To try to better get my point across and perhaps make my ideas clear, I've provided a short explanation and a long explanation of what I'm trying to say for several of my points in this post.
whitesoxfan wrote:"Most" math questions are bad is an exaggeration. But even in some high school sets that are otherwise good, the percentage of bad questions often approaches 50%. There is indeed a wealth of evidence (See: IMSANITY 2, LIST III) that lots of math can be written and still be good.
SHORT: WHERE'S THE BEEF?
LONG: You have yet to produce a significant wealth of evidence that demonstrates that 50%, or anything near that, of math questions that are produced by otherwise good writers and editors are bad. Throwing random numbers out there without empirical evidence really has not place in any sort of rational discussion. Also citing a set (IMSANITY II and really LIST III, as this year's LIST was LIST II) that no one except for the producers of said set have seen as evidence that good math questions can be written is also a terrible way to go about proving a point and should not be used in a rational discussion.
Finally, the writer of IMSANITY 1 Math had little experience with playing/coaching quizbowl, and no experience whatsoever with writing quizbowl questions. A writer of this type produced better math questions than most of the math questions written by experienced writers with average math knowledge
SHORT: SHOW ME THE MONEY!
LONG: Also you offer no real, saying "This set had good math," because the people who wrote it think that it is good does not consitute valid evidence, evidence that the math in IMSANITY I was better than the average math produced by good editors.
Let's look at the first math question that I found in last year's IMSANITY:
IMSANITY Round 1 TU 3 wrote:The \"wisted" this is a 3-dimensional parametric curve. Casus irreducibilis refers
to the situation when the roots of a polynomial of this type are all real but
require the use of complex numbers to solve for. Their roots can be found
with * Cardano's formula, but the fact that the roots tend to not be constructible renders
unsolvable two of the three problems of ancient Greek geometry, including trisecting an
angle. Polynomials of this type have exactly one in
ection point and have no maximum or
minimum. FTP, give this adjective describing things with degree 3.
ANSWER: cubic (prompt on \degree 3" before the giveaway)
SHORT: TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL!
LONG: The answerline for this question is fine. Almost anyone, except for maybe some freshman, should know what a "cubic" function is, therefore, if this question has any problems with it it is not going to be for the reason that you mentioned (i.e. the answerline is too hard). That being said, this question does have some major accessibility issues.
You claim that Math should have a greater representation in a QB round mainly because it is taught to everyone. This is a point that I don't dispute and I do genuinely believe that there is more room for Math in QB; however, this question is not what one would expect from someone working under that belief. That is because this question uses exactly two lines of clues that I'd reasonably expect a HS student to learn in math, both coming at the end, and the first one relies on AP Calculus knowledge, which most students simply do not have. If I was writing a question on George Washington and did such a thing people would scream at me for writing what amounts to an inaccessible TU on George Washington and would label that question as "bad," the same goes for this one. Just to be clear, no amount of desired "cannon expansion" will make this TU difficulty appropriate as using similar principles to write a question in any other category would produce a similarly bad question. Now is this a better TU than the terrible one that you produced? Yes, but I would never categorize it as "good."
Here is another math question from the same packet:
IMSANITY Round 1 TU 19 wrote:This is the smallest number of people needed to guarantee at least a 50 percent
chance that some two will share the same birthday. At the 1900 International
Congress of Mathematicians, David Hilbert set forth this many problems as a
challenge to twentieth century mathematics and Book I of The Elements begins
with this many basic definitions, including \point" and \line". Excluding the
* initial arrangement, there are this many ways to reorder four books on a shelf. Itself a
Germain prime, FTP, name this number which proves that 11 is a Germain prime on account
of it exceeding the double of 11 by 1.
SHORT: RINSE AND REPEAT!
LONG: To begin with, this question shares, to a greater extent, the problem that this TU had in the Once more this TU is significantly harder than any appropriate HS difficulty question should be. This TU uses two clues that really anyone taking math in HS will know, I'm discounting the first clue as, although it is probably used as an example when people are teaching probability hardly anyone will remember it. Your giveaway suffers the problem that it is very difficult to parse at QB speed as you took a seemingly simple concept that could be written as "For 10 points, name this number that is equal to 11 times 2 plus one" and said "exceeding the double of 11 by 1," which is further complicated by the Germain prime junk that you muked the rest of the giveaway with. This question is made further difficult to parse as you add in superflous clues such as "including point and line," which in no way help a player answer the question. With the exception the inaccessibility issue this question's greatest problem is that half of it doesn't even test actual math knowledge. Instead you ask for the number problems that David Hilbert, as if HSers learn about Hilbert's problems in a classroom setting or really more than a tiny percentage of them learn about them at all (when I say this I'm implying that it is less than the percentage that you'd like to have buzzing in on a second line clue), set forth. You then go on to ask about the number of definitions that Euclid put forth in Book 1 of The Elements
, as if the number of definitions that Euclid used is really that important to understanding Euclidean geometry (what is important is the definitions themselves). If you don't understand why using those clues are frowned upon then think of it as it applies to different categories. I'd be lambasted if, in a TU on The Old Man in the Sea
, I used, as a clue, "This book was published in 1952." That clue in no way tests "important" literary knowledge on The Old Man and the Sea
.The only thing that makes the clues in the TU on the number 23 better is that they are uniquely identifying.
If you can get writers with decent writing knowledge and lots of math knowledge (such as the IMSANITY 1 and LIST III writers),
SHORT: MAX ROCKS MY QUESTION WRITING SOCKS!
LONG: LIST II has a lot of good math questions in it and that is partially because Max Schindler is very good at math, but, and I'll say this again and I think that he'd agree with me on this point, the main reason as to why LIST II had good math is not because of his vast knowledge of math, but rather because he is a very good editor and he has good writers helping him out, something that he has demonstrated by producing good questions across all categories. In other words, LIST II really doesn't support your claim as Max Schindler has much more writing knowledge than what most would classify as "decent."
or a writer with lots of math knowledge and quizbowl writing knowledge (Jonah Greenthal), the math questions would be far superior to most of the ones being written in quizbowl today.
No one contests this, in fact this is pretty much just a stronger version of what I am saying (You've added the condition that they have a lot of math knowledge which of course helps. I even said this earlier). If this was your original position on the matter than you should have said that then contested my stance on the issue.