National History Bee & Bowl - General Update

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Great Bustard
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National History Bee & Bowl - General Update

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:52 pm

Hi all,
Just wanted to pass along some updates regarding the National History Bowl, and our singles tournament, the National History Bee. We’re now up to 33 confirmed tournaments throughout the country, which are taking place between Jan. 8 and Mar. 26. We may add a few more over the next week, but now we're moving from recruiting host schools towards recruiting teams to come and play the tournaments. Over the last two months, I’ve continued with the help of an expanded staff to update the format (e.g. there’s no longer an intramural bee, just the Bee and the Bowl at the tournaments), bring in new host sites, edit questions for quality, make plans for our National Championships next April 16 and 17 in Washington, and lots more.
Please have a look at the websites at http://www.historybowl.com and http://www.historybee.com for lots of updated information, including registration which is now open for all tournaments. Dorman, Wilmington Charter, Georgetown Day, Ola, Hoover, and many other highly respected schools are hosting this year, and we hope that your school will give us a shot too and compete.
I have volunteered at seven quiz bowl tournaments so far this year, and will be at Wilmington Charter this weekend and Half Hollow Hills on Jan. 8 if your team will be there and you have any questions. Attending all of these tournaments has given me a lot of great feedback and brought me up to speed on the numerous changes to the high school game since I graduated in 1999. I have been made lots of adjustments based on what I've learned from many, many conversations and survey results. The biggest change in the format that will interest many board readers is that we now have a more pyramidal version of the questions (i.e. Set A) which will be used at about half of our tournaments (I'm open to increasing this, if the general consensus in a region is in favor of it)
Finally, in addition to bringing in Nick Clusserath (Dorman/Clemson) and Greg Bossick (Mahoning County League in Ohio) who both have years of quiz bowl experience, we will be working with HSAPQ for them to provide the questions at our National Championships (which will feature even more pyramidality than our State Set A). Our Nationals will be on Saturday, April 16 in Washington, DC. Teams are guaranteed ten preliminary round matches at historic sites and museums around the city. The base fee is $375 for Nationals, but discounts are available based on distance, performance at States (winners and finalists get discounts), host schools, and if your state tournament was on March 12 or later. The National Championships of the National History Bee are then on Sunday, April 17, and the base fee there is $60, with discounts for winners and finalists from the State Bees.
One last very important point: in order to avoid clogging this section of the boards with 33+ separate tournament announcements, each tournament will get a page under Misc. Quiz Bowl. Each tournament already has a site under http://www.historybowl.com/state-bowl-sites/ where you can find the tournament nearest you, but we'll be posting a thread for each tournament under Misc. Quiz Bowl here on the boards too.
As always, if you have any questions, please let me know, and I'm always eager to hear any feedback you all may have. We need your school to take part in a tournament to make this work and be viable into the future, and we hope to see you at one of our many tournaments in the coming months!
Best,
David Madden
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

Charbroil
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Re: National History Bee & Bowl - General Update

Post by Charbroil » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:00 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:... we now have a more pyramidal version of the questions (i.e. Set A) which will be used at about half of our tournaments (I'm open to increasing this, if the general consensus in a region is in favor of it)
Are you not concerned about the fact that half of your field for Nationals will be qualifying on a set significantly different from the other half, especially given that they will also be qualifying on a set that's significantly different to the format of the Nationals set itself?

Edit: Also, aren't you concerned that a team which might have qualified at one state tournament might not qualify at another due to the format, even with all else being equal?

Also, how did you ask whether tournament hosts wanted a pyramidal set or not? Did you ask them "Would you prefer to use a set similar to that of Nationals which does a better job of differentiating teams based on how much they know, or one which is different from that of Nationals which I feel does a poorer job of differentiating teams based on how much they know?" Are the sites using non-pyramidal questions even areas familiar with pyramidal questions? Finally, was there any incentive to use pyramidal or non-pyramidal questions in terms of cost, etc.?
Charles Hang
Francis Howell Central '09
St. Charles Community College '14
Washington University in St. Louis '19 (President, 2017-19)

Owner, Olympia Academic Competition Questions, LLC
Question Writer, National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC and National History Bee and Bowl

Great Bustard
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Re: National History Bee & Bowl - General Update

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:28 pm

Charbroil wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:... we now have a more pyramidal version of the questions (i.e. Set A) which will be used at about half of our tournaments (I'm open to increasing this, if the general consensus in a region is in favor of it)


Are you not concerned about the fact that half of your field for Nationals will be qualifying on a set significantly different from the other half, especially given that they will also be qualifying on a set that's significantly different to the format of the Nationals set itself?
No. NAQT with IS and A sets already does this, and tournaments with numerous variations in formats can qualify teams for NSC as well. The teams who qualified for the History Bowl Nationals on either Set who come to Nationals will know in advance what sort of questions to expect at Nationals (we'll put a practice packet for Nationals online in early 2011) and are perfectly capable of competing on them.
Edit: Also, aren't you concerned that a team which might have qualified at one state tournament might not qualify at another due to the format, even with all else being equal?
Again, not really. This is true for NAQT and PACE; the only difference for us is that for this year, teams can only play one tournament. The qualifying threshold for Nationals is relatively low this year, so if you don't qualify at any tournament, you really don't belong at the National Championships. In future years, I expect to raise the qualifying threshold and allow teams to play in two State tournaments to give them a second chance to qualify, but that's not feasible for now. I understand that some state tournaments will naturally have a stronger field than others, but I don't expect this to be an issue.
Also, how did you ask whether tournament hosts wanted a pyramidal set or not? Did you ask them "Would you prefer to use a set similar to that of Nationals which does a better job of differentiating teams based on how much they know, or one which is different from that of Nationals which I feel does a poorer job of differentiating teams based on how much they know?" Are the sites using non-pyramidal questions even areas familiar with pyramidal questions? Finally, was there any incentive to use pyramidal or non-pyramidal questions in terms of cost, etc.?
You're misrepresenting the Sets here. Your implication is that Set B is not pyramidal; this is not true. First of all, the two sets only differ substantially in the structure of the first quarter questions, and even there, the Set B questions are still pyramidal to some extent. Maybe not as all teams might like, but probably about 90% of the teams throughout the country that feel strongly about this are located in regions where a Set A (i.e. the somewhat more pyramidal set) tournament is being held (and for some of the other regions, we don't have a tournament planned there yet this year)
This includes both Missouri tournaments, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, both Kentucky tournaments, Washington DC area, Central Virginia, Delaware, and California.

Finally, in terms of deciding which set to use, my goal is to give the majority of teams in any particular area the sort of questions that they would like the most. I need teams to come and play for this to work; I'm not interested in fighting uphill battles if there's a general consensus in an area in preference of somewhat shorter questions. Please note that in many areas even Set B will be more representative of pyramidal questions than what teams there are used to too. You're right that the longer the questions, the more teams are differentiated, but this is a function more of how the questions are written; sometimes a shorter question can do the job just as well (especially in areas with fewer of the top teams in the country), and while longer questions are often fairer, many students (though not those who typically post on the boards) find them longwinded and boring. And finally, as I've said, I'm open for comments from anyone on this point, though obviously, the opinion of someone who might actually play or coach a team in a tournament in a particular region is going to count much more as to whether we decide to switch the set there.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

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