California Academic Learning Initiative
CALI is a collaboration between several California-based writers: Ankit Aggarwal, Aseem Keyal, and Bruce Lou of UC Berkeley, Corry Wang and Kevin Wang of formerly Arcadia and now Amherst College, Jason Cheng and Parikshit Chauhan of UC San Diego, Hidehiro Anto and Charlie Mann of UC Los Angeles, Kion You of Rancho Bernardo and Eddie Kim. Eric Mukherjee of University of Pennsylvania will also be overseeing the set during production. This team includes several experienced writers and editors who are eager to provide a quality set of questions for the enjoyment of teams all across the nation. The bulk of profits generated from mirrors of this set will go towards funding California's 2016 All-Star NASAT team.
As of the writing of this post (June 3, 2015), the set is 41% completed, with roughly 30% of those questions already edited. Our goal is to have this set completed, edited, packetized, and ready for play by September 13th, 2015. CALI will be available for use from the weekend of September 20th, 2015 to the weekend of May 21st, 2016. We are seeking mirror sites from every region in the country, and possibly overseas if the demand exists.
If you are interested in mirroring or using CALI, please email me at [email protected] and we'll work out the details. We will attempt to strike a balance between maximizing the number of teams that our tournament will reach and providing a fair national distribution of mirrors. Should there be multiple bids in one region, we will show a preference for the hosts who are most willing and able to achieve as many of these criteria as possible:
- Run a high-quality tournament that gives attendees their money's worth (organized, good number of guaranteed rounds for each team, run on time, fair scheduling)
- Maximize the number of non-house teams playing the tournament
- Reach out towards schools and teams less active in quiz bowl, and through outreach and this tournament expand good academic competition in your area
The set will consist of fifteen (15) packets of equal difficulty (no special "finals" packets) of twenty-two (22) tossups and twenty-one (21) bonuses each - tiebreaker questions will each be drawn from the literature, history, and science distributions. (i.e., TU 21 and 22 and Bonus 21 will always be a literature, history, and science question in some order).
Tossups will be five to six lines long (as close to 650 characters as possible, or 225 characters longer than the standard NAQT IS question). Tossups will be powermarked, should hosts wish to run a tournament with powers. Bonuses will be similarly length-controlled.
Electronic copies of this set may only be distributed by the editors of this set (or by tournament directors to their staffers). Requests for electronic copies of the set after the tournament is over should be directed to [email protected]. Question content is not to be discussed publicly until after the set has been posted online for public access (we will set up a private discussion forum for this set, available for access after you or your team has attended a mirror).
Our target difficulty is exactly regular high school difficulty. To accomplish this, we will be implementing a series of measures:
- A stylistic preference, when questions are harder, to have hard clues on easy answer lines. The editors will control the answer line selection so that the vast majority of tossup answers would be uncontroversial on an NAQT IS set.
- A rough difficulty quota: for every tossup or bonus we deem harder than we want the overall set to be (exactly regular difficulty), we will include a corresponding tossup or bonus we judge is more forgiving than we'd expect from a set of this difficulty in the same round.
- Bonuses will be strictly controlled so that overall difficulty from question to question will be as even as possible.
- Each question will go through several editing phases and will have, by the time the set is finished, passed through the scrutiny of every member of our writing team.
- We will be (and have been) playtesting our questions on a wide variety of players of intentionally varying experience and taking close account of their feedback.
Subject distribution is as follows (22 tossups and 21 bonus questions per round. Tiebreaker tossups 21 and 22 and tiebreaker bonus 21 will always be Literature, History, and Science, although not necessarily in that order) :
4.67/4.33 Literature: 1.4/1.3 American, 1.2/1 British, .67/.67 European, .47/.4 World, .9/.9 Misc.
4.67/4.3 Science: 1.1/1.1 Biology, 0.7/0.7 Chemistry, 1.1/1.1 Physics, .5/.5 Math, 0.25/0.2 Mixed, .7/.7 Other
4.67/4.3 History: 1.9/1.7 American, 1.4/1.3 European, .9/.9 World, .5/.4 Misc.
2.5/2.5 Fine Arts: 1/1 Visual (emphasis on painting), 1/1 Music, 0.5/0.5 Other (including Opera and Jazz)
1/1 Religion: 0.5/0.5 Judeo-Christian, 0.5/0.5 Other
1/1 Mythology: 0.5/0.5 Greco-Roman, 0.5/0.5 Other
1/1 Thought (including but not limited to philosophy, economics, and social science)
1/1 Geography: 0.36/0.36 American, 0.14/0.14 European, 0.5/0.5 World
1/1 Current Events and Civics
0.5/0.5 Trash/Fun Misc.
We are excited to provide a high-quality experience to all parties interested in quiz bowl, and hope you will help us make CALI a success!