Social science in high school quizbowl

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
Locked
User avatar
DumbJaques
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 3078
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Social science in high school quizbowl

Post by DumbJaques » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:36 pm

Split from the search for a housewrite to use in Missouri thread --Mgmt.

That makes sense, although it's difficult for me to imagine that overall set quality would be less important than .5/.5 fewer SS. . . hopefully the other sets are serviceable.

I actually really disagree that there's a problem with 1/1 social science in high school - psych and econ are major AP courses and have a good answer space, and the most famous things from sociology/anthro/etc. are covered in history or bio classes. I think the problem with what's happened to the high school SS distribution is that people have tried to import answer space from college, and that's always a bad idea. One of the nice thing about SS is that you can actually use it to write on atypical answerlines incorporating general academic knowledge that tends to draw from history, geography, current events, science, and philosophy - I tried to do that with the SS distribution for this year's NSC, and I think it worked reasonably well even at that higher difficulty level. At lower levels, it's probably even easier to do that; I'd think by definition a field that categorically couldn't handle tossups on Levi-Strauss or Malinowski would not find the most basic tossups on "the Incas" (using cultural practice clues) or "neanderthals" overly easy.

I'd say the better solution to this problem is to just reevaluate how we think of "SS" (which we really ought to do in general), and stop writing tossups about increasingly-obscure segments of Raw and the Cooked or whatever. It's also worth considering that for areas where people don't have access to many SS topics, playing those questions are one of the better ways to expose kids to that material, which serves a broader social purpose than just quizbowl.
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE

User avatar
Dominator
Tidus
Posts: 545
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:16 pm

Re: Looking for a good housewrite to mirror in November

Post by Dominator » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:10 pm

I agree with both Chris and Charlie, here. I think SS needs to be a smaller part of the distro AND we need to rethink how we write it and putting some of Chris's suggestions to practice.

The biggest difference for me between college SS and high school SS is all of the gen eds people take right when they start college that fall into the SS distro. (I took at least four gen eds in those categories.) The much greater exposure warrants the larger portion of the distro. Chris's argument that a lot of SS that could be asked in high school might be encountered in history or bio, while true, also means that some of those clues and answers could be appearing in those parts of the distro instead of being designated SS.

That said, SS has become a rather boring topic at the high school level because of a lack of creativity in answer selection. Even though it makes my job easier, I am unsatisfied that I, having no real training in anthro whatsoever, can teach my players the anthro canon in an hour.
Dr. Noah Prince

Normal Community High School (2002)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2004, 2007, 2008)

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy - Scholastic Bowl coach (2009-2014), assistant coach (2014-2015), well wisher (2015-2016)
guy in San Diego (2016-present)
President of Qblitz (2018-present)

Image

User avatar
Muriel Axon
Tidus
Posts: 702
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:19 am

Re: Looking for a good housewrite to mirror in November

Post by Muriel Axon » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:10 pm

DumbJaques wrote:One of the nice thing about SS is that you can actually use it to write on atypical answerlines incorporating general academic knowledge that tends to draw from history, geography, current events, science, and philosophy - I tried to do that with the SS distribution for this year's NSC, and I think it worked reasonably well even at that higher difficulty level. At lower levels, it's probably even easier to do that; I'd think by definition a field that categorically couldn't handle tossups on Levi-Strauss or Malinowski would not find the most basic tossups on "the Incas" (using cultural practice clues) or "neanderthals" overly easy.

I'd say the better solution to this problem is to just reevaluate how we think of "SS" (which we really ought to do in general), and stop writing tossups about increasingly-obscure segments of Raw and the Cooked or whatever. It's also worth considering that for areas where people don't have access to many SS topics, playing those questions are one of the better ways to expose kids to that material, which serves a broader social purpose than just quizbowl.
Your suggestions have the added advantage of dealing with things more social scientists actually think about and do, by which I mean not reading Malinowski.
Shan Kothari

Plymouth High School '10
Michigan State University '14
University of Minnesota '20

User avatar
Rococo A Go Go
Auron
Posts: 2245
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:08 am
Location: Louisville, KY

Re: Social science in high school quizbowl

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:59 pm

Why is geography, which is considered a social science by plenty of people, a separate part of the quizbowl distribution?
Nick Conder
Louisville, KY

"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."--Eugene V. Debs

User avatar
Scaled Flowerpiercer
Wakka
Posts: 199
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:03 pm
Location: Irvington, NY

Re: Social science in high school quizbowl

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:41 pm

Sulawesi Myzomela wrote:Why is geography, which is considered a social science by plenty of people, a separate part of the quizbowl distribution?
I would assume just because geography tends to be something people write more questions about and sometimes want to occupy a large enough part of a packet to have its own place in its distribution (for example, while some tournaments may have had .5/.5 or 1/1 geography, I don't think anyone has written/wanted a set with .5/.5 or 1/1 anthropology or economics)

Also, I second the opinions that SS is not an "evil" in and of its self, but I think it could certainly be done better, I know many players who have been put off by anthropology questions (especially B/C team players from my high school), as its not something too many people get exposed to. Economics and Psychology (and possibly certain things from Sociology) are, I think, far more accessible, both in a "its taught in schools" sense and just a "people are likely to know it" sense, and also writing anthropology questions in accessible ways (like with the history/bio-ish type clues people have mentioned) would be good. Social Studies isn't bad, just in high school it needs less Mead and Milanowski and more other stuff.
Samuel Donow
Irvington High School '12
Williams College '16

Adventure Temple Trail
Auron
Posts: 2613
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:52 pm

Re: Social science in high school quizbowl

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:51 pm

Geography is separate from social science because quizbowl geography questions are about knowing the important places of the world, where they are, and what's notable about them. That's something you learn independent of the social sciences; to be clearer, they aren't questions on the kinds of concepts, theories, methods, etc. that professional geographers and geography students handle outside the layperson's sense of the term.

My thoughts about 1/1 social science in high school sets, from my Further Thoughts on BHSAT:
Me wrote:Filling 1/1 each of Philosophy and Social Science with appropriate material was an exceedingly difficult task for this tournament, in part because I didn't just want to toss up things which were only appropriate for Nationals-caliber teams or have easy bonus parts on philosophers such as Hegel or Schopenhauer who most teams don't actually come across. I strongly encourage writers of future independent high school tournaments to not blindly copy this aspect of the ACF college distribution, which was devised for an age range with more exposure to these subjects, and reduce both subjects’ representation in their sets. HSAPQ and NAQT already do this, and I encourage future writers of independent high school tournaments to do so as well.
Me wrote:While psychology and economics both seem to be fillable with 3/3 to 5/5 of repeatable material per tournament, as they were [at BHSAT], it really seems as though outside those subjects the askable material is very, very limited (as we’ve gone over about anthro on these boards often) and should be minimized and kept accessible at all costs.
Matt J.
ex-Georgetown Day HS, ex-Yale
member emeritus, ACF

Sailing away on my copper boat

User avatar
Muriel Axon
Tidus
Posts: 702
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:19 am

Re: Social science in high school quizbowl

Post by Muriel Axon » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:06 pm

RyuAqua wrote:they aren't questions on the kinds of concepts, theories, methods, etc. that professional geographers and geography students handle outside the layperson's sense of the term.
Would questions that are about the things professional geographers study be (at least sometimes) appropriate for the SS distribution?
Shan Kothari

Plymouth High School '10
Michigan State University '14
University of Minnesota '20

Adventure Temple Trail
Auron
Posts: 2613
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:52 pm

Re: Social science in high school quizbowl

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:41 pm

Depends on the thing, I guess. A lot of the geology/climate/weather type stuff is probably already finding a home in quizbowl Other Science, whereas stuff about demography, agriculture, politics, and the like could be worked into geography questions on specific examples (by mentioning important exports from regions of a country in your country tossup, e.g.) or into history or social sciences like econ where relevant. Questions on GIS/mapping software and infographics/data analysis, which college programs spend a ton of time on, probably aren't a good idea in general. Most stuff geographers do is not very known by high schoolers in any case.
Matt J.
ex-Georgetown Day HS, ex-Yale
member emeritus, ACF

Sailing away on my copper boat

User avatar
I'm a goff (in case you couldn't tell)
Quizbowl Detective Extraordinaire
Posts: 1641
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 10:25 pm
Location: Wichita, KS

Re: Social science in high school quizbowl

Post by I'm a goff (in case you couldn't tell) » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:27 pm

RyuAqua wrote:Depends on the thing, I guess. A lot of the geology/climate/weather type stuff is probably already finding a home in quizbowl Other Science, whereas stuff about demography, agriculture, politics, and the like could be worked into geography questions on specific examples (by mentioning important exports from regions of a country in your country tossup, e.g.) or into history or social sciences like econ where relevant. Questions on GIS/mapping software and infographics/data analysis, which college programs spend a ton of time on, probably aren't a good idea in general. Most stuff geographers do is not very known by high schoolers in any case.
This is a pretty accurate description. Meteorology, oceanography, and to at least some extent, climatology, all belong in other physical science rather the social science/geography realm. Many of the topics we covered in my non-meteorology geography classes are synthesized from other fields, and are probably better asked about in those contexts or as part of a more traditional quizbowl geography question.

Probably the one space with the most unique answerlines would be in remote sensing and phenology, and I seriously doubt many people would do well on tossups about tasseled cap transformations or vegetation indices.
Dan Goff
HSQB sysadmin

Virginia Tech '13
South Carolina '15
and a couple other places
Not Thomas Dale HS

STAAATS

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2998
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Social science in high school quizbowl

Post by Auroni » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:14 pm

I strongly agree with Chris here.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Social science in high school quizbowl

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:33 pm

The Motley Eye wrote:remote sensing
Any move in the quizbowl metagame allowing me to write questions from my high school science olympiad binders are probably not welcome changes.
Andrew Watkins

Locked