Format discussion - round 204

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Post by Daniel862 »

Some of us simply don't like NAQT or PACE format...those aren't the dominant formats in Arkansas. Our cost was so high because we took 8 players @ $275 per player.

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Daniel862 wrote:Some of us simply don't like NAQT or PACE format...those aren't the dominant formats in Arkansas. Our cost was so high because we took 8 players @ $275 per player.
Why not? NAQT and PACE are, without a doubt, better formats than ASCN.

Something I've noticed is that areas of the country like Arkansas and Missouri want to pretend that quizbowl is still in the 1990s or earlier. Quizbowl has improved so much from 15 years ago, and people need to get used to it.
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Post by Daniel862 »

We're actually looking at setting up a regional tournament, funded by the state of Arkansas, based on AGQBA format (4 rounds, 20 question tossups in the 1/st and 4th, 10 question with bonus in the 2nd, and 3rd quarter lightning rounds).

I've played Questions Unlimited. It's not bad. But ASCN is(was) THE tourney for Arkansas.

Everyone has their preferences. We just don't like NAQT.

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Post by Frater Taciturnus »

Daniel862 wrote:We're actually looking at setting up a regional tournament, funded by the state of Arkansas, based on AGQBA format (4 rounds, 20 question tossups in the 1/st and 4th, 10 question with bonus in the 2nd, and 3rd quarter lightning rounds).

I've played Questions Unlimited. It's not bad. But ASCN is(was) THE tourney for Arkansas.

Everyone has their preferences. We just don't like NAQT.

um...why?
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Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants »

Yo why judge NAQT and PACE like that if the only other thing you've played (besides ASCN) is QU, which is undoubtedly the crappiest of HS quizbowl?
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Post by vcuEvan »

Yeah NAQT isn't THE Virginia format either. We just play it while we wait for the Weakest Link state championship to be created.

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Post by STPickrell »

iambusyeating wrote:Yeah NAQT isn't THE Virginia format either. We just play it while we wait for the Weakest Link state championship to be created.
This must mean no Virginia teams can ever play in a national championship, since none of them use the VHSL format.

(/sarcasm)

Seriously, though, it's probably good to have some anti-NAQT folks on this board, but "We don't like NAQT" isn't much of an explanation.

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Post by Frater Taciturnus »

StPickrell wrote:
iambusyeating wrote:Yeah NAQT isn't THE Virginia format either. We just play it while we wait for the Weakest Link state championship to be created.
This must mean no Virginia teams can ever play in a national championship, since none of them use the VHSL format.

(/sarcasm)

Seriously, though, it's probably good to have some anti-NAQT folks on this board, but "We don't like NAQT" isn't much of an explanation.
See, that was my (brief, semi-existant) point: We understand that you "don't like NAQT & PACE." We just want you to dodge explaining until finally we just give up asking you for actual reasons. Wait, that's not we want...at all... We want the exact opposite of what I just stated.

WHY do you not like NAQT and PACE formats?
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Post by Daniel862 »

NAQT isn't the format that our state board supports. There were only one or two NAQT tournaments even offered in state this year, and most of the major players in Arkansas didn't even attend. That being said, we do have some NAQT style questions mixed in with the rest of our practice questions, and we have tried them out. We've considered going to NAQT-style tournaments. The problem is, the few tournaments that are offered in that format either fall on the same weekend as invitational tournaments that utilize the format used in our state tournament, or they fall right in the middle of tournament season as we're gearing up for state. Either way, it's inconvenient.

Now, if I see that our state is going to start shifting in the direction of NAQT, I'll be more than happy to make the switch, too, but I'm not going to switch just for the sake of switching; I'm going to do what I can to help my team succeed first at the state level, and then, potentially, at the national level, assuming we can get the funding to travel.

In addition, if someone could perhaps tell me where to find the rules for NAQT and PACE, I'd like to review them again and maybe start looking into playing some tournaments in those styles next year when I take over the program (I'm just the assistant coach for our A team this year).

::EDIT::
To my knowledge, PACE isn't played at all in Arkansas, so I really know nothing about it; I went to the website and couldn't find any rules or descriptions on format. In fact, until joining this board, I'd never HEARD of PACE.

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Post by Matthew D »

In Alabama our state organization does not really support NAQT either but that has not stopped some of us from hosting tournaments and trying to improve the overall play in our state. It might surprise you if you start hosting tournaments, that other teams feel that they aren't happy with the particular local format or just want to do something different than what they see all the time..

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Post by First Chairman »

While we do have our own format, PACE is more about having more programs play "the game" in whatever format that you use. The "format" we use however is unique for our own purposes.

Of course, I also would say that we have enough people and enough formats to say that if you are able to run a competition in NAQT format even if your state board prefers a different one, you have the right to run the toss/bonus formatted competition. Defy authority!

The thing is that you have to create a buzz in favor for alternative formats. If it becomes very clear that no one except :chip: runs an event that resembles Arkansas format nationally, then maybe that's enough reason to start moving towards a more known national competition format. Of course, if the state doesn't really give a care about competing at nationals (and we know plenty of states like this :wink: ), then it's a moot argument.
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Post by dtaylor4 »

The format won't change unless the participants want it to change. I know that there are teams in Arkansas that like pyramidal questions, as I scorekept for one at NAQT HSNCT (Malvern).

In Illinois, it took a long-ass time, but this year there were pyramidal questions in the 'official' state tournament. There are more than a few tournaments (some NAQT) that use pyramidal questions. If you want to try to expose other teams to good questions, take Matt's suggestion and host tournaments that use them (buy them from an outside company, and maybe a few years down the road, try house-written.)

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Post by Byko »

I'll throw in a couple thoughts from my little bit of experience with Arkansas.

First off, welcome to the board, Daniel--nice to have more representation from areas that we don't hear much about.

I've been in charge of the high school questions for Arkansas's state series last year and this year (a total of 50 rounds each of these two years). From the beginning, it was made clear that questions were supposed to be short--no longer than 3 lines and usually no longer than 2 lines. Admittedly, considering that I've tried to work some pyramidality into the questions instead of having a lot of questions like, "Who wrote Paradise Lost?", the questions have been mostly about 3 lines (2 sentences) long. The main comment I've gotten in response from the competition directors is that they thought my questions had gotten a little too long. When I talked specifically about having questions be pyramidal and mentioned that it was something the teams from Arkansas that I had met at HSNCT liked (namely Benton, Malvern, and Parkview), the response that I got was that almost everyone in Arkansas doesn't like NAQT, in part because the questions were too long.

I'd be happy to help in any way that I can as far as getting more tournaments with pyramidal questions into Arkansas. Our company is shifting priorities and reorganizing a little bit heading into next season, so we will not be submitting a bid for Arkansas's state series. However, if you or another school wanted to run a tournament (any format), we'd be happy to try to help as much as we could. Feel free to e-mail me.
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Post by Tegan »

There may be a couple of issues here in regards to "format".

If the issue is the pyramadality of questions: take it from someone who started on short, fast questions: pyramidality is the wave of the future, and it won't stop. They are a better style of question, and are the only way to go. States that don't apodt this will be left in the dust of the future.

If the issue is topic seelction .... that's a whole other story. Amazingly, I find that NAQT operates on a far more restrictive topic selection. The math, fro an Illinois standpoint, is poor, though most of the nation favors those types of questions for a variety of reasons. NAQT has very little art by comparison to other formats, and I wish they had more. I think NAQT over emphasizes sociology, economics, and pop culture (all my opinions, feel free to differ). I far prefer the Illinois distribution of topics over NAQT's, but we fought long hard battles to get our questions to look a lot more like what they offer.

Tha being said, there are few companys that consistently turn out the quality and consistency that NAQT offers. As a matter of fact, I moderated a round this year in which one part of a bonus identified the capital of New Jersey as "Dover". It stuck out because NAQT simply does not make those kind of mistakes ..... very few other companys (if any) and writers can claim that distinction for research and quality.

As someone who has taken the long walk from poor questions to better questions: Take the lead in getting your state to convert to better style of questions.

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Post by vcuEvan »

I'm beginning to lose that iron faith in NAQT's accuracy after last tournament... IS62 I think.

But that's beside the point.

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Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier »

iambusyeating wrote:I'm beginning to lose that iron faith in NAQT's accuracy after last tournament... IS62 I think.

But that's beside the point.
It was IS-64

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Post by quizbowllee »

I've come to the conclusion that when people say that questions are "too long," what they actually mean is "too in-depth." I've seen a lot of "good" Alabama teams who know, for example, that Ibsen wrote "A Doll's House." However, they don't know that he wrote "Ghosts," the don't know that he is Norwegian, and they sure as hell don't know that he had an early play called Brand.

Students - and coaches - are too lazy to learn beyond the superficial. They want to be able to win tournaments with as little effort as possible.

Someone (Daniel?) said that their primary goal was to succeed on the state level and that Nationals were secondary. My primary goal is to impart as much knowledge as possible to these young kids. I want them to KNOW, not just REMEMBER.

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Post by Matthew D »

quizbowllee wrote:I've come to the conclusion that when people say that questions are "too long," what they actually mean is "too in-depth." I've seen a lot of "good" Alabama teams who know, for example, that Ibsen wrote "A Doll's House." However, they don't know that he wrote "Ghosts," the don't know that he is Norwegian, and they sure as hell don't know that he had an early play called Brand.

Students - and coaches - are too lazy to learn beyond the superficial. They want to be able to win tournaments with as little effort as possible.

Someone (Daniel?) said that their primary goal was to succeed on the state level and that Nationals were secondary. My primary goal is to impart as much knowledge as possible to these young kids. I want them to KNOW, not just REMEMBER.
I have to totally agree with you on this Lee, I want them to know and not just remember.. which is a big step for some of them..

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Post by STPickrell »

quizbowllee wrote:I've come to the conclusion that when people say that questions are "too long," what they actually mean is "too in-depth." I've seen a lot of "good" Alabama teams who know, for example, that Ibsen wrote "A Doll's House." However, they don't know that he wrote "Ghosts," the don't know that he is Norwegian, and they sure as hell don't know that he had an early play called Brand.

Students - and coaches - are too lazy to learn beyond the superficial. They want to be able to win tournaments with as little effort as possible.

Someone (Daniel?) said that their primary goal was to succeed on the state level and that Nationals were secondary. My primary goal is to impart as much knowledge as possible to these young kids. I want them to KNOW, not just REMEMBER.
And this is where one-line questions fall on their face.

Eventually, you get a group of teams who know the "core facts," such as that "Ibsen wrote A Doll's House." Matches between these teams become little more than a test of reflex speed, and you might even get a "tie" on your buzzer system if you are lucky and your buzzer system is like that (I've seen it a couple of times myself.)

Matches where most questions see eight people pushing the button at once just aren't much fun, nor do they really differentiate between the top 20-30% of teams.

The "solutions" are either to make the questions harder (and then see 60-20 matches between less experienced teams) or to make the questions more detailed.

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Post by jrbarry »

1. Chip's format does not resemble Arkansas' state format in any way excepot they are both four quarter. Arkansas' questions are of a different nature that Chip's. The ASCN format IS Arkansas' format.

2. The best Arkansas teams always did well at ASCN in part, due to their familiarity with that format. It always amazed me that teams from SC and GA could do well at ASCN because we NEVER played that format nor did we ever play that type of question (short, direct).

3. It has been my experience in GA that, if people give good tournaments with formats and questions that people like/respect, folks will come around to those formats and types of questions. We did that in the 1980s using almost exclusively pyramid tossups. BY the 1990s, pyramid tossups were the norm in our state.

4. I have spoken with a number of coaches in states like Alabama and Arkansas and Missouri and Oklahoma who believe, truly believe, that longer, pyramid-style tossups work to the detriment of small, rural schools. I DO NOT THINK THAT IS NECESSARILY TRUE. But that belief is pretty widespread and that is why you do not have any kind of groundswell for longer questions among coaches in some places.

5. High-handed and elitist attitudes by those of us who favor pyramid tossups will NOT get them as the norm where they are not the norm. Getting invloved in state coaches associations and working your way "up" in them by doing the drudge work might give us more credibility on this issue. If I have worked for 15 years promoting quiz bowl in my state, I am gonna look with a wary eye at some whippersnapper who comes in and says we need to make fundamental changes.

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Post by yoda4554 »

Just wondering, Lee--if your aim is to teach your players things about Ibsen, rather than help them win qbowl tournaments, why would you want them to know about a rarely-produced early play like Brand rather than, say, the reasons that Nora has in A Doll's House for leaving her husband even though they're not being blackmailed anymore? That seems to me to be knowledge about Ibsen much more appropriate to general high school education, even if it may not be the most useful for qbowl purposes.

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Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants »

yoda4554 wrote:That seems to me to be knowledge about Ibsen much more appropriate to general high school education, even if it may not be the most useful for qbowl purposes.
Actually it is fairly useful for a well-written tossup or bonus on A Doll's House.

Anyway, let's not forget the issue is not just about tossups, but also bonuses. Like a tossup, you want bonuses to reward knowledge with gradually more difficult parts (or just do a 30-20-10, basically a tossup broken down). For example, you don't want to have tournaments with ones like "For ten points, name these landlocked seas," when there are actually only 3 landlocked seas (Caspian, Aral, Salton). Bonuses asking for three different rulers, all with the same name but different ordinal numbers, are awful too. Both of these examples come from NAQT, the latter from IS-66, so I can't be specific about that one but people who played on it know what I'm talking about. People have voiced their concerns over IS-64, IS-66 seemed too easy as well. I expected more out of that set since it was used to make Div. II Sectionals, but I was wrong. These and a couple of sets from last year make it seem as though NAQT is starting to slip on IS sets, and even at HSNCT there were some problematic questions last year (including a factual error with the 17th and 16th amendments being confused, and the fusion tossup). In fact I would dispute Tegan's assertion that NAQT simply doesn't make mistakes and they're better in that area than anyone else; it seems to me that PACE is far better in the research and quality department. Few people have had complaints about poor writing from PACE at least in recent years, plus I like their level of difficulty and tossup length more. I think we should stop equating "good"/knowledge-over-trivia quizbowl to "NAQT format," because good quizbowl covers more formats than that and NAQT isn't the best lately.
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Post by DumbJaques »

Uh, also, this is still, like, a competition. We have regular school to teach us why Nora leaves, or whatever. Lee is a quizbowl coach and in that capacity, he's responsible for his team. If he taught an English class on the play, he'd be responsible for his kids learning that kind of stuff. He wasn't saying he wanted to throw quizbowl performance into the wind and teach his kids the meanings of Ibsen's plays, I think, but that in the process of developing a broad and deep knowledge of Henrik Ibsen, he'd want them to actually learn about him rather than memorizing the name of a play and pressing the button when they hear a certain combination of words.

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Post by Matt Weiner »

yoda4554 wrote:Just wondering, Lee--if your aim is to teach your players things about Ibsen, rather than help them win qbowl tournaments, why would you want them to know about a rarely-produced early play like Brand rather than, say, the reasons that Nora has in A Doll's House for leaving her husband even though they're not being blackmailed anymore? That seems to me to be knowledge about Ibsen much more appropriate to general high school education, even if it may not be the most useful for qbowl purposes.
Speaking for myself, I was inspired to read Ibsen's complete works and a bunch of criticism which informs me of things like why Nora leaves her husband, thanks to being exposed to the more-than-Doll's-House version of Ibsen in quizbowl. I don't expect there to be many tossups on Little Eyolf at any tournament but I read it anyway because the idea that quizbowl inspires people to learn things for their own sake is actually true. I think we did A Doll's House in ninth grade or something and I took little notice of it at the time, but learning more through quizbowl from people who found some value in literature that wasn't attached to getting a grade brought me back to it.

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Post by Matthew D »

Like Matt W. said, one of the things that quiz bowl does do it peak an interest into certain things because of exposure. Most of the kids that we coach find their way to quiz bowl because the like to learn things... it really doesn't matter what, but they like curious little facts that in turn, become a reason to read a new novel, watch a play, or do math problems that are above where your class is.
Matt M you are correct it doesn't really matter format wise if the questions are good questions in a style that has the kids learning "real" educational material verse the trivia

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Post by yoda4554 »

I certainly agree with the Matts, and have some vaguely similar experiences in being made aware of stuff I hadn't known about previously through quiz bowl--in fact, my own experience with Ibsen is similar to, if less extensive than, Weiner's. But I would think the part to be emphasized in terms of "real" knowledge or larger educational purposes or whatever is the part of that where you go and do the reading, rather than learning the names of plays in the first place.

I'm simply confused at the distinction that Chris and Lee are making between simple "memorization" or "remembering" (which seemed to be associated with desires to do well at particular competitions), in which the hypothetical player learns A Doll's House-->Ibsen, and "knowing" or "learning," in which this player simply learns a larger set of things on which to reflex-buzz with Ibsen on. I have seen, I believe, people in practice who have never seen or touched an Ibsen play take Ibsen tossups on all three clues which Lee mentioned.

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Post by Daniel862 »

Questions in Arkansas (written by PACE, I believe) have gotten much better since I was the captain of my HS team. Errors are rare, and the questions call for more than recall--questions are tending towards needing a deeper level of knowledge/understanding of topics to get the quick buzz (a description at the beginning, followed by a brief, to the point question at the end of the tossup).

There really isn't one supreme format; different people will always have different opinions based on their experiences. You just have to keep your mind open and try new things. Just because I didn't like my NAQT experience in high school doesn't mean I won't take teams to NAQT tournaments.

As a coach, my primary goal is not to impart knowledge; the students that I have are getting that knowledge from their AP courses, and they are self-motivated learners--they study on their own to get better, they try to figure out how to solve math problems that they don't understand, etc. If a teachable moment comes up in practice, I seize that moment, but it's purely coincidental. In the process, many are actually turned on to art and classical music, literature, and topics in history.

My goal as a coach is to unify the team, guiding them to their true potential by imparting my knowledge of quiz bowl and strategy. That's what a coach does, in my opinion.

By the way, "knowing" allows for a quicker buzz time than just "remembering" because they've made more connections to that knowledge. Just a thought.

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Post by First Chairman »

Then if we can go back to what started this thread, why then do you think most teams "don't like" [your words] PACE or NAQT formats? Do your fellow coaches prefer memorization questions over ones that require higher-level learning skills? I don't quite agree that "knowing" necessarily means quicker buzzing; there's no study that I know about that suggests this. You still have to overcome alpha error and one's training to actually engage the buzzer button if you know it.
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Post by quizbowllee »

jrbarry wrote:


4. I have spoken with a number of coaches in states like Alabama and Arkansas and Missouri and Oklahoma who believe, truly believe, that longer, pyramid-style tossups work to the detriment of small, rural schools. I DO NOT THINK THAT IS NECESSARILY TRUE. But that belief is pretty widespread and that is why you do not have any kind of groundswell for longer questions among coaches in some places.
You mean a schools like... I don't know... BRINDLEE MOUNTAIN?

I don't think that a lot of people realize that BMHS is extremely small and extremely rural. According to our state report card, 60.8% of students in our system qualify for free or reduced lunches. We have an 9-12 enrollment of 291. We can't seem to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress set by No Child Left Behind. This means that we will likely be placed on the federal "School Improvement" list in the next school year. Yet, we are continually one of the best quiz bowl teams in Alabama - and I dare say in the region.

I think that is why some people view me as a pariah among Alabama coaches. My teams have taken the antiquated arguments that Rick mentioned and absolutely crushed them. Now other "poor rural schools" don't have the cry-baby excuse that they "can't compete" with the "big schools." That always makes me sick.

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Post by Byko »

Daniel862 wrote:Questions in Arkansas (written by PACE, I believe) have gotten much better since I was the captain of my HS team. Errors are rare, and the questions call for more than recall--questions are tending towards needing a deeper level of knowledge/understanding of topics to get the quick buzz (a description at the beginning, followed by a brief, to the point question at the end of the tossup).
Thanks for the comments--I'm always interested to know what teams truly think about our questions. Actually, it's not PACE that has been doing the writing but rather my (very) small company called Academic Initiative, which has now pretty much become just myself and my wife. <shameless plug>Of course, we would love to have many more writers!</shameless plug>

Seriously though, what you're describing is exactly what I've intended to try to do for Arkansas, so I'm glad that there are several teams that appreciate it--what you're saying really echoes the same thoughts that I heard last year from Malvern, Parkview, and Benton at NAQT. I really wish there were more I could do to try to encourage that kind of thought throughout the entire state, but since I live in Maryland and not Arkansas, that's a lot more difficult.
Daniel862 wrote:There really isn't one supreme format; different people will always have different opinions based on their experiences. You just have to keep your mind open and try new things. Just because I didn't like my NAQT experience in high school doesn't mean I won't take teams to NAQT tournaments.
Good for you. I wish there were more teams and coaches out there that had the same open-mindedness that you have. Is there anything we can do to encourage this throughout the rest of the state of Arkansas?
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Post by Byko »

quizbowllee wrote:I think that is why some people view me as a pariah among Alabama coaches. My teams have taken the antiquated arguments that Rick mentioned and absolutely crushed them. Now other "poor rural schools" don't have the cry-baby excuse that they "can't compete" with the "big schools." That always makes me sick.
See Drummond High School in Oklahoma for an even greater example of this fact. They'll frequently beat some of the largest schools in the state, yet they have less than 50 students in their entire high school. And in the last few years, while Drummond hasn't won the Small School title or made playoffs at HSNCT, they've done all right--certainly incredibly well for a school of their size.

The fact is that it takes a dedicated coach who is willing to put in the time and effort necessary to build a team. It's hard work that not everyone can do and certainly that too many people aren't willing to do. Thank goodness we have coaches like you and so many other great ones at schools all across the country who are willing to put forth the effort.
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Post by Stained Diviner »

This thread reminds me of a discussion some kids on my team had about ten years ago.

There was a bonus part that asked who wrote The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and my captain, who was one of the top five players in Illinois at the time, knew it was by Wolfe. After the match, another student on my team said something to the effect that that's the book with Ken Kesey. My captain said that she didn't know what she was talking about--his argument was that Kesey wrote One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

Fortunately, we've come a long way since then. To be a top player now requires more thoughtfulness. You need to know about things inside the book rather than just what's on the cover.

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Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants »

Looked up Drummond's enrollment just because 50 is so eye-poppingly low - turns out it's actually 82 according to greatschools.net, still, very impressive. I've always wondered why Appomatox Regional Governor's School (of Petersburg, VA) never fields a team, I mean, they have 200-300 students, enough to field an impressive basketball team. Like MLW they wouldn't qualify for NAQT small school status though due to their selectivity.
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Post by STPickrell »

Matt Morrison wrote:Looked up Drummond's enrollment just because 50 is so eye-poppingly low - turns out it's actually 82 according to greatschools.net, still, very impressive. I've always wondered why Appomatox Regional Governor's School (of Petersburg, VA) never fields a team, I mean, they have 200-300 students, enough to field an impressive basketball team. Like MLW they wouldn't qualify for NAQT small school status though due to their selectivity.
I think the Pirates (no, that's not their real mascot) of ARGS are forced to play AAA in academic-type activities. Galileo Magnet in Danville is another school that might end up facing this conundrum -- they just recently got full VHSL membership but are only doing soccer and yearbook this year. The single A Dogwood District has agreed to let them play, but this might end up changing.

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Post by quizbowllee »

yoda4554 wrote:Just wondering, Lee--if your aim is to teach your players things about Ibsen, rather than help them win qbowl tournaments, why would you want them to know about a rarely-produced early play like Brand rather than, say, the reasons that Nora has in A Doll's House for leaving her husband even though they're not being blackmailed anymore? That seems to me to be knowledge about Ibsen much more appropriate to general high school education, even if it may not be the most useful for qbowl purposes.
I think that Chris (DumbJacques) did a pretty good job of covering this for me. Obviously, I am still a coach, and the goal is to win tournaments. My point was that I don't just have my students memorize lists. That being said, I do have them memorize lists... that's just the BEGINNING, though. We often dissect tossups, trying to learn as much from them as possible. If we come across a work of literature (for example) that we've never heard of, then one of my students is likely to look into it and find out the plot, characters, etc. Unfortunately, the laws of reality make it difficult for any team to actually READ all of these works, but there are other avenues wherein students can read plot summaries, character analyses, etc.

That being said, I did teach A Doll's House in my World Literature class two years ago. We had a lengthy discussion about why Nora left, how Torvald treated her, etc. Being such a small school, most of my players were in that class. But, that's not the point.

I hope that helped answer your question. I genuinely do want the members of my team to learn. I love it when I see them reading a book that they only heard of because of quiz bowl, or when they look up a painting to see what it looks like. I think that most teams, especially those that shun pyramidal questions, fail to do these things. They memorize lists (if that) and then complain when they are defeated.

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Post by Daniel862 »

I personally don't like NAQT because the pyramidal questions are too long; most of the questions I've read have been 5-6 lines. Give me a solid 3-line question any day over a 5-6 line question. But again, this is just my personal opinion.

As for those longer questions causing a group to have a deeper knowledge of material...I don't buy it. Give me a month to train my kids on that style of question, and I'd be willing to put them up against any team in a match. At the same time, I'd like to see an NAQT team play against us in our style.

What it comes down to is the style of question that you're accustomed to hearing. Like I said, if I felt that NAQT was going to take hold here in Arkansas, I'd be ahead of the curve and make the switch now. However, I don't see it happening in the next 10 years; that doesn't mean that I won't begin introducing the kids to NAQT, but I'm certainly in no rush. We have more pressing matters at hand--a state title to defend.

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Post by Daniel862 »

I will say this...

I am impressed to see so many people that are PASSIONATE about their quiz bowl, no matter the format. This says a lot about the dedication to students in our country--more than any standardized test could ever say, in my opinion.

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Post by DumbJaques »

As for those longer questions causing a group to have a deeper knowledge of material...I don't buy it. Give me a month to train my kids on that style of question, and I'd be willing to put them up against any team in a match. At the same time, I'd like to see an NAQT team play against us in our style.
I don't mean to give you too hard a time, because I really do respect your responsibility to defend your "backyard," so to speak, and you do seem to really care about quiz bowl.

But that's just ridiculous. To suggest that any team can train for a month on naqt and then show up and hang with Gov, RM, TJ, SC, or even like the top 25 teams at nationals demonstrates a lack of real experience with pyramidal questions. And plenty "NAQT teams," as you put it, are quite accomplished at speed questions. Last year, Richard Montgomery won NAQT nationals and every single speed format tournament they played.

You can't train a team to be good at pyramidals in a month because it's not just about getting the hang of the game and buzzing in quickly. It's about actual knowledge. If you're listening to a tossup on Copernicus, and it's say your captain versus. . . Copernicus, I'm fairly sure Copernicus should get that question. If the question is just "What Polish Astronomer put forth the idea of a heliocentric universe," then, well, your captain is probably going to get it, on account of Copernicus's dulled reflexes from being dead five centuries. But if a tossups talks about more obscure details about his work, life, scholarship on him, etc., then the person who knows more is going to get the tossup. To put it simply, a person with imperfect knowledge of something should never beat a person with perfect knowledge. When tossups require you to know Copernicus was Polish, and that he was an astronomer, and one team knows that and the other team has intensely studied Copernicus's life and works, it's absurd to say that the best measure of their comparative skill can be found in "name the Polish astronomer."

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Post by Daniel862 »

I'm sorry... My point was missed.

What I'm trying to say is that my team, while we've apparently been playing an "inferior" format, does have the knowledge basis to compete and hold their own on a national level in any format, given an amount of time to prepare for that format, i.e. practice questions in a particular style.

In a broader sense, to dismiss teams who don't play NAQT or PACE simply because they don't play those styles, but rather AGQBA, ASCN, or the like, is simply ludicrous. Academic Initiative written questions are more in-depth in AGQBA format than the simple one-line questions to which I feel most of you are referring (thanks Byko).

Maybe one month was a bit extreme...but if I were to have this year to do over again, and this team were to practice NAQT all year, I have no doubt that we could most definitely compete and do well at an NAQT national tournament.

With adequate time to prepare, a strong team in one format can be strong in any format.

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Post by NotBhan »

Daniel862 wrote:I personally don't like NAQT because the pyramidal questions are too long; most of the questions I've read have been 5-6 lines. Give me a solid 3-line question any day over a 5-6 line question. But again, this is just my personal opinion.
As a probably unnecessary aside, I don't think there's any NAQT event that uses questions which are 5-6 lines long, unless you're somehow printing them in a larger font. I could be mistaken, but I don't recall ever seeing an NAQT question that went beyond 4 lines, not even at the collegiate ICTs.
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Post by Captain Sinico »

Daniel862 wrote:As for those longer questions causing a group to have a deeper knowledge of material...I don't buy it. Give me a month to train my kids on that style of question, and I'd be willing to put them up against any team in a match. At the same time, I'd like to see an NAQT team play against us in our style.
That's a good game to talk. Why don't you come to Chicago and back it up?

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Daniel862 wrote:I'm sorry... My point was missed.

What I'm trying to say is that my team, while we've apparently been playing an "inferior" format, does have the knowledge basis to compete and hold their own on a national level in any format, given an amount of time to prepare for that format, i.e. practice questions in a particular style.

In a broader sense, to dismiss teams who don't play NAQT or PACE simply because they don't play those styles, but rather AGQBA, ASCN, or the like, is simply ludicrous. Academic Initiative written questions are more in-depth in AGQBA format than the simple one-line questions to which I feel most of you are referring (thanks Byko).

Maybe one month was a bit extreme...but if I were to have this year to do over again, and this team were to practice NAQT all year, I have no doubt that we could most definitely compete and do well at an NAQT national tournament.

With adequate time to prepare, a strong team in one format can be strong in any format.
I'll do better than that...

PACE has all of its questions for the NSC's from 1998 to 2005 available on request, with 2006 being available only to teams that register by May 1. You will have access to 8 years of questions (including studying the evolution in the question styles). I'll repeat myself: 8 years of questions for FREE (and a ninth set for free as of May if you register).

To put a little hole in your argument, the PACE format is not run in a lot of places throughout the country. Teams do not "play PACE" in the same way they play NAQT. We are similar to NAQT's tossup/bonus format, but we have reboundable bonuses, no interrupt penalties, a chooseable bonus section, and a section with power tossups. We're also untimed, which is probably a significant difference when it comes to game strategy. That said, there are very few opportunities to "practice" NSC format.

Considering the schedule of national competitions, a team could practice for about a month for NAQT, but we have had a very short turn-around to NSC format. No more than 2 weeks for teams that have to do both events. You may argue that it shouldn't matter because we use tossup-bonus; believe us, there is a subtle but significant difference between our sets.

The NSC usually features teams that for the most part will finish in the top 50% of the NAQT HSCT field, and they all have 1-2 weeks to prepare. In most cases, the results from the PACE NSC are close to the results from the HSCT.

If anything, I argue that due to the fewer number of question sets available, you will be on a more even playing field going to the NSC than you would going to HSCT. The format is unique enough that it is truly a challenge to the players.

Now I will agree with you that longer questions do not necessarily equate with better questions, but please do not make summary statements that this is the reason why tossup/bonus as created by NAQT or PACE is less valid a way to play an academic game.

Brindlee Mountain has made the transition and does very well on PACE NSC questions. A lot of teams that truly desire making the effort to become accustomed to the NSC format -- including question length and depth -- will do well and have expressed to us how much they truly appreciate what the NSC is trying to reward. I wish to make the point that you have an opportunity to see if your kids can respond to a higher "standard" whether it is to play at the HSCT or at the NSC.

Believe us, formats can be weird beasts. Let me bring some Ohio-format rounds, which Bykowski has also written (for me and NCATA). Sure, if we wanted a pure-speed competition, that might be fun... we'll play It's Ac and see how well you do compared to our teams here too. The point is, yes, the format familiarity is like a "home court", but playing a national in your home format may not necessarily be the evidence you need to show that you are truly the best academic team in the nation.

Let it be said, in 1998, State College won the first PACE NSC and won Chip's Questions Unlimited tournament. Interestingly, only twice in 8 years has a school won both PACE and NAQT's championships. The Eisenhower team that won the 2000 ASCN finished in the semifinals of the NSC (don't remember how Eisenhower did at HSCT). Dorman won both ASCN and NSC in 2003. The point is that even on different formats, the best teams can demonstrate their strengths.

But if you want to be the first team from Arkansas to win the NSC, I hope you welcome the opportunity. Talk to Eric at Raleigh Charter about the wacky formats the NC teams (especially his) have to tolerate, and then be amazed at their championship win last year at the NSC.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

And I fail to see the argument that people have about "as state approaches, we should do absolutely nothing but state format." That's bull. Playing most any format can help your team get better at any time. And also, I'm sure the best teams don't spend their free time between state and HSNCT studying on NAQT and then cram in PACE practice after NAQT. They spend the whole year practicing on both formats, plus whatever else they want to get their hands on.
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