Illinois '07-'08

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Illinois 08-09 SchoBowl conference questions

Post by bdavery » Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:37 pm

We did 7 Illinois conferences this year, 3 other Illinois tournaments and an Illinois radio series. Most of the conferences have been with us for more than one year. Most of the conferences are in the Chicago area (which is, with a few clear exceptions) the best place in the state for quality Scholastic Bowl. Most of the conferences have us do both varsity and frosh-soph (which saves hassle and money if your league has both). Many of them use 20 rounds or more every single year (20/20 or more per game). Most of them tried multiple companies (including NAQT in at least one case) before settling down with us. We anticipate all of them to be back with us again next year (in fact, the largest one has already renewed.)

Have your tournament director/coach e-mail us through our website http://www.averyenterprises.net We'll be glad to add you to our schedule!
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:40 pm

As a fan of absolutely terrible questions and being insulted by people I pay money to, I enjoy the work of Bryce Avery!
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Tegan » Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:57 pm

Boomerang Nebula wrote:I forgot the exact rules regarding out of state travel but there are a few tournaments on the Missouri side of the river. You and/or your coach can email me (shawn_pickrell at yahoo dot com) if you want the info I know.

Illinois teams are free and clear to travel, so long as they miss no more than one school day.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:17 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:As a fan of absolutely terrible questions and being insulted by people I pay money to, I enjoy the work of Bryce Avery!
Quoted for truth. What tournaments/conferences still use Avery's questions, so I know who to email about getting them quality stuff?
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by OP_Huskies » Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:34 pm

West Suburban Conference.

In fact, we switched from a decently good, almost pyramidal question provider after my sophomore year. The coaches said that the old questions were "too long" and they were tired of getting back so late.

Which makes it a rather dubious distinction for Avery that we switched.

This is also why the WSC will rarely, if ever, produce a state title contender henceforth: the coaches care more about an extra half hour of primetime TV than good question quality.

<\rant>
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by STPickrell » Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:40 pm

Tegan wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:I forgot the exact rules regarding out of state travel but there are a few tournaments on the Missouri side of the river. You and/or your coach can email me (shawn_pickrell at yahoo dot com) if you want the info I know.
Illinois teams are free and clear to travel, so long as they miss no more than one school day.
Which some of the southern Illinois teams can attend as many of the Saturday STL tournaments as they want. I assume there is a limit as to how many meets they can go to in a year too.

The Missouri format has plenty of computational math and the bonuses are all bounceback too. The biggest differences seem to be (1) all the bonuses are 4-parters and (2) they read out each bonus part one at a time instead of all at once. That and the Missouri matches are 15 TUs/10 TUs & 4 part bonuses/15 TUs/10 TUs and 4 part bonuses. (Edit: Oh yeah, Missouri is 4 on 4 while IHSA is 5 on 5.)

But they are close enough that I think attending Missouri tournaments would be a win-win for all involved.
Last edited by STPickrell on Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:54 pm

Or you could go to Wash U in February and save the rest of your money for traveling upstate for a couple decent tournaments instead.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by David Riley » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:50 pm

You might also investigate tournaments in Kentucky and Tennessee, if they are within travel distance for you.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:10 pm

CSL uses Avery for Frosh/Soph. We tried NAQT one year, and a few Frosh/Soph coaches complained that they were too difficult. We still use NAQT for Varsity and probably will continue with the same vendors for the forseeable future.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:54 pm

OP_Huskies wrote:West Suburban Conference.

In fact, we switched from a decently good, almost pyramidal question provider after my sophomore year. The coaches said that the old questions were "too long" and they were tired of getting back so late.

Which makes it a rather dubious distinction for Avery that we switched.

This is also why the WSC will rarely, if ever, produce a state title contender henceforth: the coaches care more about an extra half hour of primetime TV than good question quality.

<\rant>
Email me. styxman42 AT gmail DOT com.

Also, Coach Reinstein, I'll be emailing you as well - I have your email address already, though.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by harpersferry » Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:07 pm

bdavery wrote: Illinois radio series.
?
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Tegan » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:43 pm

OP_Huskies wrote: This is also why the WSC will rarely, if ever, produce a state title contender henceforth: the coaches care more about an extra half hour of primetime TV than good question quality.
<\rant>
I beg to differ! Downers Grove South defeated the #8 team IN THE STATE (Joliet Township) (albeit just barely). Then they were only about 550 points shy of beating New Trier and Libertyville and getting a shot at that title. On a galactic scale, that's close!

As long as the lower end of the WSC gets to play the southwest and near south suburbs, they will have a shot of squeaking through. And I wouldn't stick my nose up at any team with a 24-1 record ...... if OPRF wins this sectional, they are in contention, and they have a strong chance of advancing.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Tegan » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:45 pm

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by the return of AHAN » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:01 pm

Mid-Suburban League (Fremd, Hoffman, Buffalo Grove, Etc.) uses Avery questions for varsity and The Question Bank for frosh/soph.
Since I didn't coach varsity matches this year, I can only critique the frosh/soph sets... The questions were pyramidal only some of the time, and the difficulty varied wildly from set to set. For instance, we defeated Schaumburg 395-85 one week, while the very next week saw a 135-95 naibiter with Conant.


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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by OP_Huskies » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:21 pm

Tegan wrote:
OP_Huskies wrote: This is also why the WSC will rarely, if ever, produce a state title contender henceforth: the coaches care more about an extra half hour of primetime TV than good question quality.
<\rant>
...

And I wouldn't stick my nose up at any team with a 24-1 record ...... if OPRF wins this sectional, they are in contention, and they have a strong chance of advancing.
First and foremost, I am not saying that WSC will never produce a title contender. Obviously, talented squads will come that will far surpass the remainder of that conference. For instance, last year's OPRF squad, under the right set of circumstances, might have been very competitve in the NT sectional and possibly beyond.

That said, a lot of the success from the OPRF team recently, both at non-conference tournaments and in the state series, is the result of the institution of student-run practice on pyramidal TU's. Again, these are student run and were student initiative last year. The result was dramatic -- we placed well at NT and Fenwick two of the toughest tourneys in the state, whereas the previous years we went to the WN january tourney, and none of our team members put out more than 9 TUs in 5 rounds.

The current OPRF team has continued these practices, and I cannot even begin to say how happy I am for that. A couple of the kids on the team have showed real leadership, and I am looking forward to see what they do next year.

The point I am making is twofold. First, if you don't hear pyramidal questions all year, its very hard to adjust to them. By switching to one-liners when IHSA is moving to pyramidal, the WSC is putting itself at a huge disadvantage when the state series comes around. Besides OPRF, there is only one WSC team in sectionals this year, besides the fact that most WSC teams play in the perenially-weak Marist sectionals.

The other point goes out to the members of this forum who aren't on the Auburns, the WNs, the NTs, the Loyolas, the Maine Souths, etc of the state. I am very happy to see a broader range of schools represented on this forum, including a couple of students from non "powerhouse" schools. You, and your teammates, can do a lot to improve your team on your own. Take a morning a week, print out some NT solo questions, and just go through them for 45 minutes (keeping score is fun too). I swear it will improve your capacity to play on pyramidal Q's if you never see them otherwise.

**and after all this, I hope the TEgan's quoted sentence was not made in sarcasm ...**

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Tegan » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:41 pm

OP_Huskies wrote:The other point goes out to the members of this forum who aren't on the Auburns, the WNs, the NTs, the Loyolas, the Maine Souths, etc of the state. I am very happy to see a broader range of schools represented on this forum, including a couple of students from non "powerhouse" schools. You, and your teammates, can do a lot to improve your team on your own. Take a morning a week, print out some NT solo questions, and just go through them for 45 minutes (keeping score is fun too). I swear it will improve your capacity to play on pyramidal Q's if you never see them otherwise.
Quoted for absolute truth!
OP_Huskies wrote:**and after all this, I hope the TEgan's quoted sentence was not made in sarcasm ...**
Rest assured, it was not. OPRF is a team that reminds me of Maine South. Back in the early/mid 90s, both teams had moments of greatness, followed by times that were not so great. Now, both teams have taken the last few years to get back on their feet so-to-speak. Last year, OPRF was sadly the most screwed over school .... the best team in the state, bar none, which did not win a regional ....... because there were six top teams in that sectional. OPRF has consistently been a top notch team over the last 3-4 years. Despite DGS making it to state last year, absolutely no one who knows anything about what goes on thought anything other than OPRF being the class of that conference, and a top team in the state. I believe that I even voted OPRF in the top 10 last year. I have not yet seen the Huskies this year, but I will on Saturday. It should be very competitive.

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And I thought ours was rough

Post by JackGlerum » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:51 pm

WWS Sectional = Ridiculous

WN, WWS, NN all in the top ten coaches poll (for what it's worth), IMSA is no softie either.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Trevkeeper » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:32 pm

Frederick Dukes wrote:
Trevkeeper wrote:/shameless plug/ I wish I knew a question writing company that provides questions for conferences..../shameless plug

I didn't hear the regional questions so I can't comment, but I think it's interesting that people think they are worse than last year, since that was supposedly the best they have ever been.

It's too bad I can't attend Sectionals (UIUC Novice). I am toying with the idea of attending state, though, if NT makes it.
Which reminds me, Nick... is Luke Pacold playing for you guys? And who's your fourth?

I'm looking forward to playing you guys on Saturday, though I have you picked to win by 50 points.
Yeah he is. We may or may not have a fourth -- if we do, it'll be someone who played in HS in Indy, but if he does come he might not be there the whole time.

I'm looking forward to it too. I'm not sure what to expect, since the three of us haven't played competitively in about 9 months.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:34 am

Tegan wrote:As a duly deputized sub-administrator of hsquizbowl.com, I am proud to say that the upcoming rant by Styxman is brought to you in part by a grant from the Pew Charitable Fund, the letter "f", and the number "3".

HEYYYY YOU GUYSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
That makes me smile, a considerable bit.
BarringtonJP wrote:Mid-Suburban League (Fremd, Hoffman, Buffalo Grove, Etc.) uses Avery questions for varsity and The Question Bank for frosh/soph.
Since I didn't coach varsity matches this year, I can only critique the frosh/soph sets... The questions were pyramidal only some of the time, and the difficulty varied wildly from set to set. For instance, we defeated Schaumburg 395-85 one week, while the very next week saw a 135-95 naibiter with Conant.
Coach Price - join the party. Shoot me an email - styxman42 AT gmail DOT com.

And now, my official list of complaints... Question Quality and You.


So, the question quality at Regionals was bad. This is long, but important, and it’ll likely save you from having to post your own horror stories – but please do! :)

Complaint #0 (more like Back-Handed Compliment #1): Question length was the most acceptable I’ve ever seen from IHSA, with only a few one-clue questions. Some questions were a little on the long side, and there weren’t any real multi-clue AND short questions - all the shorter questions were of the old-fashioned one clue variety.

From the Department of Terrible Question Writing Practices…

Complaint #1: The one-clue tossups that were present were abysmal. A question labeled Misc., Agriculture offered someone’s random quote relating to grass, then asked (minor paraphrasing) “who was this man, who was US President in 1862?” Simply unacceptable. Additionally, the “Identify the word from its definition” tossup reared its ugly head once more with the “feral” tossup, and it’s cousin, the “#-letter word beginning with the letter __” lead-in came up twice in questions about polygons. Hey everyone – start memorizing that kite has 4 letters and parallelogram has 13!!!

However, it has been said that those clunkers definitely stood out as truly exceptionally bad, so moving on to other points…

Complaint #2: Cutesy leadins. A tossup on Consumer Education, answer: lien, started “It may make you think of meat with little fat…” A tossup on Computer Programming, answer: scope, started “It may make you think of mouthwash…” This is also simply unacceptable. Those responsible for writing these questions should be put on probation from writing questions. Those responsible for editing should have done their job.

Next up: The “language arts” category was uniformly disgusting. There was, to my recollection, one quality literature tossup – the Walden tossup – so that makes, what, 23 unacceptable tossups? The non-literature LA questions were poor, especially the anti-pyramidal vocabulary, like the “feral” tossup. Also…

Complaint #3: Literary criticism does not a good clue make. A colossal number of literature questions consisted of vague clues regarding an author’s style or other vague, non-uniquely identifying information. The William Faulkner tossup was a minor offense here – stream of consciousness + American + the South = Faulkner – but other major offenders included the Henry James replacement tossup – “Oh wow, really, an American who lived in Europe?” – the Leo Tolstoy tossup – “blah blah fought at Sevastapol blah blah blah three minor works War and Peace” with no mention of any plots or Anna Karenina – and the Mark Twain tossup – blah blah great American writer blah Ezra Pound quote blah Adventures of Huck(buzzer race). Literary criticism is not at all helpful to most players, mostly because it is not uniquely identifying. If it is uniquely identifying, the likely reason is that the clue has been done to death and therefore isn’t a good clue to write anyway. These authors wrote novels with plots and settings and characters, most of which have really significant – and most importantly, uniquely identifying – NAMES. Write questions with those names.

Complaint #4: Quotes do not belong in tossups. They are not clue dense (more on clue density to come), and they often are not concrete clues because they have no names in them. If a quote is so significant for a person, then it’s probably easy enough to be a giveaway, and you can always, always write a more concise giveaway than a quote. If a quote is harder than a giveaway, it’s probably not going to get buzzed on anyway, so don’t waste the moderator’s breath with a long laborious quote. Excerpts from literary works are slightly better than this, and that’s proportional to the brevity of the excerpt. Last but not least about the literature…

Complaint #5: The longer tossups all too often suffered from abysmal clue density. This is along the lines of literary criticism complaint, but also extends to other subjects. The Vivaldi tossup talked about work with children, but it dwelled on that subject without giving any additional information for roughly three lines of text. The one-clue tossups also fall here as well, because they often ran to four or five lines of empty verbiage before (or in some cases, after) the only clue. One notable question that suffered from poor clue density was the Anne Bradstreet question, although I’m pointing that one out for another reason: Tenth Muse came up 3 lines into the question, with another 7 (!) lines to go. That’s a giveaway, folks, and it ain’t exactly in the giveaway position.

So, the total sum of these last four complaints leads into a general gripe…

Complaint #6: The literature distribution was almost 90% authors, and combined with the overwhelming helping of literary criticism clues, it created a literature distribution I felt to be the worst of any pyramidal tournament I have ever seen. You want to win at Sectionals? Go read the biographies of the notable authors that didn’t come up at Regionals. You don’t have to be familiar with their works, because those were the giveaways that you should already know, a la War and Peace or Adventures of Huck Finn. Of the sparingly few questions that weren’t on authors, I was disappointed, although <sarcasm> I’d like to officially welcome Daphnis and Chloe to the Regional-level canon. You’re definitely easy enough to be answered by people who can’t top 100/900 total points! </sarcasm> Moving on now past (specifically) literature…

Complaint #7: The answer selection for other tossups was poor. This really bounced around a bit between categories, so I don’t think it’s really the fault of anyone in specific. There were just some questions that had no place in Regionals-difficulty matches (the aforementioned Daphnis and Chloe, etc.) or Scholastic Bowl at all (Toastmasters, etc.). (Please, add in your own experiences here. I'm sure there's more.) Also, we’ll get to the answers in Miscellaneous categories such as Industrial Arts and the like later on, because they truly do deserve their own complaint sections.

Complaint #8: Some questions, with one in particular, completely ignored the concept of math questions giving unusual constraints at the very beginning of a question. For example, TU #30, Round 0 asked: “Jim can paint a house in 3 hours, while John can paint a house in 7 hours.” – I, and likely very many other people buzz in right here, because the formula’s easy to do in one’s head. 3*7 divided by 3+7, so 2.1 hours, right? Wrong, here’s the rest of the question: “…in 7 hours. How long does it take them to paint four houses?” It is entirely plausible that some senior’s Scholastic Bowl career ended as a result of the question writer not putting the “four houses” bit at the beginning of the tossup. This is exactly the same as “fractions versus decimals versus mixed numbers versus improper fractions” or “slope intercept versus general versus standard forms,” except you can’t protest “But the question usually asks for only 1 house!” This is absolutely an unacceptable hose. In other math related information…

Complaint #9: One calculus question in 4 rounds is unacceptable. Teams banking on upper-level math superiority for the victory were shot down by algebra question after algebra question. Seriously, the boundary line of an inequality? You mean, the line itself? Also, I give 10 cookie points to the writer of the “general computation, but with funny random words like persnickety and sprocket” bonus, but minus a million, because after all, brevity is…wit, and that bonus lasted forever. I understand that some of these teams might not be good enough for calculus, but this is a varsity sport. Seniors play this game, and those questions truly reduced us to the lowest common denominator of math ability.

Minor complaints from the Department of “Well, you asked for it in your distribution…”
Complaint #10: State of Illinois fluff. The canon for this category is created simply for this tournament, and so it thankfully never comes up anywhere else…but because it never comes up anywhere else, should it actually come up in IHSA? I felt so crummy studying the official State Knick-Knacks as a player, and I felt crummier 20’ing a bonus I knew nothing about except that it was by and large irrelevant.

Complaint #11: Miscellaneous garbage. The bonus on types of pliers made me cry. Surprise surprise, that got zeroed. I’m still waiting patiently for the first pasta shapes bonus of the year, and let’s not forget that classic Driver’s Ed bonus: Name the four exceptions to the no <18 year old passenger rule for Graduated Driver Licenses! (For those that did not hear it, it’s sibling, step-sibling, child, and step-child! Whoooo!)

Complaint #12: 3 and 5 part bonuses. Every time a 3 part bonus comes up, teams are rewarded a little extra for no extra knowledge with a partially correct response. Every time a 5 part bonus comes up, a team is rewarded slightly less for an equal quantity of knowledge. Go ask Decatur Lutheran if they got 2 or 3 out of a 5 part bonus, and if they’d like to have those 2 or 3 additional points for the tie or win. A total of 15 games (11 Class A, 4 Class AA) prior to Thursday’s matches ended with a margin of 5 points or less. We wouldn’t have variable total point bonuses, and I don’t feel that variable part bonuses are entirely fair, either.

To be completely honest, this set of questions was not the be-all, end-all of terrible questions that I’ve made it out to be. There are writers producing sets much worse than these, and of course, anything pyramidal at this point is an improvement over years past. Still, these complaints, and others, must be addressed.
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

Winnebago HS ('06)
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by JackGlerum » Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:07 am

Epic.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Tegan » Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:24 am

>>chews popcorn, stares at screen, enjoys film<<

Seriuosly, I can't find too many holes in what you say, but I will add the following:

1. Most of the issues you brought up: pliers, agriculture, toastmasters, agriculture, forensics, agriculture, drivers ed, agriculture ..... if there has ever been a good question written in these areas (and I include myself having to occasionally write here), I have not really seen it. Two years ago, we practically begged to get rid of this stuff, and the representatives of >>insert cardinal direction<< Illinois insisted that these areas should be included, because they are a part of the curiculum. I countered "not every school's curiculum", they countered "neither is calculus or British literature or physics", and as the majority voted to retain them. Since they cannot very easily be written well, I am in favor of writing them so abyssmally bad that no one can get them. I would almost rather no one get them than some team with a specialist stumble upon them by accident in a close match. The movement to eliminate these bad categories will continue, but for now, they are a sad fact of life.

2. I only saw two "one clue" tossups .... both in math, both asking shapes. As you said, hopefully that is the end of them, but someone is memorizing those word lengths as we speak.

3. I agree that for some odd reason, there were a number of literature questions that were "useless obscure clue, useless obscure clue, who wrote Hamlet" setting of the buzzer race we are trying to avoid.

4. I don;t entirely agree on the quotes .... there are some that refer to events or style that may not be giveaways, and are not necessarily wastes of space. There were one or two questions that gave a giveaway early (I agree on the "Tenth Muse" question).

5. Not having read Round zero, I agree that the question was a hose. It should have had the constraint first.

6. As for calculus, the overwhelming decision here was that calc belonged in later rounds, and that the early rounds should minimize it until the later rounds with better teams.

7. The bonus on pliers elicited laughter from my room. It was proudly zeroed, and we moved on.

8. On variable bonuses. We tried to get rid of that a few years back, and again it got voted down. There may be a plan on the table to revisit that in the spring.

In four rounds, there were clunkers. No question, no doubt. As the former head editor, I can tell you the current editors do as good a job as they can with limited resources, and limited help. In the end, there is only one central editor who tries and gets help proofing questions for grammar/spelling, as well as structure. Having done it for three years, it is very difficult to catch everything.

My suspicion: there were a few new writers this year, and these writers need to have some feedback on what to do and what not to do.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by theguy914 » Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:13 am

my big complaint is that I felt like every other math question was geometry, and I am dying for some calculus. Even the calc question they had was as basic as it gets and pure speed. I always just buzz in after I write out the first and then do the second as I'm answering so no pesky non-calc people can beat me to it by learning the basic derivative rules.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by STPickrell » Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:01 am

I believe 4-part bonuses would be great for question writers, as they could then sell sets to both Missouri and Illinois. This would be a 100% win for Aegis, I know. NAQT may also have more of an incentive to produce sets for those two states, too.

I don't think state of Illinois fluff is so terrible -- I write some Virginia fluff for my Virginia sets, and some Missouri fluff for my Missouri sets. I don't think it is so unreasonable to ask players about their own states, but I think I am in a minority on this board.

In writing home ec/industrial arts/driver's ed questions, the difficulty here is (1) finding stuff that people can get, (2) finding unique leadins, (3) finding more than 1-2 clues for something. But if those three constraints are met, I don't have a problem, really, with the miscellaneous stuff.

Criticism is a decent leadin. For example, a leadin on a Shakespeare play might be a quote from Harold Bloom about the play, or an anecdote about the play. I'm sure most of the good teams have already read the play or at least have the Masterplots summary known to heart.

Also, some quotes, if they are short enough, are perfectly fine as clues IN THEIR PLACE. For example, some quotes from a medium difficulty poem might be fine as a mid-level clue as it rewards people who have actually read the poem, as opposed to those who would react like Milgram's subjects on hearing the Magic Word (e.g. poem by William Cullen Bryant = 'Thanatopsis.')

Was one of the plier types 'needlenose?' I would've been able to summon that back in HS. :)

As for non-literature language arts (I assume foreign language, grammar, and vocabulary go here) -- this is where I've had the most minefields in the past couple years while writing for VHSL states.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by DumbJaques » Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:40 am

Criticism is a decent leadin. For example, a leadin on a Shakespeare play might be a quote from Harold Bloom about the play, or an anecdote about the play.
Anecdotes from plays are not criticism? Also I think criticism is a pretty bad leadin at the high school level when tossups aren't running very long, because it's generally just going to create a difficulty cliff. Maybe if you phrase it to include some characters or plot elements, but then, it's not centrally a criticism leadin. If there are high schoolers who have enough mastery of the works of Harold Bloom to recognize his quote about a play that mentions no hard facts (as Brad's complaint about the questions seems to suggest), I can't wait to see these kids power the crap out of higher-level driver's ed theory.

If it's a 3-line tossup that fails to mention major characters/works/plot elements/etc., the problem is not that they have a criticism clue, it's that the tossup is bad and the writer just grabbed a random clue with no thought to how it would play.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Byko » Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:42 am

Boomerang Nebula wrote:I believe 4-part bonuses would be great for question writers, as they could then sell sets to both Missouri and Illinois.
And Arkansas, as well. Granted, there'd also have to be some writing of those 10-question, 60-second lightning rounds, but other than that, a lot of the questions are similar--they like their tossups in the 2-3 line style out there.

I really am curious what the 4 types of pliers were that were asked. You mean someone couldn't just ride the pony to one correct answer somewhere in there with something like Visegrip or channel-lock pliers?

Styxman, thanks for the insight--like many others, it's hard for me to find any arguments against what you're saying. I definitely agree that literary criticism doesn't make for good clues at this level at all--that's just way too small an audience who might have a chance at picking the question up at that point.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by cornfused » Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:52 am

Boomerang Nebula wrote:react like Milgram's subjects
Huh?
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by dtaylor4 » Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:44 pm

Boomerang Nebula wrote:react like Pavlov's subjects
Fixed?

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:59 pm

Thanks for all the kind words, everybody. Here are some responses to the responses:

1. Is it possible to write a quality pyramidal tossup in state of Illinois fluff, agriculture, driver's ed, and the like? I would argue no. From the perspective of canon expansion, there are no college tournaments using these categories to give us hard bonus parts or tossup leadins (as we have in academic categories). From the perspective of little known clues, there are no real opportunities to learn about pliers and the like in multiple settings, as opposed to, say, history classes (I had a generic US history class in 8th grade, a generic world history class as a freshman, then as a sophomore I could take a 20th Cenutry class which allowed more in-depth study, allowing lesser known clues to be taught at that in-depth level). The way that quizbowl is currently constructed gives a protocol for deciding on a tossup's leadin and the hard part of a bonus, and the Illinois fluff, industrial arts, and home economics subjects don't fit into that protocol the way literature and science do.

I really liked Tegan's idea on making those subjects impossible, so players can just move on. Heh heh heh...

2. I think I could do a better job on explaining my position on quotes. If it's a quote of someone's speech, I don't like it. The arguments for including such a quote don't add up to the arguments for writing normal tossup text including the words from the quote that would have helped you get the tossup anyway- and Chris has it right, these quotes were pretty much clue-empty anyway. I agree with Chris's view on the Harold Bloom lead-in quote as well. If it's a quote from a work, like a poem, and it's short enough, I'm all in favor for it. Personally, I've answered every single Edwin Arlington Robinson tossup I've ever heard on a phrase from one of his poems. Poems are trickier than novels/plays because they don't necessarily have the proper nouns that quizbowlers buzz in on, and it really is the actual words themselves that make a poem interesting - the alternative might have to be criticism clues! :) I'd almost rather call quotes from literary works "excerpts" instead because I feel they're different enough to warrant inclusion in a good tossup.

Also, Chris?:
DumbJaques wrote:If it's a 9-line tossup that fails to mention major characters/works/plot elements/etc., the problem is not that they have a criticism clue, it's that the tossup is bad and the writer just grabbed a random clue with no thought to how it would play.
Fixed.

3. Here's a better position on official state fluff. It fails the "HS Curriculum" test because there isn't a "History of Illinois 101" class at any high school. If you learn about this information in class, you're not writing an essay on it (unless it's an essay on how frivolous some actions of the state congress are), you're working a trivial matching test. On that note, it fails the "Academia/Trivia" test because it's almanac knowledge whose only purpose is to test if you know it - there's no historical relevance to the fact that Whatever is the Official Illinois State Whozit. If there is, that might - MIGHT - make a small exception to the trivia rule and make for a cromulent lead-in, but you'd still need middle clues from there - which leads me into my last point. It often fails the "Tossup-Bonus conversion" test. A rule of thumb while writing pyramidal questions is to switch your tossup's answer to the theme of a bonus and use your tossup's clues as bonus answers. For example, a Stephen Crane tossup that gives characters from Maggie or Red Badge would become a bonus asking for characters. There's some leeway with this experiment, as a lead-in might be too hard for even part 4 of a bonus, but not much in general. If you can write a tossup asking for the official state soil of Illinois, I'd like to see you write a 4 part bonus about that soil. What are your answers?

Those tests will, generally speaking, eliminate a ton of the answer space from the state fluff category, and generally make for better Social Studies questions - and remember here, this isn't the Misc. category. You lose bonafide history questions with these!.

Re: NAQT writing 4 part bonuses. As someone who prefers both the ACF bonus and the concept of a unified national format, I'd be happier if NAQT stops changing their product to accommodate 4-part states. Now that the Illinois format sets are clear, I can talk about generalities with them (obviously no question specifics, as the IS sets they butcher to get these questions are not clear) - NAQT's got tons and tons of 3 part bonuses, but to switch them to all-at-once 4 parters often just requires writing new bonuses, and they don't necessarily have the manpower to write all the extra questions. Many bonuses at Winnebago's tournament using NAQT's IL packets were shoddy binary matching bonuses (which I like in moderation, but 50-75% more than the usual IS packet is overkill), and the bonus quality overall in terms of answer selection and graduated difficulty was much poorer than I'd expected from NAQT. I think it'd be better if Illinois just started using ACF format so we don't have to impose on NAQT to ruin two IS sets for the entire state. Of course, that'd be gradual, and NAQT's questions are still orders of magnitude ahead of Avery, Question Bank, Platypus, and the like.

And I feel I should tell everyone throwing their hat in the plier-bonus ring that everyone is still in the process of zeroing that bonus. No needlenose, no Vicegrip, no channel lock. I only remember 2 of the 3, but they were Linesman and Rotational - and I only remembered after checking Wikipedia.

And yes, Winnebago's hosting a Sectional, so we get Part Deux of the rant on Saturday night! I'm assuming that my complaints will be pretty much the same, but another crack at the questions will probably remind me of something I forgot since Regionals. And of course, even with all this negativity towards the questions, they're still among the best IHSA questions we've ever had, and they're (probably going to be) suitable questions to decide Sectional titles. Best of luck to all teams competing on Saturday!
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Captain Sinico » Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:15 pm

Boomerang Nebula wrote:react like Milgram's subjects
I think he means Pavlov's dogs? Unless they were like "I'm not sure it's right to buzz on this obvious clue in the lead-in!" and the moderator was like "The tournament requires you to buzz." or something.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:23 pm

ImmaculateDeception wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:react like Milgram's subjects
I think he means Pavlov's dogs? Unless they were like "I'm not sure it's right to buzz on this obvious clue in the lead-in!" and the moderator was like "The tournament requires you to buzz." or something.

MaS
I think that's Rule 5.VII.1.a.xxix, actually.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by mlaird » Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:53 pm

Boomerang Nebula wrote:As for non-literature language arts (I assume foreign language, grammar, and vocabulary go here) -- this is where I've had the most minefields in the past couple years while writing for VHSL states.
As the predominant writer of Literature questions for our company, I find it ne'er on impossible to write multiple clue Language Arts tossups. I try to stay away from Foreign Language questions, since who knows what languages are offered at which schools, and I really just don't like vocabulary questions. I feel like questions in every subject are essentially vocabulary questions, since you are just identifying a thing, given a definition/information about it. When I write Language arts bonuses, it's usually just some mediocre grammar question. Which is why Aegis' LA distro is usually about 2/2 of 180/180+.

Also, channellock WAS one of the answers. But it was still zeroed.

One of these days I'm going to post that rant about Scholastic Bowl being an inherently elitist activity, and that schools without calculus in their curriculum need to realize this.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by David Riley » Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:55 pm

Sadly, the people who should be taking Brad et al.s [sorry Latin folks] to heart probably don't read this board.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by mlaird » Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:06 pm

pasedpawn wrote:
bdavery wrote: Illinois radio series.
?
Says here on Bryce's website:
"We provide academic questions for the following television and radio quiz series:
...
WCCI Academic Bowl (Illinois)"

Also, obligatory comment about question quality.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by STPickrell » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:33 pm

DumbJaques wrote:If it's a 3-line tossup that fails to mention major characters/works/plot elements/etc., the problem is not that they have a criticism clue, it's that the tossup is bad and the writer just grabbed a random clue with no thought to how it would play.
Anecdotes, such as 'the Globe Theater burned down during a showing of Henry VIII' or 'famous actor X refused to play the lead in this play.'

You're right, a 3-line tossup usually won't have the room for a criticism leadin. But a 4 or 5 line tossup might.

I also used Milgram in my analogy since button pushing is more Milgram than Pavlov.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Chathamite » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:34 pm

As a coach, I must admit I chuckled at the Wabash river answer. What was amusing was the Embarrass River as a tributary. In Southern Illinois, it is commonly known as the “Ambraw” river. I’m sure many moderators on the Eastern side of the state pronounced it correctly (as shown in Wikipedia) from their prospective but I would be willing to bet there were a few moderators pronouncing the river as it looks on the question-Embarrass!
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by STPickrell » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:43 pm

[quote="styxman"]Here's a better position on official state fluff. It fails the "HS Curriculum" test because there isn't a "History of Illinois 101" class at any high school. /quote]

Be careful as this might boomerang. A large percentage of the QB literature is not studied in many schools. I have heard some degree of complaint here in VA about that and I have read references to that on various Illinois threads.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Matt Weiner » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:46 pm

Boomerang Nebula wrote:As for non-literature language arts (I assume foreign language, grammar, and vocabulary go here) -- this is where I've had the most minefields in the past couple years while writing for VHSL states.
Gee.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Captain Sinico » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:54 pm

Boomerang Nebula wrote:I also used Milgram in my analogy since button pushing is more Milgram than Pavlov.
Image
The whole point of the Milgram experiment is that the dudes were reluctant to press the button, but would do so when relieved of official responsibility and/or told they had to (an analogous idea explains why people write bonuses on pliers or non-literature language arts questions.)
Image

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by BGSO » Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:58 pm

On a lighter note, good luck to all teams tomorrow at sectionals
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:06 pm

Boomerang Nebula wrote:
styxman wrote:Here's a better position on official state fluff. It fails the "HS Curriculum" test because there isn't a "History of Illinois 101" class at any high school.
Be careful as this might boomerang. A large percentage of the QB literature is not studied in many schools. I have heard some degree of complaint here in VA about that and I have read references to that on various Illinois threads.
True, and that's one of the reasons I don't usually play that card. But in a run down of all the various cards to play, I threw that one in.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Tegan » Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:43 pm

mlaird wrote: One of these days I'm going to post that rant about Scholastic Bowl being an inherently elitist activity, and that schools without calculus in their curriculum need to realize this.
I see the Dark Emperor Palpatine on his throne saying "Yessss.... yes ... my paduon, you have learned welll. Now release your anger, and come over to the Dark Side of the Force ...."

Of course, he speaks with a Louisville accent.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Tegan » Fri Mar 07, 2008 9:50 pm

styxman wrote:Here's a better position on official state fluff. It fails the "HS Curriculum" test because there isn't a "History of Illinois 101" class at any high school.

I tried this ploy a few years ago at the Advisory Committee Meeting. I claimed that Drivers Ed was not taught at every school, and not all students took it, therefore dump driver ed (Driver Ed had been the overwritten subject that year in miscellaneous, and it was extremely frustrating to be in a close match, score a brilliant chemistry or lit question, and then get a Rules of The Road bonus.

The response by the representatives was that calculus and british lit and art history weren't taught in most schools, and that they should stay, so Drivers Ed should too. I tried pointing out that this being an academic competition should stick to academic subjects, but it was shot down. This was the same argument that occurred when there was a discussion about foreign language about that same time.

Seriously: I wonder if these topics get answered with greater frequency in different parts of the state? I could see if they were answered all the time in Region X, then they would support keeping it. But if these questions are continuously passed up by everyone, then why keep it?

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:05 pm

I have a question about a situation that arose earlier this year at the Wheaton North tournament. My team, Buffalo Grove was 3-1 (without our star Danny Bulmash) and needed to beat our bracket's other 3-1 team Conant to advance on to the next round. The game was tight throughout and when regulation ended we were tied. In the first bonus question, Conant got the toss-up, but we got two parts of the bonus. We would win the game in the second overtime question. While we were celebrating a Conant benchwarmer comes up and says that the game was scored wrong. Sure enough, in Question #5 Conant had gotten five more points than they had been given credit for. Conant was keeping score on the board and had a coach scoring along with the game. Conant claimed victory and our coach told us it was the decision of the tournament director. We asked someone at the director's table and briefly explained the situation with a large crowd around us. Conant was awarded the victory and we went home. My question is: If you were tournament director who would you have given the win to, as I have never seen another situation like that?
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by AKKOLADE » Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:30 pm

Well, as much as it sucked for you guys, it sounds like the right call was made with the scoring correction being made. No one likes being put in that position, especially TDs, but if they earned five more points they need to receive those points.

While the loss is not enjoyable, I think you need to take solace in the fact that your team did the right thing with regards to sportsmanship. In the long run, that's more important.
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Tegan » Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:36 am

BG MSL Champs wrote:I have a question about a situation that arose earlier this year at the Wheaton North tournament. My team, Buffalo Grove was 3-1 (without our star Danny Bulmash) and needed to beat our bracket's other 3-1 team Conant to advance on to the next round. The game was tight throughout and when regulation ended we were tied. In the first bonus question, Conant got the toss-up, but we got two parts of the bonus. We would win the game in the second overtime question. While we were celebrating a Conant benchwarmer comes up and says that the game was scored wrong. Sure enough, in Question #5 Conant had gotten five more points than they had been given credit for. Conant was keeping score on the board and had a coach scoring along with the game. Conant claimed victory and our coach told us it was the decision of the tournament director. We asked someone at the director's table and briefly explained the situation with a large crowd around us. Conant was awarded the victory and we went home. My question is: If you were tournament director who would you have given the win to, as I have never seen another situation like that?

I'm shocked that Donald Taylor hasn't been here yet. The exact same scenario happened in a sectional championship situation a few years ago.

I cannot emphasize this enough: coaches need to keep score separate from the board. There needs to be score checks in close matches for me: half, around question 25/30, and then after 28, just to be sure.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by the return of AHAN » Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:46 am

BG MSL Champs wrote:Conant claimed victory and our coach told us it was the decision of the tournament director. We asked someone at the director's table and briefly explained the situation with a large crowd around us. Conant was awarded the victory and we went home. My question is: If you were tournament director who would you have given the win to, as I have never seen another situation like that?
***Wakes up in cold sweats, knowing his own tournament is a week away****

You know, if this happens to me next weekend, I'm blaming you for bring it up!
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Tegan » Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:22 am

BTW .... which Barrington campus was the site of the 82 students being busted for freebasing codeine or growing meth trees or sniffing toads or something like that?

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by the return of AHAN » Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:29 am

:w-hat: ???
Do you mean when they evacuated the school (Prairie), shut it down, and tested the air quality and a battery of other environmental tests when a delivery truck parked too close to an air intake?
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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by dtaylor4 » Sat Mar 08, 2008 4:03 am

Tegan wrote:I'm shocked that Donald Taylor hasn't been here yet. The exact same scenario happened in a sectional championship situation a few years ago.

I cannot emphasize this enough: coaches need to keep score separate from the board. There needs to be score checks in close matches for me: half, around question 25/30, and then after 28, just to be sure.
The main idea is that the board score in reality doesn't mean a thing. The two main ways around it are to have score checks (at the midpoint of each half, more frequently if the game is close), or to keep score yourself on paper.

And Tom, at the time the post was made, I was on my way back from a lesson in futility that is a Blackhawks game.

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Re: Illinois '07-'08

Post by Tegan » Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:32 am

BarringtonJP wrote::w-hat: ???
Do you mean when they evacuated the school (Prairie), shut it down, and tested the air quality and a battery of other environmental tests when a delivery truck parked too close to an air intake?
http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=149672&src=109

Six students at Barrington Station ..... they had some kind of drug and were caught trying to install an anti-aircraft battery

... or something

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