Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

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Adventure Temple Trail
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Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

I would like NAQT to talk about the apparent large increase in children's and young adult literature in A-sets and IS-sets. Both of the NAQT high school sets I saw this year (IS-131A at FAcT; IS-136 at Connecticut state champs) had a silly amount of kids' lit; in the case of IS-136, all of the first ten packets had some form of children's lit either as an answer or a clue in a larger question. Frankly, I think it's gotten really excessive, and when it cuts into the Literature distribution it sends the message to new teams that (a) they should feel free to see the books they read in elementary/middle school as literature (b) it's impossible to fill out a high school lit distribution with accessible answers without resorting to a bunch of kids'/YA content. I thought good quizbowl had settled against both of those premises over a decade ago, and so this is confusing. From here on out, I suggest that NAQT code all children's/young adult literature as Pop_Culture and ensure that an excess of it doesn't develop between Literature, Pop_Culture, and Miscellaneous.
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by Important Bird Area »

I split this off from the question-specific discussion because it seemed worthy of its own thread.

1) It is likely that NAQT's 2014-15 distributions will somewhat reduce the quantities of YA literature (especially in A-series and MSNCT). We have noticed that there is a fairly sharp dropoff between widely-read young adult/children's literature and relatively obscure works that have caused some conversion problems.

2) That being said, we don't believe that switching the way questions are labeled within NAQT's distribution has meaningful pedagogical impact on how players experience our sets.
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by Cody »

I've never heard a team who attends our tournaments - from top to bottom - claim to like the barrage of children's/YA lit in IS sets. In fact, all I hear are complaints. If the intent of expanding children's/YA lit was to boost conversion, it's been a failure from the questions I've seen played. Part of it is that many questions - in both answerlines and clues - have little basis in what is actually popular, and part of it is the sheer amount of children's/YA lit; the former obviously being exacerbated by the latter. However, I see no reason that the questions currently produced will be more convertable if the amount of children's/YA lit is reduced anything but very significantly - preferably, to 0.
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

I don't see a problem with throwing in clues from children's/YA lit as clues in common-links or miscellaneous questions, but as Cody said, tossups purely on children's/YA literature tend to play poorly and seem to reduce the conversion rates on literature questions rather than raise them from what I've seen.
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by Important Bird Area »

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:tossups purely on children's/YA literature tend to play poorly
I'm not sure this is actually reflected in the conversion data (the three YA literature tossups in the 2014 HSNCT had a 96% conversion rate; MSNCT which for obvious reasons calls for significantly more YA lit, had an 88% conversion rate).
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

I'm willing to admit that I'm going entirely on anecdotal evidence here, but I've seen a few NAQT YA lit questions in IS-sets that a lot of good college players (and top HS teams like Dorman) would not have/did not convert.
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling »

bird bird bird bird bird wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:tossups purely on children's/YA literature tend to play poorly
I'm not sure this is actually reflected in the conversion data (the three YA literature tossups in the 2014 HSNCT had a 96% conversion rate; MSNCT which for obvious reasons calls for significantly more YA lit, had an 88% conversion rate).
I think, Jeff, this arises from the sample size problem--the YA lit chosen for HSNCT was likely extremely easy to convert at the end. The more YA lit you include, the more obscure it becomes, and I have borne frequent witness to good lit players on our circuit dropping YA lit questions. If you were to ask them personally about their opinion of it, as I have, they would very likely complain.
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by vinteuil »

List of Fighting Spirit characters wrote: good lit players
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:good college players (and top HS teams like Dorman)
I don't think that these are the target audience of YA lit questions.
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by Lefty734 »

Then who is?
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by TSIAJ »

Eh, I feel as though it's acceptable to a certain degree at MSNCT (maybe three tossups at most), but is a pretty bad idea on the high school level.
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by kmattix »

As a high school rising junior who just started quizbowl last year, it was cool to see some of the books and stuff that I actually read as questions. At least, when I first started playing. That being said, I think that YA lit is acceptable in maybe SCOP or IS-A sets at best, but past that, it gets to be a bit annoying. Reactions such as, "I can't believe they chose that as a tossup" frequently come about as a result. Just my 2 cents on it.
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by setht »

Hi all,

based primarily on considerations of conversion rates, we've decided to make slight but noticeable decreases in the amount of required YA lit in our middle school and high school sets. We've also decided to make it so that questions coded as YA lit cannot appear in the "miscellaneous literature" section of these sets.

The same conversion data also suggests that swapping out YA lit entirely for non-YA lit would be a bad move, and I think there are solid philosophical reasons for retaining some YA lit in these sets. I'll leave it there for now, but if anyone wants to discuss this further I'm happy to do so.

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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by TheDoctor »

kmattix wrote: YA lit is acceptable in maybe SCOP or IS-A sets at best
SCOP's novice set has never had a YA distribution. We're including a small amount in our MS set this year, but in general, we don't think it's necessary for high school packets at any level.
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Re: Children's and YA literature in NAQT packets

Post by Cody »

setht wrote:The same conversion data also suggests that swapping out YA lit entirely for non-YA lit would be a bad move, and I think there are solid philosophical reasons for retaining some YA lit in these sets. I'll leave it there for now, but if anyone wants to discuss this further I'm happy to do so.
Much like with the current YA lit in NAQT sets, there's a fundamental problem with using this conversion data to make decisions: NAQT is often writing literature questions that are too hard, which exacerbates the usual problem with literature (the fact that you mainly have to learn literature outside of the classroom, as opposed to, say, history or science). If NAQT were to take a more moderate approach in answer and clue selection, a lot of categories - including literature - would be much better converted and wouldn't need things like YA lit added in order to (supposedly, since it isn't working for the above reason) boost conversion.
Cody Voight (he/him), VCU ‘14. I wrote lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
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