Discuss: Gonzaga Academic Tournament 2/9/08

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closesesame
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Post by closesesame » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:28 pm

Congrats Whitman! My two cents about the tournament:

I definitely think it was way better than last year in the earlier rounds in that there actually were non-lit questions, and the lit was not Filipino literature or Japanese literature from the 4th century BC or whatever REALLY obscure stuff Ted Gioia knows. I did notice a few important things, though. First off, in all rounds (prelims through playoffs), the lit questions were considerably longer and harder than most of the science questions. I remember several science questions being at most two or three lines long. Going into the playoffs, though, it just seemed like Ted Gioia must have swamped Academic Initiative with all the questions he wrote that they HAD to make all the playoff rounds stacked with obscure lit. Seriously, something is a little unbalanced when you have 60% of each round (including even unrelated bonuses in the Stretch round) as lit or fine arts questions. Three lit questions in a row can also get rather annoying. Outside of the category rounds, history and geography seemed more or less absent. I'm curious how the distribution for the tournament was actually set up...

All of that being said, I must say congrats to Whitman and State College - truly a consistent performance by both teams throughout the day. Also, I'd like to congratulate Maggie Walker for their team's great performance today. I think all of us at TJ are happy with how we did in such a lit-heavy tourney, considering our two lit people (Keshav and Mohit) were out analyzing ethanol for the Science Fair and our A team was 100% infected with some viral fever. Seriously, we were going to make our names Acetaminophen, Acetylsalicylic acid, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen...
Naren Tallapragada
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Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:31 pm

closesesame wrote:
All of that being said, I must say congrats to Whitman and State College - truly a consistent performance by both teams throughout the day. Also, I'd like to congratulate Maggie Walker for their team's great performance today. I think all of us at TJ are happy with how we did in such a lit-heavy tourney, considering our two lit people (Keshav and Mohit) were out analyzing ethanol for the Science Fair and our A team was 100% infected with some viral fever. Seriously, we were going to make our names Acetaminophen, Acetylsalicylic acid, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen...
Thanks, Naren. We were all really excited; we didn't expect to do anywhere near as well as we did. Sorry to hear so many of you were sick/unable to come... (also congrats to State College and Whitman)
Sam (Sarah Angelo) Luongo,
Maggie L. Walker Governor's School 2010 / UVA 2014 / VCU School of Education 2016
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Post by jbarnes112358 » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:42 pm

closesesame wrote:Also, I'd like to congratulate Maggie Walker for their team's great performance today.
Thanks. We, too, had a hybrid team with only one regular A-team member. However, this bunch is especially good at the topics mentioned as being heavy in the tournament (Fine Arts and Lit). Or maybe they just do better when I am not there.

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Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:44 pm

jbarnes112358 wrote:
closesesame wrote:Also, I'd like to congratulate Maggie Walker for their team's great performance today.
Thanks. We, too, had a hybrid team with only one regular A-team member. However, this bunch is especially good at the topics mentioned as being heavy in the tournament (Fine Arts and Lit). Or maybe they just do better when I am not there.
You're bad luck, Dr. B. Plus, the way we were sitting, our initials spelled SMAC, so we had to smack people down. The heavy lit/art/American history definitely worked in our favor, although I was annoyed at the number of American composers (although really just because I'm bad at them/not used to them coming up).
Sam (Sarah Angelo) Luongo,
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Post by Magister Ludi » Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:41 pm

I wrote the literature, arts, and the small amount of philosophy. I'm sorry if people found it too difficult, but I stand by the questions in that they were well written and I think really nothing was too difficult for high school.

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Post by gonzagaeagleahy » Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:04 am

I'd like to thank everyone for the pretty much positive feedback.
I thought the tournament ran fairly smoothly despite the breaks between games, but it was definitely an improvement from last year still.
Pertaining to the questions, I believe that the layout of the questions was basically the same ratio as PACE games are. No games were actually 60% Lit/Fine Arts but more like 30. Receiving the questions a week before the tournament, we noticed that there was kinda a big jump in the length of questions. A lot of the science questions that ended up being used and were "3 or 4 lines" were actually even shorter before. We tried to do as much last minute adding random sentences in to try to even out the length of the questions but in a week we couldn't really fully accomplish that.
I'd like to thank Dr. Chuck, Mrs. Bykowski, Jeff, and others for coming out to read for us.
Stats should be up in a few days and Dan is probably gonna be posting soon just with the final 16 listed. Me trying to do it off memory wouldn't be the best idea.
I really liked the questions overall though, finding them of good difficulty in most cases, and thank Academic Initiative for putting them together and getting it to us in good time.
To all who came out, thanks again and I hope you enjoyed it.

Oh yeah, and we found a pair of black shoes in a Bloom bag in Father's room and we're not really sure whose they are, so if they're yours just contact us.
Kevin Leahy, the Bringer of Sin
Gonzaga College H.S. '08
Georgetown '12

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Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe » Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:03 am

Magister Ludi wrote:I wrote the literature, arts, and the small amount of philosophy. I'm sorry if people found it too difficult, but I stand by the questions in that they were well written and I think really nothing was too difficult for high school.
I am inclined to agree; I thought the fine arts and literature was far and away the best part of the set and that the answer space was about as appropriate to the high school game as it could be. Certainly I recall none obscure literature or fine arts that Naren complains of.

Which is not to excuse the fact that the science and history were both lacking and distinctly subpar. The science in particular was full of short questions that tended to be questions about elements or otherwise rely on an incredibly restricted answer space.

I thought the tournament was really well run, though. Thanks to Gonzaga readers and staff.

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Post by First Chairman » Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:18 am

General reminder: no detailed discussion on questions until the Bykowskis et al. give the green light.

I'll own up to most of the science answer space, and that I do tend to write briefer science questions because my interpretation for this particular set was to target more at mid-range level rather than elite (where I know many others who can also do a much better job with higher level clues*). From the stories I heard from last year, I also wanted to be sure that we could get off of campus at a reasonable time if we could; furthermore, having very long questions can be very difficult for newer and inexperienced readers (to PACE format, which can challenge even experienced readers), compared to people who have had more experience or expertise in the sciences. Many of the questions that I had written were well edited with additional clues once they left my computer, so hopefully those aren't the ones you're complaining about. :)

That said, my informal straw poll of people about the science questions suggested that a good number of the coaches and some of the other students did not seem to object to the questions. I can talk with Ted later about some details about his questions (not about the length but the style), but I didn't think any of the questions chosen for this set were inappropriate for the intended field.

This is the first time this group has written a "preview" PACE NSC set together, and I think the overall set of questions was solid for the audience it intended to target. I was personally surprised that the format was full-length PACE (28 tossups and appropriate bonuses), but that said, as a set, I thought it was solid. I am interested about feedback from the middle tier schools that did not make the playoffs and certainly the staffers who had to get used to a new format. So far as I could tell, the Gonzaga group of volunteers got used to the new situation quite well. Thus a great job by the staff who did adjust to the format and the students for keeping the show together.

* Teaching courses and advising students who are bound for medical school makes one realize just what the general above-average student knows. Sometimes I am surprised...
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Post by Kechara » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:45 am

Wigner's friend wrote:
Magister Ludi wrote:I wrote the literature, arts, and the small amount of philosophy. I'm sorry if people found it too difficult, but I stand by the questions in that they were well written and I think really nothing was too difficult for high school.
I am inclined to agree; I thought the fine arts and literature was far and away the best part of the set and that the answer space was about as appropriate to the high school game as it could be. Certainly I recall none obscure literature or fine arts that Naren complains of.

Which is not to excuse the fact that the science and history were both lacking and distinctly subpar. The science in particular was full of short questions that tended to be questions about elements or otherwise rely on an incredibly restricted answer space.
One thing to remember when considering the difficulty and length of the questions is that, with all due respect, this tournament was not primarily written for the Whitmans and RMs. PACE and AI hope that the top-tier teams would enjoy the set and be able to use it as another chance to prepare for the NSC. However, this set was intended to introduce the PACE format to teams that are not currently attending PACE, either because they are not qualifying for and going to national championships at all or because they don't want to go to a national tournament where they do not know the format. This set has also been used in North Carolina and Florida and will also be used in Ohio and possibly Alabama. Although there are some top-level teams in each state, we are trying to be careful not to intimidate those that are not. We do not want to become like ACF at the college level, where the format is wrongly associated with being too difficult for most teams.
Jessie Francis

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Post by rchschem » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:57 am

Was this the same set used at Robinson (2/2/08)? If so, I would agree that the lit in the later rounds did tend away from the chestnuts, but it wasn't too obscure. Though there seemed to be a morbid thread about a particular cause of death...

It was definitely a good set to prep for the NSC with. PACE lit questions are very different from NAQT--they definitely reward depth over speed, my favorite thing about them.

Of course, if this isn't the same set, then you can send this to Dr. Zaius.

Eric

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Post by Byko » Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:02 am

rchschem wrote:Was this the same set used at Robinson (2/2/08)?
Yes.

Once Solon's tournament is over and I get confirmation (or lack thereof) about this set being used at U. of Alabama, I'll be happy to discuss some of the items related to the questions that have come up.
Dave Bykowski
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Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:39 pm

Coming from someone who was on C team for this particular tournament (16th seed FTW!), I'll have to say that there seemed like a sparsity of history and geography as opposed to Lit/ Music/ Fine arts. Of course, that could possibly be me being a math/science/geo/history person, but that seemed to be a complaint from the team as a whole.

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Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:55 pm

hwhite wrote:Coming from someone who was on C team for this particular tournament (16th seed FTW!), I'll have to say that there seemed like a sparsity of history and geography as opposed to Lit/ Music/ Fine arts. Of course, that could possibly be me being a math/science/geo/history person, but that seemed to be a complaint from the team as a whole.
Gah. Congrats on beating us in that match. I should write a howto book on squandering a 120 point lead. [protip: there's more than one british explorer]
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:08 am

OK, I browsed through 3/4ths of the playoff games and if you think the literature in these packets was really hard then you clearly don't have any grasp of the literature canon. Now, I'll be the first to call out a tournament for writing too hard, but good God these answers were so run of the mill I was shocked when I realized that these were the questions being complained about. If the questions are too hard then by all means complain, but only if the questions are actually too hard, and looking through I only saw one tossup that even remotely was questionable for gettability.
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Post by First Chairman » Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:41 am

hwhite wrote:Coming from someone who was on C team for this particular tournament (16th seed FTW!), I'll have to say that there seemed like a sparsity of history and geography as opposed to Lit/ Music/ Fine arts. Of course, that could possibly be me being a math/science/geo/history person, but that seemed to be a complaint from the team as a whole.
Geography maybe... but I defer to all arguments about geography in any distribution. History, I am very sure the history distribution was upheld and emulated the distribution for PACE NSC. I'm also sure that the rest of the distribution on fine arts and on literature was also similar to NSC. (PS: I just reviewed the distribution, and it appears that the geography distribution was also held firm with the set.)
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
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