NAQT A set difficulty

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NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:43 pm

Two separate experiences this past week (i.e. talking to educators in rural New Mexico and reading Masterminds for kids in upstate New York) have confirmed a long-simmering belief I've had: NAQT, IMHO, should produce sets geared for high school level competition, but with even easier difficulty than A sets. Note I did not say shorter (if anything, the new sets, which for argument sake we could call A star) could even be more longer and more pyramidal, just with easier answer lines and more giveaways along the lines of "this first president of the United States" "this element that human beings need in order to breathe" "this city home to the Yankees and the Empire State Building", "this British playwright who wrote Romeo and Juliet" etc.)
I know that writing such questions isn't exactly, um, really exciting or likely to lead to any new knowledge acquired by the question writers, but what it will do is make quizbowl far more accessible than it currently is. There are huge chunks of the American student population who are turned off from quizbowl either because they're in areas where, let's face it, academic achievement is not exactly stellar; or, on the other hand, they may be B students (or even A students who have never approached knowledge from a qb standpoint) who go to one practice, see that they could answer maybe 4 out of 20 tossups on the giveaway, and on these 4 are likely to be beaten in by other kids, and then say, forget it, I'm doing something else where even if I'm not good at it, I can have fun with it right from the start.
A star could have a rather trash heavy distribution (maybe as much as 20%) to hold their interest better, and could be crafted out of current sets, rather than starting from scratch, which would take much longer. A star would really be meant as an introduction to pyramidal quizbowl - perhaps there could even be other sorts of questions that again would hold the interest of newer players better (matching questions on bonuses? more general knowledge stuff?) but here I'm speculating. I'm wondering if NAQT (or anyone else) has ever done surveys of newer players to see what they want. Nota bene: These players are not the ones who are going to post on the boards, or the ones who will reach out to NAQT to volunteer their opinions. Anyone with that sort of initiative is on their way to regular IS set difficulty (forget even A set), but even though those are probably 90%+ of whom NAQT (or anyone in quizbowl) hears from, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that those players are a small minority of players (and an even smaller minority of potential players). Right now, their needs are being served much better than everyone else's. But as those players have their initial quizbowl needs met (excuse the awkward term), they'll move up the ranks and eventually swell the ranks of top teams and players. In other words, everyone will benefit from greater participation.
It does seem like there's a growing realization in qb that something like this needs to occur, so, I'm throwing this out there to keep the momentum going. Thoughts?
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Mewto55555 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:18 pm

What about middle school sets?
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by dtaylor4 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:19 pm

Mewto55555 wrote:What about middle school sets?
This already happens in Minnesota, not sure about other places.

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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:44 pm

Yeah, middle school sets would be good, though some stuff in middle school sets (like some of the lit) is really best left in middle school. Also, NAQT could publicize this somewhat better, though they may want to call the set something else (certain tournament organizers who likely should be using an easier set might balk at the notion of using a middle school set). That said, when I looked it over, the collaborative middle school set was also really too hard for middle schools as well. Really, middle school sets should be easy, easy, easy, especially with the answer lines, and not written for the likes of Kealing and Longfellow, who let's face it, are outliers.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by tuscumbiaqb » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:30 pm

It seems to me that it's possible to make high school quiz bowl more accessible simply by reducing the difficulty of novice sets instead of having NAQT create a three-tiered difficulty system. From what I saw, the writers of FNT did a very good job of bridging the gap between the knowledge level of true quiz bowl novices to what might be required to be successful on an A-set. More tournaments along these lines, such as the spring novice tournament that MOQBA is editing, would definitely be a great thing. I don't see anything wrong with maintaining the same basic classifications of tournaments we have now, novice and regular, and slightly decreasing the difficulty of both across the board to draw more schools into quiz bowl.

I agree that middle school sets are probably not the best option for introductory high school sets because much of the literature (and to a lesser extent, science) is not really age-appropriate. Although I agree that the distribution for novice tournaments (and for the sake of argument, David's proposed A-star tournaments) should be adjusted for the knowledge base of the field, a drastic upswing in trash content is not the answer. Things like drastically reducing social science and philosophy, increasing geography slightly, or making sure that math and literature are as curricular as possible would be far better ways to address the problem of accessibility. (Of course, adjustments should not necessarily be limited to the above.)
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:42 pm

You can't fill 10 packets of 40 questions each (or more packets than that) with answers like "George Washington" and "oxygen." There aren't 400 academic answers like that.

On the other hand: HSAPQ has produced VHSL sets which are well-received and well-scored-upon by nearly 300 teams in Virginia. Many people will tell you that Virginia has a very good public education system, and perhaps they are right, but I doubt the 295th best team in Virginia is exponentially better than the hypothetical median team in Wyoming or wherever. Here they are: http://www.hsapq.com/questions/18/

Empirically, that set is accessible to a full complement of teams; this has been proven by actual events. We can write questions that people can answer. The question in recruitment is more one of getting those sets as opposed to sets with a devil-may-care attitude towards difficulty out there, getting those sets as opposed to sets written in impenetrable quizbowlese out there, and getting teams to form and show up to these events where we know they will answer questions.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:46 pm

Matt, you'd probably be surprised how many answers you could come up with that are really easy. The 50 states, and let's say, the 30 most widely known countries get you already 20% of the way there.
In terms of trash, maybe 20% is a little much, but kids new to qb tend to often respond really enthusiastically to trash, and if, say, maybe 15% was trash, well, that still leaves room for a slew of academic stuff. I say this as someone who personally does not like trash, but even looking at the subject tournaments at ACE camp last summer, typically something like 25 people signed up for poetry, maybe 40 for myth, and something like 80-100 for trash (someone correct me if these numbers are off). And that was with kids who enjoy playing qb enough to want to go to a summer camp for it.
FNT, in my opinion was an outstanding set, but then again, I don't think that would hold up as well in areas of the country that are new to the game as a whole. I think the difference in Virginia, along with other areas that are economically perhaps not exactly thriving, like, say Eastern Kentucky, is that these are at least regions where qb is pretty entrenched. Even there, though, for kids who haven't done qb before, while their teams as a whole might score ok, that's probably more a reflection on kids who have practiced and gone to other competitions.
The point of an A star set would really be either for kids who have never done qb before, and for regions (like, say, rural New Mexico, or for that matter, disadvantaged urban areas) where an A set or FNT or the HSAPQ state set is too much, and I maintain that there are literally tens of millions of kids in this country for whom this applies to.
Again, a set like this could be crafted off an existing A set, and one or two to be used nationwide each year would suffice. If nothing else, I would imagine coaches at all schools looking to grow their programs might be interested in practicing with such a set for incoming 9th graders at the start of the year to help increase their confidence.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:53 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Matt, you'd probably be surprised how many answers you could come up with that are really easy.
I'm not surprised, because I've done it.
I think the difference in Virginia, along with other areas that are economically perhaps not exactly thriving, like, say Eastern Kentucky, is that these are at least regions where qb is pretty entrenched.
Of the 300 teams who play VHSL, about 30 of them ever go to any Saturday invitationals. The teams you're thinking of don't play VHSL regular season. There's empirical proof that you can write a set that's accessible to people who are not part of the message-board scene, without just giving up and using a geyser of trash or 50 separate tossups on every state.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:11 pm

In that case, then, great. After all, the main point of discussion was really NAQT here, not HSAPQ. Generally speaking, though, I'm of a mindset where the more differentiation and accessibility to new players and teams, the better, and I think there's definitely room for expansion on the lower end of this spectrum. To reiterate a point I made earlier, though, I wonder how much data on these points have been collected from the coaches and players who are in question here. Has anyone ever actually done something like this?
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:50 am

Increasing NAQT's already high percentage of trash is the exact opposite of what you want to do to introduce people to quizbowl. If new people are going to be drawn in by quizbowl, it's going to be by the fun of buzzing in and expressing what you know, not by answering tons of trash questions -- because one of those things won't really be present at their next tournament.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:06 am

I don't think 15% exactly constitutes tons. But really, I'm more of the mindset of whatever works in terms of bringing new kids and schools into the game. What would be truly instructive would be to try and track down kids who gave quizbowl a shot, however briefly, and then decided it wasn't for them. Now, we shouldn't bend over backwards to keep kids who for whatever reason don't want to do it. But I think a lot more kids would gravitate towards it if they felt that somehow found it more accessible, and maybe trash has a role to play there. Question difficulty, though, is still probably the biggest inhibiting factor.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by tuscumbiaqb » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:07 am

15% trash in a supposedly academic game is indeed tons, and believe it or not, can easily turn coaches off precisely because trash is nonacademic. Yes, trash can be fun for players who already like the academic part of quiz bowl, but if a student sticks around quiz bowl solely for the trash content, that student may not need to be playing quiz bowl in the first place. I have no problem with making the academic content more accessible; along with educating coaches of beginning programs that quiz bowl is indeed not impossible and it is very easy to get better quickly, this is the best way to address the attrition problem.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:03 pm

It's been my observation that new teams have varying opinions on trash. We ran an IS-A set last year where some new to quizbowl teams attended and several were put off by the high levels of trash compared to the local format. Conversely, some students clearly enjoyed some parts of the trash distribution. Thus, I don't think you can clearly say that increasing trash will always attract new teams, although I think some level of trash in regular tournaments is generally a good thing.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by MahoningQuizBowler » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:57 pm

Maybe this belongs more in the Theory/Newbie section, and if it does please move it there, but I wanted to chip in my thoughts based on my experiences in Alaska and southeastern Kansas this week.

1. Quizbowl is not school.

The typical person who is involved in any kind of academic competition at any school is a high-achieving student, one not used to getting answers wrong in their typical work. The line I used on my travels and back in Youngstown was that you (the student) have been trained since however long ago it was when you first started getting letter grades that if you didn't answer 90%/93%/whatever the mark is for an 'A' in your system that you weren't good enough. Quizbowl is not school. We don't grade you. The only thing that matters is, at the end of the game, does your team have 5 or 10 more points than the four students from the other school sitting across from you? Whether it's 50-45 or 500-490, a win is a win is a win is a win.

2. Think baseball.

I know sporting analogies are frowned upon, but I do believe this one holds up. In a 20-tossup game, let's assume that a normal difficulty packet between two teams capable of answering normal difficulty questions against empty chairs answer 16 of these tossups. That's an 80% conversion rate, which seems to be in line with most stated goals of conversion that I've seen. Now, take those 16 tossups and divide them among the eight players. That's 2 each. Suppose one player improves to the point where he or she can take those 4 unconverted tossups and convert them. Now, that player is answering 6 of 20, or 30%, or .300 in baseball terms. Last I checked, and I don't follow baseball much at all, hitting .300 is pretty good.

To sum up the previous two points, expectation management among new players is, to me, critical: coaches need to make new players aware that it is extremely rare for someone to sit at the buzzer and dominate from tossup 1 of tournament 1 in that player's career.

3. Know what the motivating factors are for the group.

When I was in Alaska and running sample games for students at South Anchorage, Bartlett, Eagle River, and Seward, the general message was the same -- you're about to participate in something that's never been done in Alaska before, and no matter how you do collectively or as an individual, no one can take that away. Then, through playing the game, they buy into the fact that this is something worth doing.

The tactic in Kansas was slightly different. I went to a Scholars' Bowl tournament in Oswego, and thanks to sub-optimal tournament scheduling by the hosts, I was able to set up buzzers in the cafeteria and run rounds with whoever wanted to step up. I read pyramidal questions in Kansas and didn't get tossed out on my ear, which is progress enough in my book. However, the selling point was that, since History Bowl does not meet the definition of Scholars' Bowl, it also doesn't fall into Kansas' draconian limitations regarding national play -- and I mentioned that to every single person who played. Travel is, to me, a HUGE carrot to dangle in front of new teams and players. I probably give it more credit than it actually is worth because I love to travel and never really did that in high school, but still, it can be a major motivator to go to tournaments, and do well in order to qualify for tournaments further afield.

4. We are testing a skill that is not much used in educational settings today -- listening.

When I speak with teachers and/or parents about the game, I tell them that there are four things we can teach in the classroom today: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. We do well with the first two (although writing is interchangeable with typing nowadays). Speaking, meh, not so much, but who hasn't had to give a presentation at some point? Listening, though, is a lost art. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Speed checks, :chip: , Questions Galore, Trivial Pursuit cards, etc. can be heard. Pyramidal tossups must be listened to, dissected, and analyzed. There's a flow and rhythm necessary to execute them well; we complain all the time about bad readers who can't manage this. From my experience in Ohio, players who come to the game with a background in music and/or debate enter with an advantage over those who don't, because those activities are ones where listening is still a major component of being successful. It's not to say that the ability to critically listen can't be taught at home or picked up elsewhere, but I don't see where it is being picked up in the everyday classroom. New players who lack the ability to critically listen feel inadequate when confronted with 3-, 4-, or 5-line tossups presented at game speed.

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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:26 pm

Terrible Sports Analogy:

Sprinting requires a short burst of very intense speed. Middle distance running requires roughly the same peak speed, but over a significantly longer course. Endurance running requires an extremely long duration of a-few-notches-below-peak speed, and it always helps to have an excellent finishing kick. (This corresponds to "speed check bowl," NAQT, and ACF-style quizbowl, respectively, down to the buzzer race near the giveaway of many ACF questions).

In the terrible sports analogy above, sprint speed is the track equivalent of attention in quizbowl - the more focused your attention, the more likely you are to win a buzzer race; endurance is the track equivalent of listening/processing skills - the better you listen and process clues, the more likely you are to figure out the answer before other people. For instance, in NAQT play, you need to be paying pretty much full attention at all times, and doing the "online processing" of the earlier clues; ACF doesn't require the same sustained attention, but does require a lot deeper "online processing" if you want to get questions early.

As Greg Bossick notes, many new players struggle to develop their listening and "online processing" skills - the very skills that are required to get good at the modern game. Just as sprinters have a hard time moving to longer distances, players that grow up honing their speed check skills are going to tire themselves out very quickly the first few times they try to play pyramidal quizbowl. It has nothing to do with how easy the answer choices or giveaways are - if this were the case, we'd be seeing coaches everywhere up in arms over the excessive amount of poorly-converted computational math. Instead, we need to find ways to teach new players the listening and processing skills they'll need to get good at the game.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:14 pm

I will actually take a different slant on this idea and suggest that creating a third, even "easier" level of NAQT (or HSAPQ, or whatever) competition will actually not be so hopeful for growing quizbowl. Reading through what Dave, Greg, etc. have posted, it seems like we're considering the impact of something like this on three basic levels (though let me know if you see it differently):

1) Getting people to join/stay on their own quizbowl team.
2) Getting new programs/programs that previously never played pyramidal quizbowl to attend mainstream events and not be put off by them.
3) Integrating these programs into the circuit, which I would conclude is the only true way to actually grow the activity.

How much would A* sets would really make a difference on each of these levels?

1) I doubt very much at all. When you first start playing quizbowl, you don't know what's what. Is a question super easy? Way too hard to be tossed up at this level? Of appropriate length? I don't remember even being aware of any of these things until I observed other people remarking upon them. Most people find the vast majority of questions to be hard/unanswerable (at least against people who have already been playing quizbowl) when they first show up at practice. I can't see why that would be particularly less true if they heard A* sets instead of A sets. The experienced people are going to beat them to A* stuff (perhaps even more consistently, since new people often get their few buzzes on things they've heard of but people on the team already haven't), and quizbowl is just going to feel kind of overwhelming in a sense no matter what the answer lines are. I mean, I didn't know who Virgil was when I showed up at my first high school practice, so a tossup on Virgil was as answerable for me as a tossup on Machado de Assis. And of course, that's not even close to a sane analogy to draw - in reality, regular A packets are full of things that are about as accessible as it gets in those categories.*

*I also urge people to listen to Matt Weiner that you cannot construct a balanced distribution across a full tournament with answers like "oxygen" etc. To counter Dave's suggestion of the fifty states/X number of countries, well, are you going to get science/arts/literature questions out of those? I guess you could write a tournament that was 50% history, geography, and trash and tons of the answer lines repeated, but I don't think anyone here wants to see that.

Most teams do both speed and pyramidal formats (or rather, most teams that do pyramidal also do some speed, and it's a part of the new person experience at those practices); the only thing you really notice right away is disparity between question lengths. Here, it's all about your team's culture/attitude; I was fortunate enough to have a team where the culture was to accept the length variations as competitive challenges, and it was never an issue. If, on the other hand, your team has a crappy attitude about quizbowl in general, slightly easier answer lines are not really going to help. As I believe Matt alluded to, you can find any number of speed sets that are worlds harder than the HSAPQ VHSL stuff, but teams still react negatively to the latter for being "too hard" (wherein length and difficulty become merged into this amorphous blob) and cheer the former for being so short and easy.

The bottom line is that you can't impact what it's like at a team's practice with an A* set, not in the slightest. Whether or not a new person comes back for practice #2 depends somewhat on the material (but people can already find easy stuff), but much more on the team's competitive and even social environment. And all of that stuff put together is still dwarfed in importance by one's personality; if quizbowl - mainstream, circuit quizbowl - is going to be for you, you're not the kind of person who walks away because you weren't hitting your usual 80-90% marks (if that's even the case, because lord knows you don't need a 4.0 to be good at quizbowl). I honestly don't know why we should try to cater on, shall we say, a quizbowl public policy level to the people who find the basic premise of seeking out the information you don't know to be off-putting. That's the job of an educator, to reach out to individuals and make them realize they have the potential to excel and grow; this should not (and more importantly, can not) be the job of a set editor three timezones away.


2)

I guess there's much more of a leg to stand on here, but I'm still not convinced it's going to help all that much. Better teams will still pound new ones on easy questions, and the targeted group of teams would raise their overall ppg by some not all that tremendous value. I don't think it drastically changes the experience - the much bigger factor here is how you prepared. If your new team reads Patrick's Press from 1982 for a month before a tournament, things are probably going to go poorly whether it's A or A*. Kids who like what quizbowl is about will want to respond and improve, and it won't really matter whether there are 10 tossups on answers as easy as "oxygen" as opposed to 15, or if the trash distribution is raised 5-10% (and as established, that's just as much of a negative for plenty of kids). So at best, you're probably looking at a moderate bump here.

3)

However, that moderate and short-lived bump comes with what I can very easily see becoming a serious, systemic consequence added onto the already considerable challenge of adding permanent teams to the circuit. Here's the deal: Let's say we build up a solid following on these A* events, even use them as the point of the spear in expanding into states like Nebraska or something where there isn't really quizbowl. So even if this goes really well, what you now have is a bunch of teams that have been brought up on the culture that the A* is the mainstream model of difficulty/question style/length (and incidentally, you wouldn't want to have A* questions be as long as regular NAQT stuff; if a tournament field is raw enough that you need all your answers to be on things like "Shakespeare," they aren't going to know 5-6 clues worth of stuff about him).

What this leaves you with is the task of going right back to those teams and trying to integrate them with the circuit, which already sees the existing A events at the JV version of their actual competition. So our new Nebraska Quizbowl League is expected to enthusiastically jump into mainstream quizbowl despite the fact that what they see as the epitome of tough, rigorous academic competition is actually a full level below even the training wheels version of the real thing? If I was going to try and engineer a way to get a new league to throw up their hands at mainstream quizbowl, I really wonder if I could come up with a better plan; this would essentially create a great big shadow circuit with a huge divide from mainstream quizbowl that would reopen the market for the abysmal formats of earlier decades that we've all worked so hard to improve and supplant.

And the worst part of all that is, we'd be wasting the expansion opportunity. A region with no real quizbowl background isn't going to have preconceptions about any particular qb style - just like all qb seems hard when you start playing, all quizbowl seems hard if you've never encountered the activity before. Bringing quizbowl to states that have never had it is fraught with challenges, but it's also an opportunity to start people off on the right page and make the disparities they have to overcome significantly smaller.

I know growing the circuit is a herculean task and I am very grateful for the work Dave and others continue to do for it, but I just don't see this route as ending well for us. There's not a quick fix here; Matt has outlined the steps toward expanding pretty well, so I think the key is to focus on new ideas for how we can accomplish those goals rather than seeking alternative routes of entry. Because at the end of the day - on both the individual and team levels - quizbowl is something you must want to do. We should put our effort into removing the various barriers to countless teams realizing that desire (bad coaches/local leagues, people with insane vendettas against various qb groups, lack of knowledge of events/the circuit in general, etc. etc.), rather than trying to bait teams who don't really have it to begin with and creating an even bigger disparity between marginal squads and circuit regulars.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:59 pm

Chris, all of these points are valid, and I think your Nebraska example is illustrative in that that's more an area where current A set or VHSL sets should probably be ok. Really, what I'm going for here is areas like Northern New Mexico and inner cities, where, I'm sorry, an A set would be a turnoff. Don't believe me? Go out there yourself and talk to teachers as I did. Oh, and what presence does quizbowl have in inner cities? Does anyone posting in this thread have any conception of how horrific the conditions are in many of these schools? Does anyone know how many players in the Masterminds league (on A sets) will answer maybe 1-3 tossups over the course of a year? Just like with the other thread on payments, I think people are missing the fact that this is primarily for a very circumscribed set of circumstances.
And even if you don't necessarily know Vergil from Juvenal or whomever, the easier something is, the easier it is to put it in context and actually process and learn from it.
In any case, I may make production of such a set my own personal project next summer, but I'm clearly not going to have time before May to work on it.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:07 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Oh, and what presence does quizbowl have in inner cities? Does anyone posting in this thread have any conception of how horrific the conditions are in many of these schools?
I think this answer that was given by a Bronx team on an episode of The Challenge says the extent of my knowledge on inner-city schools:
Q: How many Great Lakes are there?
A: *5 second pause* Seven.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:10 am

The problems faced by "inner city" schools are large and worthy of being addressed, but I'm not sure that quizbowl is the way to do it. You're asking for a huge sociopolitical problem to somehow be solved by writing a different kind of tossup in NAQT. That doesn't strike me as realistic. It will likely be a frustrating waste of effort for quizbowl that will do nothing to help the situation of underperforming schools.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Cheynem » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:12 am

Yeah, because only players from inner city schools can give bad answers! Give me a break.

[directed at Robert Pond]
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by MahoningQuizBowler » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:45 am

Youngstown, which has been declared the poorest city in the country with a poverty rate of 49.7%, has three public high schools. All three are members of the Mahoning County Quizbowl League Second Division as of last season. Here's how they did:

Chaney, which is now the STEM school for the city:
Varsity, 8-6; Junior Varsity, 5-9
Varsity scoring: 4-80-15, 7.98 ppb
Best score: 205, IS-101A #2 (games are 24/24)
Worst score: 5, IS-101A #1
Top individual scorer: Omar, 14 games, 336 tossups heard, 1-28-9, 17.86 ppg
undefeated against other city schools, tied for 3rd/8 in division

East, which is now the athletic hub of the city whose first season of quizbowl was 2011:
Varsity: 2-12; Junior Varsity, 6-8
Varsity scoring: 3-48-7, 3.73 ppb
Best score: 120, IS-101A #4
Worst score: 10, IS-100 #3
Top individual scorer: Cametreus, 14 games, 336 tossups heard, 2-28-6, 20.00 ppg
JV was 2-2 against other city schools but had 4 games answering no tossups

Youngstown Early College, funded by the Gates Foundation but whose future is in doubt:
Varsity: 3-11; Junior Varsity: 3-11
Varsity scoring: 1-46-3, 5.11 ppb
Best score: 80, IS-101A #4
Worst score: 20, IS-100 #7
Top individual scorer: Jasmine, 14 games, 336 tossups heard, 0-27-1, 18.93 ppg
Largest city team with 9 playing varsity and 12 playing JV, with some overlap, over the season

None of the above teams participated in outside, mainstream tournaments. However, I do believe that having the opportunity to play has done a measure of good for the students and the teachers involved, because they've told me as much. I hope they continue to play.

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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by sir negsalot » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:11 am

This is kind of tangential to the above, but suppose that number n is the number of these inner city schools (or for that matter 29000 schools that don't go to Saturday tournaments). Perhaps it is possible that the number of potentially enthusiastic quizbowl players is smaller than number n. Because quizbowl is not a well-known sport and requires a certain thinking process that is not common, what if there are less good/enthusiastic/potential quizbowl players than schools in America? That is quite possible because even at HSNCT, there were under 1200 attendees. I don't know the exact number, but lets say that a total of 5000 kids from 500 schools play a pyramidal tournament a year. Clearly that is less than 30000. Even 1/5 of a kid from all the remaining schools in America would more than double the quizbowl playing population. What I'm saying is that if I was living in Nebraska, I would never know about this website or pyramidal quizbowl, and I may not have 3 friends who are interested in it to compete with me. Definitely the History Bee is a big step for promoting individual quizbowl competition nationally.Perhaps the focus on attracting people en masse from locations that have existing outreach by making questions easier is flawed and the best real growth could come from isolated individuals that haven't been reached yet. More individual competitions where the price might be 15 or 20 dollars for an individual may attract people who don't have 3 teammates because of the statistical rarity of quizbowl players. Just a thought.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:50 am

sir negsalot wrote:I don't know the exact number, but lets say that a total of 5000 kids from 500 schools play a pyramidal tournament a year.
This number is actually much lower than the real figure; in 2010-11 there were 502 schools that qualified for HSNCT.

Every high school in the country should be able to field a team of four players who can at least enjoy playing and put up 8-10 ppb or so on novice-level questions. What the community needs to do is outreach to set up new programs, get teachers started as coaches, and make sure there are nearby tournaments available to everyone.
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Re: NAQT A set difficulty

Post by mtimmons » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:34 am

NAQT actually does produce a number of sets that are below A level difficulty. Just in Minnesota this fall there is a high school tournament on NAQT's middle school set, Rat-race which is a tossup only speed check set produced by NAQT, and the Minnesota High School Quiz Bowl League which is composed of speed checks, A level questions,and lightning rounds all written by NAQT. What has happened in Minnesota is that these extra easy tournaments draw the most teams, A and IS level sets draw somewhat less and ACF style sets draw very very few.
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