The abilities of new players

Old college threads.
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The abilities of new players

Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:28 pm

Do you agree with these statements? Why or why not?

The incoming knowledge base of the average novice college player (let's say one between the 25th and 75th percentile in quizbowl ability in his or her first couple of collegiate tournaments) is roughly the same as what it was five years ago or ten years ago.

The quality of questions that we can reasonably expect in the average novice player's first few batches of questions (unedited by a more experienced player) has not risen markedly from five or ten years ago.

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Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:12 pm

This might be the first college thread I have something intelligent to say in (though it is not the first one that I have had something to say in).

Here are some reasons why incoming frosh are about the same as 5-10 years ago:
1) The high school game has not changed a lot. It has gotten bigger and better, but there was good hs quizbowl ten years ago, and there is bad hs quizbowl now.
2) A lot of college players did not play in high school.
3) Very few high school players write questions. There are some, and it is good that there are some, but there are very few.
4) The high school canon is very different from the college canon, to the extent such things exist. There are a large number of high school questions that could be answered by an average college graduate who didn't pay close attention to the liberal arts. The number is considerably smaller in college. Things that come up all the time in college never come up in high school and, to a lesser extent, vice versa. This makes it very difficult to write questions if you have not played a lot of college matches because you will put information early in the question that, unbeknownst to you, is known to a lot of college players.
5) The question standards in high school are very different. There are a lot of coaches/teams that prefer single-clue tossups. There are other coaches/teams that are so happy to see anybody attempt pyramidality that they are overjoyed when half the questions are decent.

My sense is that if you took a bunch of unedited packets written by college frosh ten years ago and compared them to such packets today, that the current ones would be better. However, you probably would have to read them closely to come to that opinion--it wouldn't be obvious in every question.

I also think that, with the spread of NAQT, there are more frosh showing up on college campuses with some sense of college quizbowl and some ability to play it. They wouldn't do any better at the Chicago Open then I did, but they at least shouldn't be shocked by college questions and players.