Page 1 of 1

Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 7:16 pm
by Song Oku
Why are there different difficulties to questions(middle school, high school, college, etc.)?

It seems to me that as long as the playing field is of one age group, any difficulty of questions could be used to determine the better and worse teams.
Yes, there will be harder answerlines on more difficult sets, but that should not affect the overall rankings, as everyone is playing the same set- in fact, it would be better at sorting out the best of the best teams.
An example here would be Kealing Middle, which hasn't won all year a tournament run on a NAQT MS set, while they regularly won against other middle schools on IS sets. In the end they won 2nd at MSNCT.

So I guess my main point would be: why not use one universal difficulty for all questions, then just regulate the field to a specific age group?

EDIT: This is just a hypothetical question. I'm not calling for any change in the current difficulties.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 7:39 pm
by Sima Guang Hater
KoreanTacos wrote:So I guess my main point would be: why not use one universal difficulty for all questions, then just regulate the field to a specific age group?
At the very least, the game doesn't scale infinitely, in many ways. Winning a game 30 to 20 on a set too hard for the field is not the same as winning 280 to 270 on a set more appropriate to the field, or 600 to 105 on a set that is completely too easy for the field but buzzer races on the first one or two clues are the entirety of the game. It's about the increased resolution that appropriately difficult questions give in discriminating knowledge.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 9:47 pm
by alexdz
Also, and this is a bit of a different type of answer than I think you were wanting, is that there are things that are simply not acceptable to be asked about in certain types of packets. There is no way you could legitimately ask about certain more adult topics in a middle school set without a huge outcry from a lot of parents and administrators.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 9:59 pm
by the return of AHAN
KoreanTacos wrote:
An example here would be Kealing Middle, which hasn't won PLAYED all year a tournament run on a NAQT MS set,
FYP
while they regularly won against other middle schools on IS sets. In the end they won 2nd at MSNCT.
I don't get it. Are you saying that playing on middle school questions somehow robbed them of the chance to win a middle school national championship for the 3rd year in a row? The fact is, this year, they ran into 3 different teams that were able to outscore them over an 18 minute match. They finished third in PPB and PP20TH. I don't see how using more difficult questions would've made the result any more valid. My team practices on high school packets, too, after all; we just don't have any tournaments where we can play on them.
From a more global perspective, yeah, Eric is right; who'd want to spend $500 plus travel on a tournament where half the field may be hard-pressed to break 100? On that note, an NAQT official did relate that they thought they had ramped up the difficulty on this year's MSNCT, but, given the scoring totals, they wonder if they may not have gone far enough.
EDIT: Oh, and 100% of what Alex said...

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 10:02 pm
by Cody
People of different education levels are expected to know different things. Asking questions appropriate to one's education level evens the playing field and ensures that questions are answered for teams at all ends of the spectrum.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 10:08 pm
by vinteuil
I think that this idea of having a universal difficulty would only work if the answerlines were kept as easy as possible, otherwise there is a good chance that many matches would end 0-0 at lower levels. And that restriction makes it nigh-impossible to write, because otherwise, yes, it will degenerate into buzzer races for upper-level teams.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 12:43 am
by Corry
The way I see it, a universal difficulty isn't practical because most teams around the nation (outside maybe the top 50-100) play quiz bowl for the sole reason that it's fun. Sure, the tournament standings would be the same with a universal difficulty, but the game itself won't be nearly as enjoyable.

If such a universal difficulty errs on the hard side, for instance, every game between middle school teams would end with a score of 50-60. On the other hand, if such a universal difficulty errs on the easy side, every game between college teams would be a first-line buzzer race.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 2:51 am
by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant
Having everyone play on the same difficulty would be like using a yardstick regardless of how short or long the length you're measuring is. You would only get good results for the group the packet difficulty is appropriate for. Would you use a yardstick to measure the thickness of a sheet of paper or the height of a mountain?

Or, for a similar but maybe less familiar example, it's like using only carbon-14 to date a specimen, even if that specimen is 50 or 50 billion years old. It's only good for a certain range of dates, just like quizbowl difficulties are only good for a certain range of player/team skill levels. Outside of the appropriate date range, you get erratic results, despite what creationists may tell you.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 4:37 pm
by Song Oku
the return of AHAN wrote:
KoreanTacos wrote:
An example here would be Kealing Middle, which hasn't won PLAYED all year a tournament run on a NAQT MS set,
FYP
http://naqt.com/stats/school-results.jsp?org_id=68933
FYP
while they regularly won against other middle schools on IS sets. In the end they won 2nd at MSNCT.
I don't get it. Are you saying that playing on middle school questions somehow robbed them of the chance to win a middle school national championship for the 3rd year in a row? The fact is, this year, they ran into 3 different teams that were able to outscore them over an 18 minute match. They finished third in PPB and PP20TH. I don't see how using more difficult questions would've made the result any more valid. My team practices on high school packets, too, after all; we just don't have any tournaments where we can play on them.
I'm not saying that Kealing is an invincible team, only that they're among the top in the nation. Nor am I discrediting your win- I saw both finals, and I completely admire your team; it was clearly the strongest at the tournament.
My only point was that Kealing seemed to perform better on sets of harder difficulty rather than easier ones.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:12 pm
by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
David, what difficulty should everything be played at? Would you like us to run ACF Nationals packets for you every Saturday?

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:17 pm
by Song Oku
As I said in my edit, my question was a purely hypothetical one. And no, I would do fine without weekly ACF Nationals.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 6:49 pm
by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
OK, well then doesn't that undermine your entire point?

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 7:29 pm
by Song Oku
That would depend on your interpretation of my original point.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 7:37 pm
by High Dependency Unit
Your point is interesting. Although it could hypothetically work, tossups would have to be extremely long and there would be quite a restriction on answer lines. I'm surprised nobody mentioned bonuses. You really couldn't write those at all this way without teams with the same school level (ms, hs, college) more or less getting similar scores on bonuses.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 9:10 pm
by the return of AHAN
KoreanTacos wrote:
the return of AHAN wrote:
KoreanTacos wrote:
An example here would be Kealing Middle, which hasn't won PLAYED all year a tournament run on a NAQT MS set,
FYP
http://naqt.com/stats/school-results.jsp?org_id=68933
FYP
while they regularly won against other middle schools on IS sets. In the end they won 2nd at MSNCT.
I don't get it. Are you saying that playing on middle school questions somehow robbed them of the chance to win a middle school national championship for the 3rd year in a row? The fact is, this year, they ran into 3 different teams that were able to outscore them over an 18 minute match. They finished third in PPB and PP20TH. I don't see how using more difficult questions would've made the result any more valid. My team practices on high school packets, too, after all; we just don't have any tournaments where we can play on them.
I'm not saying that Kealing is an invincible team, only that they're among the top in the nation. Nor am I discrediting your win- I saw both finals, and I completely admire your team; it was clearly the strongest at the tournament.
My only point was that Kealing seemed to perform better on sets of harder difficulty rather than easier ones.
Perhaps I wasn't clear enough when fixing your post. By Kealing, I meant Kealing A, and by Kealing A, I meant Graham, Ujwal, Ezra, and Avani.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 9:22 pm
by Oh No You Didn't
do you realize that middle schoolers shouldn't be expected to know about the complement system and ntozake shange?

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 9:30 pm
by High Dependency Unit
I think I'm proving your point by asking what those are.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2013 10:39 am
by Couch's Kingbird
Martha Dreyer wrote:do you realize that middle schoolers shouldn't be expected to know about the complement system and ntozake shange?

The different topics that come up in different difficulties is probably a reason why there are difficulties such as hs and ms in the first place; each difficulty is tailored to the topics that players (of each difficulty) are expected to know.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2013 12:11 pm
by Sniper, No Sniping!
Why are there so many middle schoolers commenting on question difficulty?

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2013 4:19 pm
by AKKOLADE
Why Are There So Many X Commenting On Y: The Hsquizbowl Story: The Movie

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2013 4:22 pm
by Song Oku
Mr. Scogan wrote:Why are there so many middle schoolers commenting on question difficulty?
I don't know about the others, and I'm not saying I'm an expert on question difficulty either, but having played on both the high school and middle school circuit simultaneously for two years, I think I have a good grasp on difficulty.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2013 4:30 pm
by Cody
If you think you have a good grasp on difficulty, you don't.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2013 4:38 pm
by Beevor Feevor
Yeah, although the high school circuit might not seem THAT far removed from the MS circuit, the college circuit has questions on people in disciplines that most middle school teams might not even know exist. Imagine middle schoolers trying to answer questions on Herbert Marcuse or college kids regulated to endless Pride and Prejudice tossups because middle schoolers wouldn't be able to answer anything else.

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2013 4:41 pm
by High Dependency Unit
I've played on an IS set, and I can say although some answerlines are shared, there are alot that are completely inappropriate for Middle Schoolers, even at MSNCT (unless it's a hard bonus part).

Re: Why are there different difficulties?

Posted: Thu May 09, 2013 4:47 pm
by Matt Weiner
This thread where a bunch of people yell at a middle schooler has long outlived its usefulness.