How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

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How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:48 pm

Pretty much what's in the thread title. We'll be talking about this in the next two weeks or so before we start on IS #96, so now's your chance to register some comments.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:52 pm

For reference: the 2009-10 high school distribution is here.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by jonah » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:57 pm

Is now also the time to discuss the HSNCT distribution, or would that better be done later?
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by nobthehobbit » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:00 pm

Is this for comments all NAQT tournaments' distributions; that is, does it also cover the HSNCT distribution (about which Jonah has ninja'd me) and the SCT/ICT distribution?

Also, I hope this doesn't become yet another "comp math/trash/geography/CE/mixed-impure-academic sucks and NAQT should get rid of them" thread.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Jane Fairfax » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:02 pm

It'd be really great to see an increase in fine arts, social science, and myth, with an equal decrease coming from trash and geography.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:06 pm

jonah wrote:Is now also the time to discuss the HSNCT distribution, or would that better be done later?
Now is a fine time to discuss that, but action on that will be happening later (for the obvious reason that HSNCT is the last tournament on our annual calendar).

If demand warrants, I'll start an additional thread for HSNCT, as it raises some theoretical issues not present in the IS sets.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:11 pm

nobthehobbit wrote:Is this for comments all NAQT tournaments' distributions; that is, does it also cover the ... SCT/ICT distribution?
College distribution change will eventually get its own thread in the college section.

(We're already at work on that, because R. asked me to work on the college stuff first. I have a proposal here that will be sent to R. tomorrow, so I hope to see the actual announcement of this in the near future.)
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:18 pm

We don't need to talk about math computation.

I would like to see the "general knowledge" and in particular the faux-science questions basically disappear.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:30 pm

I would like to see a reduction in General Knowledge, Trash and to an extent, Geography. While I do really like geography, I feel that NAQT's Geo distribution is way too large, with sometimes 4 geo questions working their way into some rounds. This year's fine HSNCT current events has changed my mind about that particular subject, and I think it should remain the same.

To make up for these reductions, Fine Arts and Religion/Mythology really need increased. Especially non-Greek myth. I noted in the NSC thread that I didn't see any Norse myth tossups at this years HSNCT, barring that common-link tossup on Mistletoe which included a Baldur clue. Fine Arts is really underrepresented in NAQT sets, especially on the A and IS level, and it would be nice to see this addressed.

As Mr. Chrzanowski pointed out, Math Comp needs no explanation. Either give at least 10 seconds for math comp bonus parts, or get rid of them altogether.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Bananaquit » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:31 pm

I won't be playing HS NAQT anymore, but I think NAQT should decrease geography and CE to whatever percentage is equivalent to 1/1 per round, and increase the arts and RMP.

It might be interesting to try changing general knowledge into a Bruce Arthur-style Modern World category with more academic question subjects than it currently has. Stuff like science history (which I'd like to see separate from both science and history) could also go there. This is of course assuming that the science history tossups would have clues about important scientific discoveries/inventions/theories rather than straight biographical trivia.

Dispose of the kiddie lit.

Edit* I forgot about trash- Sports should be formally lumped in with the rest of trash, and the whole of trash should be reduced. I think it would greatly help NAQT's presence in the Mid-Atlantic and other quizbowl hotspots to have a distribution similar to the ACF one, but with minor changes, than for it to keep large amounts of trash, geo, and CE that supposedly appeal to lower-level teams but that antagonize almost every higher-level one.
Last edited by Bananaquit on Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Dan-Don » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:33 pm

Here's what I don't get: if NAQT makes these suggested changes, what then is the difference between NAQT and HSAPQ? It seems pointless to have two companies (who share many of the same writers) to be writing in the same distribution and format (with NAQT's questions being slightly shorter) for regular-season high school sets. I fear NAQT will have to keep the "NAQT categories" (geo, trash, CE at the expense of arts and lit) to keep a lot of bottom-of-the-barrel teams interested in modern, pyramidal quizbowl.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Kwang the Ninja » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:39 pm

Wait, having two question vendors producing high quality sets of varying difficulty using an almost-ubiquitously accepted distribution would be a bad thing? I don't get what you're saying here-- NAQT has to keep all the crap because otherwise there would be two companies selling good (albeit distributionally similar) question sets?
EDIT: Ah, reading is important. I think some bad teams enjoy the trash categories, but a lot of the general knowledge and things are just aggravating for all parties involved.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Smuttynose Island » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:44 pm

Perhaps reducing trash or geography to around 1/1 distribution and then adding to the Fine Arts?
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by nobthehobbit » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:47 pm

Kwang the Ninja wrote:Wait, having two question vendors producing high quality sets of varying difficulty using an almost-ubiquitously accepted distribution would be a bad thing? I don't get what you're saying here-- NAQT has to keep all the crap because otherwise there would be two companies selling good (albeit distributionally similar) question sets?
I think what Dan's saying is that there are a lot of teams out there that are accustomed to speedcheck (or near-speedcheck) questions with terrible distributions (*cough*) and that giving them pyramidal questions together with a distribution that cuts down on trashy stuff (on which they may have feasted) will result in too much culture shock. There've been posts made here about teams that had trouble accepting even one of the two.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by jdeliverer » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:48 pm

Jane Fairfax wrote:It'd be really great to see an increase in fine arts, social science, and myth, with an equal decrease coming from trash and geography.
This is pretty much exactly what I would like to see.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Dan-Don » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:51 pm

I just feel like no one has really come up with a 24/24 distro for an IS set that would:

a) Still be distinctly NAQT. This should be enough so as to keep the distinctly NAQT events interested. I'm thinking of teams who only play good quizbowl when it's NAQT or events that need more accessible questions like f/s tourneys or, for a more specific example, the IHSSBCA Kickoff tournament. I'm afraid to invoke my state as an example, but we had a number of coaches write into our state's quizbowl newsletter that were livid with the use of NAQT sets at two IHSSBCA events this year. Imagine if we had used sets with an ACF distro!

b) Be ACF-ish enough to keep the people on HSQB (including me) happy.

Maybe someone will come up with this distro, but I'm still waiting. Having the nation's largest provider of pyramidal questions start upping their distro of some of their categories which are converted least (I'm thinking of social science and world literature) at the expense of their best-converted categories (yes, general knowledge tossups are unfortunate but they get answered!) seems like an excuse to make quizbowl success more top-heavy than it already is.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Bananaquit » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:01 am

Dan-Don wrote:I'm thinking of teams who only play good quizbowl when it's NAQT
Are these teams playing NAQT because they like the distribution, or because they are familiar with the NAQT name? I personally would not be surprised if many such teams would hardly mind minor distributional changes.

NAQT doesn't need to be exactly the same as HSAPQ, but I think the latter has the better distribution, meaning the only reasons NAQT should keep its distribution the way it is are:

-to appeal to teams that would not like an ACF distribution

-to appeal to the few "good quizbowlers" who like an occasional change in distribution, like JR Roach, for example
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Kwang the Ninja » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:09 am

See, I basically agree with you here-- IS and A sets are very good right now (albeit with some questions that leave everybody in the tournament except the one or two knitting experts scratching their heads), especially for their target of teams that are new or inexperienced or just not very good. The distribution for IS sets shouldn't be changed all that much, other than definitely one less dedicated trash t/b per round in favor of art or something, and I guess since there's no separate thread for it yet I'll talk about it here. I hate the distribution that was used for SCT this year, which I'm fairly certain was very similar to, if not identical to, the one used for IS sets. I understand that NAQT has to market their lower level questions to teams that could really care less about quizbowl, and that it's hard to attract those teams if every round they have to sit through tossups on boring anthropologists and Japanese authors they've never heard of. But for SCT, it really should be about which team knows more, and not which team happened to watch some History Channel documentary on, like, mundane household items. Also, all trash giveaways in academic tossups should be taken from these sets; if teams can't convert tossups on academic answers based on academic information, they shouldn't convert those tossups, period, and they definitely don't deserve a shot at qualifying for ICT because they know (to use a poor made-up example) that beat poet Jack Spicer shares his name with Shaolin Showdown villain Jack Spicer.
PS. It goes without saying that trash lit needs to be eliminated from the SCT set.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:15 am

I don't see how it's acceptable for there to be more trash than actual, indisputably academic categories like social science and fine arts. While in the long run, reducing geography might be a good idea, that's far less pressing an issue than increasing the distribution of the two aforementioned significantly underrepresented categories, and reducing trash. I'm honestly a fan of current events, and I think that maintaining it at its current level of 1.7/1.7 is a good thing, provided that science history gets subsumed into that distribution.

Maintaining that unique NAQT flavor is a valid consideration (I like some distributional variation between question providers), but needs to be secondary to having a distribution that doesn't suck.

Question: would it perhaps be helpful/feasible to have a slightly different distribution for A-sets vs. IS-sets, where A-sets could have more trash, computation, etc, and IS-sets would tend a bit closer to HSAPQ/ACF than they do now?
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:15 am

OK, time to start that new thread for the college distribution.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Dan-Don » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:20 am

Bananaquit wrote:
Dan-Don wrote:I'm thinking of teams who only play good quizbowl when it's NAQT
Are these teams playing NAQT because they like the distribution, or because they are familiar with the NAQT name? I personally would not be surprised if many such teams would hardly mind minor distributional changes.
After a quick glancing-over, for six teams in Illinois (Leyden, St. Viator, OPRF B, Wheaton North B, Riverside-Brookfield, and Chicago Christian), the Illinois State Qualifier (18 team field) was the only invitational tournament that these teams attended that also used pyramidal questions (from a vendor OR a housewrite) during the 2009-2010 season. This number would probably triple if I counted the two IHSSBCA events run with NAQT questions (Kickoff and Turnabout). [Note: Viator did attend Ultima on the DAFT set but this was to appease me and they didn't know the nature of the tournament.]

Compare that to all of our tournaments run on HSAPQ sets (8-11) which, as far as I know, can only be said to be the only pyramidal invitational all season long for just three teams: Keith County CDA A +B and Niles North.

Make of this what you will. The only team's intentions I can probably guess at are my former team's, and I would guess they like the accessibility of the distribution.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:25 am

I just want to point out that, in my experience, there are actually lots of teams that might not even be in the top 50% of active high schools that have expressed the opinion that they think less of NAQT because they ask so much popular culture. Say what you will about how it keeps teams in the game, but there are lots of teams that are not competitive who still expect the matches to have a more academic distribution, especially in regions that are not already using lots of NAQT's product. I don't buy that argument for keeping trash.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by kayli » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:42 am

I think NAQT needs to combine the miscellaneous and pop culture categories. In my opinion, this category should have maximum distribution of 1/1. If I did my math correctly, the current pop culture+miscellaneous category comprises 2.6/3.4 questions every set. If those categories are reduced to 1/1, I'd like to see the 1.6/2.4 go equally to fine arts, mythology, and philosophy. Also, in the case of sets intended for state championships, the trash should be 0/0. The extra 1/1 not accounted for by the previous 1.6/2.4 should be split according to the distribution. Aside from that, I'm pretty okay with NAQT. I think it should have its own distinct flavor.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:43 am

Anarch wrote:Question: would it perhaps be helpful/feasible to have a slightly different distribution for A-sets vs. IS-sets, where A-sets could have more trash, computation, etc, and IS-sets would tend a bit closer to HSAPQ/ACF than they do now?
We've thought about this, and it is one option on the table for the future.
Anarch wrote:I don't see how it's acceptable for there to be more trash than actual, indisputably academic categories like social science and fine arts. While in the long run, reducing geography might be a good idea, that's far less pressing an issue than increasing the distribution of the two aforementioned significantly underrepresented categories, and reducing trash. I'm honestly a fan of current events, and I think that maintaining it at its current level of 1.7/1.7 is a good thing, provided that science history gets subsumed into that distribution.

Maintaining that unique NAQT flavor is a valid consideration (I like some distributional variation between question providers), but needs to be secondary to having a distribution that doesn't suck.
It's one thing to say "NAQT should reduce trash to a minimum less than academic category X." But this argument is framed as "NAQT needs to substantially increase the amount of social science in its sets," and that we will find harder to work with.

Some conversion numbers (2005-2009):

Social science tossups at the IS level were converted 60.8% of the time.

Fine arts tossups were converted 65.5% of the time.

Both of those are well below our average conversion rate; and the average rate is in turn below our stated conversion goal (that 85% of tossups should be answered correctly).

I find it an unavoidable conclusion that substantial increase in the social science distribution will result in large numbers of tossups that are answered in half or fewer of all rooms that hear them.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Charbroil » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:47 am

I know that most people assume that NAQT's heavy inclusion of trash and other unpopular topics is because of their accessibility, but is that necessarily true? I could see the possibility that NAQT includes those topics because NAQT genuinely believes those topics are important to be well-rounded (for example, being aware of more than what's academically important, but also what society considers important at the moment). Alternatively, is the purpose simple brand differentiation to separate NAQT from HSAPQ and housewritten sets?
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:59 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:It's one thing to say "NAQT should reduce trash to a minimum less than academic category X." But this argument is framed as "NAQT needs to substantially increase the amount of social science in its sets," and that we will find harder to work with.

Some conversion numbers (2005-2009):

Social science tossups at the IS level were converted 60.8% of the time.

Fine arts tossups were converted 65.5% of the time.

Both of those are well below our average conversion rate; and the average rate is in turn below our stated conversion goal (that 85% of tossups should be answered correctly).

I find it an unavoidable conclusion that substantial increase in the social science distribution will result in large numbers of tossups that are answered in half or fewer of all rooms that hear them.
Oh. I was not aware of those figures. Even so, with (for example) the current 2/2 econ per packet set, that comes out to about 20/20 econ per year for NAQT. If there aren't even 20 reliably convertible tossups in the high school econ canon, I guess there's no hope for increasing social science's share of the distribution. That's a shame. Out of curiosity, what categories are converted at that 85% target rate?

I still think something needs to be done to reduce the trash. Maybe just increase the big three's share to compensate or something.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by nobthehobbit » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:03 am

Just curious: as I understand it, hosts can ask for an IS set with the comp math removed. Are those questions replaced, or are they simply excised (so that Science ends up with a top-level 69/66)?

Also (for anyone here not looking at the collegiate thread), I made a few notes concerning both HS and collegiate distributions in there. (They are on perhaps minor things and I probably drew them out too much.)

I know you've posted these sorts of things in the past, Jeff, but what is the conversion rate in each category? (If you could post analogous data in the collegiate section I'd appreciate it.)
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by dtaylor4 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:04 am

Anarch wrote:Even so, with (for example) the current 2/2 econ per packet set, that comes out to about 20/20 econ per year for NAQT. If there aren't even 20 reliably convertible tossups in the high school econ canon, I guess there's no hope for increasing social science's share of the distribution. That's a shame. Out of curiosity, what categories are converted at that 85% target rate?

I still think something needs to be done to reduce the trash. Maybe just increase the big three's share to compensate or something.
Since these questions are across tournaments, depending on the amount of overlap among questions, 20/20 econ in a year is feasible.

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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:17 am

nobthehobbit wrote:Just curious: as I understand it, hosts can ask for an IS set with the comp math removed. Are those questions replaced, or are they simply excised (so that Science ends up with a top-level 69/66)?
Hosts who choose to skip math comp don't get replacement questions. (In practice: I don't think we've ever had a host who skipped the computation but insisted on running a timed tournament, which is the only case in which the replacements would ever arise.)
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by jonah » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:19 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:
nobthehobbit wrote:Just curious: as I understand it, hosts can ask for an IS set with the comp math removed. Are those questions replaced, or are they simply excised (so that Science ends up with a top-level 69/66)?
Hosts who choose to skip math comp don't get replacement questions. (In practice: I don't think we've ever had a host who skipped the computation but insisted on running a timed tournament, which is the only case in which the replacements would ever arise.)
Pretty sure Illinois' NAQT State Championship did that. I wasn't there, but it was discussed that things would be run that way, and statistics show variable numbers of tossups heard but never more than 23.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:35 am

Started a new thread for the conversion stats.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by abnormal abdomen » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:35 am

Jane Fairfax wrote:It'd be really great to see an increase in fine arts, social science, and myth, with an equal decrease coming from trash and geography.
This. I'm not sure I understand why fine arts has a 1.5/1.5 per round distribution, while pop culture/sports has a 1.7/1.7 per round distribution.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:40 am

dtaylor4 wrote:
Anarch wrote:Even so, with (for example) the current 2/2 econ per packet set, that comes out to about 20/20 econ per year for NAQT. If there aren't even 20 reliably convertible tossups in the high school econ canon, I guess there's no hope for increasing social science's share of the distribution. That's a shame. Out of curiosity, what categories are converted at that 85% target rate?
Since these questions are across tournaments, depending on the amount of overlap among questions, 20/20 econ in a year is feasible.
But what Jeff is saying is that even those 20 tossups are being converted at only 60% (assuming econ is representative of social science as a whole), which indicates to me that until high-schoolers get better at social science, even 20/20 is too many to meet NAQT's stated conversion target.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:41 am

1) Eliminate Computation and Miscellaneous
2) Reduce Geography and PC/Sports
3) Increase Social Science, RMP, and Fine Arts
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by nobthehobbit » Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:56 am

Hilltopper22 wrote:1) Eliminate Computation and Miscellaneous
2) Reduce Geography and PC/Sports
3) Increase Social Science, RMP, and Fine Arts
I think these are all unlikely, unfortunately; in all but math comp's case, from examining conversion rates (though those suggest that perhaps sports should be decreased within PC_Sports), and in the case of math comp... well, that's another kettle of fish.

That said, from the conversion rates thread:
bt_green_warbler, in the conversion rates thread, wrote:Now, redistributing sets would be much easier to work with (because we would only have to generate a comparative handful of questions to bring a given IS set to, say, the SCT distribution). It would certainly be interesting to see whether an IS set using our college distribution (or indeed an ACF distribution) would outsell our existing high school distribution.
Going from IS (with math comp) to SCT would, from what I see, eliminate math comp (but of course you can have this in a regular IS set anyway), increase Miscellaneous slightly, cut Geography by about a third (relative to the total number of questions in the set), increase PC/Sports by a little over a fifth, increase SS by nearly two-thirds, increase FA by about a quarter, and (gathering the various pieces: Myth/Religion in Literature, Religious_History, and Theo_Phil) would increase RMP, with those components, by about 45% (slightly more, I think, if you exclude Religious_History). If you start from IS without math comp, you depress the amount of the increases (because each remaining category then fills a comparatively larger part of the set), but not by much.

(Also see the feedback loop hypothesis in that thread.)
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Connie Prater » Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:43 am

-I have always been annoyed with mythology being considered a subcategory of literature. While mythology is certainly important to literature, so are a lot of other things that clearly aren't literature.
-That being said, I think literature should be either expanded so that literature is as important as science.
-Too much geography. It's not that it shouldn't be asked, but there is sure a lot of it.
-Also, fine arts should be at least as important as geography.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:45 am

One of the reasons that SS and FA might have low conversion rates is because they're so rarely asked about. If they were a bigger part of the sets, I bet people would have more reason to specifically study them; as it is, it's quite easy to be a winning quizbowl team on NAQT questions without getting good at those categories.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Kahloon » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:24 am

NAQT has an overabundance of geography, current events, sports and pop culture, and "general knowledge." NAQT needs to cut out these areas and instead increase their (non-Greco-Roman) mythology, social science and philosophy. Additionally, at HSNCT I felt as if there were a disproportionate amount of Christianity related religion tossups as opposed to tossups relating to Islam, Judaism, Buddhism etc.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by goblue16 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:52 am

Having written many naqt geography questions, I believe this category should be cut down 25% and that equivalent number of questions per packet set added to myth/religion, especially non-greek myth. I love geography, but there are just simply too many questions and askable answers will continue to be used again and again in certain areas like when you are forced to write 4/4 african geo for a packet set.

At the same time, the general knowledge and miscellaneous sections need to be reduced and that space used for literature and religion. I really don't care for general knowledge questions at all, but the miscellaneous category that combines different subjects into one tossup or bonus should survive in some form because they are exciting and different from the normal question.

I also really have no problem with the trash and current event levels as they currently are.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by SoLegit12 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:48 am

Jane Fairfax wrote:It'd be really great to see an increase in fine arts, social science, and myth, with an equal decrease coming from trash and geography.
This.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:10 am

I assume that I will be the only person who takes this stance, but I believe that NAQT's distribution is pretty near perfect. I think that while an increase in myth, social science, and philosophy is well intended, it would be harmful to the community as a whole.

The basis for this opinion are my own observations, as I ran two NAQT tournaments this year. These tournaments were aimed at the teams that we always talk about attracting. None of these schools attended non-NAQT good quizbowl tournaments. Talking to them, I heard a few complaints repeatedly: too much social science, too much philosophy and too much poetry.

Now, I know that you are probably thinking, "How can there be too much philosophy and and social science? They only make up 1/1 per packet." That may be true, but this 1/1 often leads a bad taste in people's mouths. Many of the things being tossed up are not only things that they have not heard of, but are things that they don't really understand where they would have heard of them and why they would want to know about them.

The general response to this from the community will probably be, "Well, that is quizbowl. Not all answers are something that will come up in a class or in people's academic exploration." This stance is perfectly understandable, but I disagree with it for the primary reason that i believe that NAQT is and should be fundamentally different from say, HSAPQ, as their size really allows them to reach many teams that are not familiar with good quizbowl. I think that NAQT's primary goal should be to attract these teams rather than catering to the top teams, at least in regular season sets.

While some may try to deny it, this is sort of already occuring. Top teams are repeatedly choosing HSAPQ and housewrites over NAQT, while areas transitioning to good quizbowl are primarily using NAQT. In my opinion, this is a good thing. I agree with Dan-Don that if NAQT turned into HSAPQ, it would lead to two companies servicing the top level teams and nobody thinking about the transition of new teams. The conversion statistics should make it pretty obvious that an increase in fine arts, social science, and philisophy at the expense of geography and trash would not help these teams.

I assume that this explanation will prompt people to say that trash is not academic so conversion statistics should not matter. I always have defended trash in tournaments and probably always will. I find it unreasonable for people to say that trash is completely unacademic, because the impact that pop culture has had on society is immeasurably large. Without music, would Vietnam have been as unpopular as it was? Would Bill Clinton have been elected President without Arsenio Hall? Of course these are hand picked examples, but the point remains that pop culture is an important factor in the creation of the society that we live in.

Of course, this defense of trash pretty much requires a different type of trash than NAQT currently produces. It means more Larry Doby and less Larry Hughes, though I still think that many current figures could be tossed up. However, I believe that there are both enough relevant answers to fill up NAQT's distribution and enough intellectually curious people to ensure a high conversion rate. The only way that I will ever be against trash in tournaments is if these assumptions are proven to be wrong.

I know that this post is probably somewhat incoherent, as it is not easy to watch soccer and post, but I will some up my thoughts as this:
1. I like NAQT's distribution as it stands because I believe that NAQT should aim their questions toward appealing to new and lower level teams.
2. I believe that the fact that an increase in fine arts, social science, and philosophy does not fit this vision based both off of conversion rates and personal experience.
3. For NAQT to continue to have their ratio of trash, they need to make sure they write about relevant, more intellectual topics.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by swwFCqb » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:20 am

goblue16 wrote:I love geography, but there are just simply too many questions and askable answers will continue to be used again and again in certain areas like when you are forced to write 4/4 african geo for a packet set.
I dunno, I feel geography is one of those categories that has a ton of askable answers, even for parts of the world, like Africa, that are less known to many players. I find it hard to believe you couldn't find enough answers in a given year to avoid repeats (if not in answers, then at least in clues) given the fact that you have at least 30 countries, a dozen or so geographic landforms (deserts, mountains, etc), and over a dozen lakes, rivers, and surrounding bodies of water to ask about for the African continent at the high school level.

That aside, I too believe that geography should be reduced to 1.5/1.5 at the most, but probably closer to 1.0/1.0. I love geography more so than most, but 4 geo questions in a majority of packets is too much IMO.

I too think that myth needs to be moved out of the lit category, which should then by bumped up to par with science and history. As it stands it appears that lit (excluding myth) receives just over 0.5/0.5 less questions per packet than history and science (w/o comp math), and that's if you include religious literature and miscellaneous lit (which I assume includes trashy lit and the like). So in reality, actual literature receives about a whole 1/1 less than science and history in each packet.

I don't have a problem with NAQT keeping math comp in its packets - people who want it will use it, people who don't want it can ignore them.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by SoLegit12 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:03 pm

BG MSL Champs wrote:I assume that I will be the only person who takes this stance, but I believe that NAQT's distribution is pretty near perfect. I think that while an increase in myth, social science, and philosophy is well intended, it would be harmful to the community as a whole.

The basis for this opinion are my own observations, as I ran two NAQT tournaments this year. These tournaments were aimed at the teams that we always talk about attracting. None of these schools attended non-NAQT good quizbowl tournaments. Talking to them, I heard a few complaints repeatedly: too much social science, too much philosophy and too much poetry.

Now, I know that you are probably thinking, "How can there be too much philosophy and and social science? They only make up 1/1 per packet." That may be true, but this 1/1 often leads a bad taste in people's mouths. Many of the things being tossed up are not only things that they have not heard of, but are things that they don't really understand where they would have heard of them and why they would want to know about them.

The general response to this from the community will probably be, "Well, that is quizbowl. Not all answers are something that will come up in a class or in people's academic exploration." This stance is perfectly understandable, but I disagree with it for the primary reason that i believe that NAQT is and should be fundamentally different from say, HSAPQ, as their size really allows them to reach many teams that are not familiar with good quizbowl. I think that NAQT's primary goal should be to attract these teams rather than catering to the top teams, at least in regular season sets.

While some may try to deny it, this is sort of already occuring. Top teams are repeatedly choosing HSAPQ and housewrites over NAQT, while areas transitioning to good quizbowl are primarily using NAQT. In my opinion, this is a good thing. I agree with Dan-Don that if NAQT turned into HSAPQ, it would lead to two companies servicing the top level teams and nobody thinking about the transition of new teams. The conversion statistics should make it pretty obvious that an increase in fine arts, social science, and philisophy at the expense of geography and trash would not help these teams.

I assume that this explanation will prompt people to say that trash is not academic so conversion statistics should not matter. I always have defended trash in tournaments and probably always will. I find it unreasonable for people to say that trash is completely unacademic, because the impact that pop culture has had on society is immeasurably large. Without music, would Vietnam have been as unpopular as it was? Would Bill Clinton have been elected President without Arsenio Hall? Of course these are hand picked examples, but the point remains that pop culture is an important factor in the creation of the society that we live in.

Of course, this defense of trash pretty much requires a different type of trash than NAQT currently produces. It means more Larry Doby and less Larry Hughes, though I still think that many current figures could be tossed up. However, I believe that there are both enough relevant answers to fill up NAQT's distribution and enough intellectually curious people to ensure a high conversion rate. The only way that I will ever be against trash in tournaments is if these assumptions are proven to be wrong.

I know that this post is probably somewhat incoherent, as it is not easy to watch soccer and post, but I will some up my thoughts as this:
1. I like NAQT's distribution as it stands because I believe that NAQT should aim their questions toward appealing to new and lower level teams.
2. I believe that the fact that an increase in fine arts, social science, and philosophy does not fit this vision based both off of conversion rates and personal experience.
3. For NAQT to continue to have their ratio of trash, they need to make sure they write about relevant, more intellectual topics.
Going off this, then the HSNCT should adopt these changes, while keeping A-levels same.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by kayli » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:35 pm

I'm going to bet $10 that if academic trash were to replace the normal trash questions, it would be one of the three lowest converted categories. The theory that academic trash is as easy as non-academic trash is ridiculous.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by GBRodgers12 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:12 pm

1. I think players should be able to depend on having 2/2 Fine Arts questions in each round. One falling under visual art/architecture and one falling under music. With fine arts being one of the more major categories, it is not treated like it. When I think about up and coming teams studying, they start with the NAQT lists on Lit, Art, and Music from my experiences. Then, they turn around and cannot even get 2/2 Fine Arts in a regular NAQT packet. Well, I would not mind seeing more than 2/2 Fine Arts, want to work toward getting that at least right now.

2. Move Myth into a RMP category, it does not belong in Literature.

3. Eliminate general knowledge tossups. Use the then vacant part of the distribution to add to Fine Arts, RMP, and Social Science.

4. Also, trim geography down and/or put a much greater emphasis on world rivers/mountains/bodies of water in the geography category. I only have a problem with how many geography questions there are because of their content. I would much rather see a question on rivers/mountain ranges/bodies of water rather than countries, cities, and US geographic features.

5. HSNCT is the national championship and imo should unquestionably eliminate general knowledge and significantly trim down the pop culture to 1/1 (still keeps those who like it happy, but is not overly represented).
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Bananaquit » Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:07 pm

GBRodgers12 wrote:4. Also, trim geography down and/or put a much greater emphasis on world rivers/mountains/bodies of water in the geography category. I only have a problem with how many geography questions there are because of their content. I would much rather see a question on rivers/mountain ranges/bodies of water rather than countries, cities, and US geographic features.
I guess this is personal preference, but I don't have anything against country questions and like them just as much as physical geography ones. I prefer my geography questions to have a mix of historical, biological, geological, and cultural clues as well as straight map geography ("this river's tributaries include the Apure. . ."), and I find country questions can include a lot of these type of clues, while physical geo. questions are more susceptible than most to almanac style geo.

The difference in clue type is even more pronounced in city questions, since these tend to have either large numbers of cultural/historical clues or clues about buildings, and neither of these categories can really be studied in atlases, which is the traditional way of studying for geography. As long as people don't make too many questions city questions*, or pick cities that have large populations but no real clues that players actually know, having them allows packets to test different types of geography knowledge.

*The first four geo. tossups at NASAT were on cities. Since I can't remember how many other non-city geo. tossups there were, I don't know how large a percentage that was, but it was certainly noticeable, especially because they were not separated by tossups on other geographical features.

As for U.S. geography, I see no problem with it.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by GBRodgers12 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:06 pm

Bananaquit wrote:
GBRodgers12 wrote:4. Also, trim geography down and/or put a much greater emphasis on world rivers/mountains/bodies of water in the geography category. I only have a problem with how many geography questions there are because of their content. I would much rather see a question on rivers/mountain ranges/bodies of water rather than countries, cities, and US geographic features.
As for U.S. geography, I see no problem with it.
I was not saying that I had a problem with U.S. geography, just that it seems over-represented at times.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Smuttynose Island » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:11 am

BG MSL Champs wrote:Of course, this defense of trash pretty much requires a different type of trash than NAQT currently produces. It means more Larry Doby and less Larry Hughes, though I still think that many current figures could be tossed up.
I think that this is a most excellent idea. There are many things out there that people consider to be "trash" that can be considered to be more academic. I feel that well-known and well-established cultural icons like Babe Ruth, The Beatles, Nirvana, Jackie Robinson etc. deserve just as much of a place in Quizbowl(be it at a regular season tournament or nationals) as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Waterloo, Borges, etc. do. The whole "tossups should be about things that have some sort of lasting impact or whatever" argument doesn't apply to them because they have made a lasting impact. I do feel that questions on something like Firefly or to offer a more "appealing" example Miley Cyrus, while very appealing to newer teams and therefore perhaps deserving of a spot at a regular season tournament, probably shouldn't rear their head at some national tournament.
Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:I'm going to bet $10 that if academic trash were to replace the normal trash questions, it would be one of the three lowest converted categories. The theory that academic trash is as easy as non-academic trash is ridiculous.
I'd be willing to take you up on this bet. Academic trash may not be as easy as "normal" trash, but that doesn't mean that it would be nearly as hard as social sciences, philosophy, and fine arts for many teams. Also not only do many people know "academic trash", but many people would also be willing to study it so if it at first experienced low conversion rates they'd probably quickly rise.

In summary:
1. I feel that something should be done to make trash more academically orientated and to give it a fairly well defined canon.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Cheynem » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:16 am

I've commented in the other thread about this and my views have changed over the last year or so, but...

Since both high school and collegiate quizbowl feature multiple "national championship" tournaments, I would be okay with one of the two national championship tournaments having trash. Maybe slightly reduced, but even at that, it doesn't even have to be that reduced. That said, it needs to be better written. This doesn't necessarily mean that it becomes academic trash, which, while there's something potentially to it, basically leads to endless bickering about what actually is "academic trash." Rather, I'd just be happy if the trash was on accessible, well written topics. A lot of times I find NAQT's trash to be on dubious topics (way out of date TV show, movie, athlete, Internet meme) and not written well to boot. Using an ICT example, the Shawn Bradley tossup was a poor idea. I would be happier with a tossup on a basketball player that the target audience would be more likely to be familiar with. This is my own individual personal opinion regarding NAQT trash and I certainly sympathize with those calling for its removal.

In regards to regular season tournaments, I really don't care. As long as everyone knows the distribution for the national championship and it isn't dramatically different, I don't even care if they're different. I would be okay with NAQT producing perhaps some reduced or trash eliminated sets in addition to their regular products.
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Re: How should NAQT change its distribution for 2010-11?

Post by Kyle » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:04 am

GBRodgers12 wrote:Also, trim geography down and/or put a much greater emphasis on world rivers/mountains/bodies of water in the geography category.
I agree entirely that NAQT makes American geography too large a percentage of the geography distribution, but are you sure you want tossups on mountains? I have never seen a tossup about a mountain that wasn't boring. I say that as somebody who likes mountains. You have half a chance with rivers or bodies of water, but what can you possibly say about a mountain beyond its height and who climbed it first?
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