaway that is "name this author of Tom Sawyer" while in a regular difficulty, state-championship, or national championship question it would not be. The giveaway clues should be gettable for almost all teams, but it shouldn't be insultingly easy. I think that any given tossup should be converted only about 80% of the time. The other 20% is so that teams don't get complacent. If you didn't get a tossup on someone you should have known about, then gosh, maybe it's time you really learned about that person. Tossups are great for teaching, and they're also great for pointing out holes in knowledge.
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