NAQT Subject Distribution

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NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by tomburr » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:32 am

After playing a few of the NAQT sets that we had lying around (IS 50 ish) in order to practice for our state tournament, I was pretty concerned with the subject distribution. It seemed to be an incredible amount of geography, history, and general knowledge. I swear I've seen packets with 1 tossup for Lit, Art, and Music combined. At most, there have been three tossups in a packet on the fine arts and literature. When looking at some other house-written tournament packets, the distribution seems to hover around 6 for all three categories. Is this still the norm in NAQT, or have things changed any?

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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by BuzzerZen » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:49 am

Nope.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:22 am

The NAQT Distribution is:

Current Events 7.5%
Fine Arts 7.0%
Foreign Language 0.5%
Geography 7.0%
General Knowledge / Mixed 5.5%
History 18.5%
Literature / Mythology 18.5%
Popular Culture 7.5%
Philosophy 2.0%
Science 18.5%
Sports 4.0%
Social Science 3.5%
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by AndyShootsAndyScores » Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:36 am

DJ Shadow wrote:The NAQT Distribution is:

Popular Culture 7.5%
Damn. I was not aware it was that high.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by NoahMinkCHS » Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:48 pm

That's a pretty common complaint about NAQT, especially with regard to general knowledge and especially geography. It has not changed much since the IS-50s, although I imagine general question quality has probably increased. (Not that it was bad then...)

If you weren't aware, remember that NAQT has a tournament-based distribution, rather than packet-based like a lot of tournaments, which is how you could reconcile seeing 1 lit/fine arts question in a packet with the 18.5% lit/myth and 7% FA distribution. However, I suspect that you actually had more than one lit question in that packet -- sometimes NAQT categorizes things differently from how one might imagine, or at least that's always been my understanding.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:06 pm

Alex Kidd wrote:
DJ Shadow wrote:The NAQT Distribution is:

Popular Culture 7.5%
Damn. I was not aware it was that high.
Did you see that Sports had an additional 4%?
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by aestheteboy » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:58 pm

It's less frustrating if you start considering NAQT as a hybrid format. It's not too ridiculous considering that questions in the "academic" distribution often have really trashy answer/clue selection.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by ragnarok2012 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:19 pm

DJ Shadow wrote:The NAQT Distribution is:
Geography 7.0%
General Knowledge / Mixed 5.5%
Popular Culture 7.5%
Sports 4.0%
I am not sure what General knowledge is (can someone tell me? or give me an example?). Btw, the non academic subjects make up almost a a fifth of all questions. What is the benefit of making a tournament distribution instead of packet distribution? I think it would be easier and more balanced to do packet distribution.

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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by NoahMinkCHS » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:37 pm

ragnarok2012 wrote:I think it would be easier and more balanced to do packet distribution.
A lot of people feel that way, but I can see why one might prefer the tournament-based. If you require every subject to come out to a whole number of questions per round, you can over/under-represent certain subjects from your ideal. Try to turn NAQT's percentages into discrete amounts in a 20, 24, or 26 question round -- you end up having to make some choices.

Example: The Big Three (History, Lit, Science) are each 18.5%. In a 26-question round, that comes out to 4.81/4.81 on each. You could say that's basically 5/5, and go with that, but that means that you lose roughly .6/.6 per round that could be something else; over 15 rounds, you lose 9 questions that way. Maybe you think that wouldn't be a bad thing, to have 9/9 more in the core subjects, but realize that it applies to trash, CE, GK, and geography also -- and when it comes time to make decisions to round a fraction up or down, who knows which way it will go? By using percentages instead of fractions, you can be more flexible with subjects, and if you make a sincere effort to have roughly-balanced rounds (as, I think, NAQT has said they do -- so you don't have 10/10 history in one round), it actually can make a lot of sense.

Nothing against per-round distributions of course -- they also work very well and are, no doubt, easier for editors that don't have an automated database system.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by aestheteboy » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:01 pm

Per-tournament distribution isn't a huge problem since, the packet distribution is never off by more than one from the tournament distribution. That is, since lit/myth distribution is 4.81, there should always be 4 or 5 toss ups and 4 or 5 bonuses per packet.
The bigger problem is, as I said, that some academic questions aren't really academic at all. (say . . . Winnie the Pooh and Hobbit for lit).
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:53 pm

ragnarok2012 wrote:
DJ Shadow wrote:The NAQT Distribution is:
Geography 7.0%
General Knowledge / Mixed 5.5%
Popular Culture 7.5%
Sports 4.0%
I am not sure what General knowledge is (can someone tell me? or give me an example?). Btw, the non academic subjects make up almost a a fifth of all questions. What is the benefit of making a tournament distribution instead of packet distribution? I think it would be easier and more balanced to do packet distribution.
Geography is academic. It's just somewhat overrepresented.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by AndyShootsAndyScores » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:17 pm

DJ Shadow wrote:The NAQT Distribution is:

Current Events 7.5%
Fine Arts 7.0%
Foreign Language 0.5%
Geography 7.0%
General Knowledge / Mixed 5.5%
History 18.5%
Literature / Mythology 18.5%
Popular Culture 7.5%
Philosophy 2.0%
Science 18.5%
Sports 4.0%
Social Science 3.5%
Something I didn't notice until now, but there seems to be no math in this distribution. I know there's math in there somewhere.

Of course, I suppose this could be thrown in with the "General Knowledge / Mixed" category...
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:19 pm

Alex Kidd wrote:Something I didn't notice until now, but there seems to be no math in this distribution. I know there's math in there somewhere.

Of course, I suppose this could be thrown in with the "General Knowledge / Mixed" category...
Math is part of science in the collegiate distribution posted above. Presumably, there is a separate category for math calculation in the high school distribution.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:50 pm

Why are literature and mythology attached to each other?
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by NoahMinkCHS » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:29 pm

Maybe because of overlap? Where do you count Homer and ancient stuff that (re)tells a myth?
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:40 pm

NoahMinkCHS wrote:Maybe because of overlap? Where do you count Homer and ancient stuff that (re)tells a myth?
This makes some sense... Though I would overlap mythology w/Religion myself. However, if this is the case, then shouldn't this category get a larger share? Literature by itself should be at least as big as history, and with the addition of mythology to the category, there isn't going to be adequate lit or mythology.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by btressler » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:38 am

I have to admit that this year I found I am not as pleased with NAQT's distribution.

We are now to the point where we get 2 computations plus 1 science computation per round. Every single time I read "pencil and paper ready" someone groans. I wish it were one per round only. I believe there are regions of the country that keep asking NAQT to include more computation and I wish they would knock that off.

I'm also on board with a 1/1 only geography. In the final at Blue Hen, five of the tossups were "this country" or "this city", and then there was a river too. This would include the current events and history questions that sneak geographical clues in.

The literature has also become rather monotonous. Lately the grand majority seem to go "In one work, this author...., this author also wrote about...., In a more well known work his characters X, Y, and Z did something. For 10 points, name this author of something you might know.". Literature can be characters, titles, things in works, movements, and other things too.

But since I always seem to be in the minority on these points, I'm sure all disagree.

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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Gautam » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:51 am

Stat74 wrote: The literature has also become rather monotonous. Lately the grand majority seem to go "In one work, this author...., this author also wrote about...., In a more well known work his characters X, Y, and Z did something. For 10 points, name this author of something you might know.".
That is by far the best way to write about authors and such, I think. That is mostly how collegiate questions and PACE questions on authors are written, as far as I know.
Stat74 wrote: Literature can be characters, titles, things in works, movements, and other things too. But since I always seem to be in the minority on these points, I'm sure all disagree.
I don't disagree. I also feel that some of the categories you pointed out have been grossly misrepresented in recent IS sets. I mean, it is really sad to see tossups on author X when he/she has works Y and Z which are tossupable even at the HS level.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by DumbJaques » Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:10 am

I'm also on board with a 1/1 only geography. In the final at Blue Hen, five of the tossups were "this country" or "this city", and then there was a river too. This would include the current events and history questions that sneak geographical clues in.
I suspect this is indicative of what I think the real problem with the NAQT distribution ends up being. Questions are somewhat dubiously counted in certain categories. Hey, you could write a pure history tossup on, say, Bulgaria, but it's not my experience that NAQT tossups on Bulgaria that have a tiny bit of history do anything but fall back to geography. Similarly tossups on the "history" of random American cities are also a problem the way NAQT, by and large, seems to write them. There's definitely an infatuation with these things as answers and when such questions are counted as history or something else, it only compounds the already non-negligible geography distribution (which I don't even necessarily have a problem with).

We heard a tossup on the San Andreas fault in practice (from an ICT set) the other day that was ludicrously unrelated to anything remotely scientific and basically just gave a list of things it runs through/near/whatever. While being a pretty poor, figure-it-out way even to write a geography tossup on one of a very small amount of things that "runs" through places in Southern California, it's also kind of a bummer that a question on the San Andreas fault included absolutely 0% science clues. Again if it was counted as pure goegraphy that's fine, but then there were the 2/2 other geography questions in the packet, not to mention another question where the answer was a country.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by btressler » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:11 am

To clarify, I'm not saying that there shouldn't be author tossups.

I'm saying the >50% of the literature tossups lately have been author tossups, and that to my ears they all follow the same structure of clues.

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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Howard » Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:09 pm

Stat74 wrote:We are now to the point where we get 2 computations plus 1 science computation per round. Every single time I read "pencil and paper ready" someone groans. I wish it were one per round only. I believe there are regions of the country that keep asking NAQT to include more computation and I wish they would knock that off.
After our first NAQT tournament (I believe it was a Delaware Fall Open), R sent me an e-mail asking for feedback. One of my feedback points was that math computation seemed to be overrepresented compared to what we were familiar with. R's response indicated that other regions expected math and science to take up a much larger percentage of the packet. That supports your idea that other regions ask for more computation.

The larger issue is that this is a national product. We need to keep in mind that no one customer, or even no one region, will get exactly what they want in terms of distribution. That'll never happen without making custom question packets.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:14 pm

Howard wrote:The larger issue is that this is a national product. We need to keep in mind that no one customer, or even no one region, will get exactly what they want in terms of distribution.
Except the people who keep bleating about wanting more math calculation, they seem pretty happy
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:43 pm

What's really sad is that after Rolla hosted NAQT state on IS-74 (a set that I thought had too much math, like, 3 tossups in some 20 tossup games) teams there openly complained that there was "way too little math." There are some things I'm OK with NAQT compromising on, but they really need to just ignore people saying math needs to be increased, I don't care what anyone says.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by First Chairman » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:45 am

I'd rather hear more about objections to CE + PC + Sports = 19% compared to 18.5% of either history or science.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by BuzzerZen » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:20 am

The math discussion has been split to Theory.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:15 am

Pin-tailed Manakin wrote:I'd rather hear more about objections to CE + PC + Sports = 19% compared to 18.5% of either history or science.
I really don't think that PC+Sports should comprise the 11.5% that they do-- about 7.5% would be more than enough. It's an academic competition, and I don't think that there should be more sports than mythology. However, I don't understand why CE is lumped in with other trash categories by so many players. So long as it relates to actual, newsworthy political or economic events rather than to the latest developments in the life of David Hasslehoff, it's an academic category (though, like Geography, it is somewhat overrepresented).
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by DumbJaques » Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:48 am

So long as it relates to actual, newsworthy political or economic events rather than to the latest developments in the life of David Hasslehoff, it's an academic category (though, like Geography, it is somewhat overrepresented).
I doubt anyone would have much of a problem if the current events were well-researched, well-written, not ridiculously abundant, and about academic things (world leaders, politics) rather than Britney Spears. Predominantly, I don't think it's any of those things in NAQT right now.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:08 pm

Well, here's a novel idea. National Academic Quiz Tournaments. Why do they insist on using that word if they are going to ask more than, like 5% non-academic trash?
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by vcuEvan » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:38 am

Deesy Does It wrote:Well, here's a novel idea. National Academic Quiz Tournaments. Why do they insist on using that word if they are going to ask more than, like 5% non-academic trash?
Closer to 15% in my experience.

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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:48 am

Adamantium Claws wrote:Closer to FIFTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN % in my experience.
fixed

According to the posted distribution in the 2007 survey, the sum of "popular culture" "sports" and "general knowledge" in NAQT is 16.8%. There's also a significant number of questions in "current events" and the academic categories with trash or trivia clues.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by jbarnes112358 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:32 pm

SwissBoy wrote:
Alex Kidd wrote:
DJ Shadow wrote:The NAQT Distribution is:

Popular Culture 7.5%
Damn. I was not aware it was that high.
Did you see that Sports had an additional 4%?
I wonder what percentage of the sports questions involves ice hockey.

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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:40 pm

jbarnes112358 wrote:
SwissBoy wrote: Did you see that Sports had an additional 4%?
I wonder what percentage of the sports questions involves ice hockey.
In high school, probably 90%. College seems to have more old baseball than hockey.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Saiem » Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm

Fine Arts really have less of a distribution than current events and an equivalent amount as Geography? I would argue that at the past few NAQT tournaments I've been to, the Fine Arts are much less represented than both of those categories by about a factor of 2 to 1. I don't see how this could be considered ideal. I don't mind playing a bunch of bad NAQT tournaments... unless the other team has an amazing geography person :roll: . The tournament has gotten so much less academic than from what I remember. I don't see how anybody could want more computation. Its kind of annoying after a while. MAYBE a 1/1 distribution. Thats it. I don't feel any pride in getting math questions.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Ford08 » Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:11 pm

When we went to rolla for the NAQT tournament we have a really good geography\ history player that loved the questions there. Lets put it this way, he has every capital in the world memorized along with all of the capitals of states and providences. He knows where all mountians\rivers oceans are located. He also knows populations and how to get to everywhere. Both his parents are truckers and he lived on the truck for some times. I have never seen a geography like him he is just amazing. I like History\fine arts. I did well on the NAQT sets. This was our teams first time on anyother format other than missouri format. On the other hand our science\math player who is our captain, and our lit girl did not do very well at all. I can understand why people say there should not be any math but what math there should be is theory and math history.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Gautam » Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:32 pm

Ford08 wrote:capitals of states and providences.
Bonuses on capitals of States and providences coming to a tournament near you.
Ford08 wrote:On the other hand our science\math player who is our captain, and our lit girl did not do very well at all. I can understand why people say there should not be any math but what math there should be is theory and math history.
:w-hat:

Are you saying that "I can understand why people say 'there should not be any math but what math there should be is theory and math history'." or are you saying "I can understand why people say 'there should not be any math' but what math there should be is theory and math history."
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Ford08 » Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:15 pm

The latter of the two.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Tegan » Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:52 pm

Stat74 wrote: We are now to the point where we get 2 computations plus 1 science computation per round. Every single time I read "pencil and paper ready" someone groans. I wish it were one per round only. I believe there are regions of the country that keep asking NAQT to include more computation and I wish they would knock that off.

Not happening.

We can sit here and have endless debates on "math isn't quizbowl" .... "computations don't belong", etc, etc, etc. Its even moved beyond the point of whether computations are even appropriate or not anymore.

Fact: there are regions of this country that use a lot more math than others.

Fact: if you want your product to filter into those regions, and get more teams on the bandwagon, you need to bring more math in.

Opinion: This will likely cheese off people who are used to not having someone on the team who knows how to solve math with a shortcut of some kind. Its an opinion, but one it sounds like many share.

As I said, we can put each other down and be moan how quizbowl is on the slippery slope to Chipblivion and that in ten years all good quizbowl will have gone the way of the Wilkins Ice Shelf. That isn't going to happen either. What simply has to be acknowledged is that (as someone already mentioned) is that there are multiple ways of running quizbowl, regarding distribution. Attempts to get people to change by saying "your distribution sucks, get rid of it" have not worked, and are never going to work (I'm not accusing you Stat .... just a general overpainting of a long, long debate).

So, we can choose to try and change the so called "backward regions" in terms of their distribution (not likely to happen), we can try and change the backward regions in terms of their quesiton format (easier to do, and I think a much better goal to set).


Now, if you want to talk about "too much trash", I'm all for minimizing that as much as possible. 1/1 out of 24 is plenty for my taste.

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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:58 pm

How about we stop trying to market the same questions to people who insist on turning quizbowl into Mathcounts and don't want to learn anything, that we market to serious players who actually want to play the game? The profit-maximizing strategy of giving people who threaten to stop buying your questions whatever they want is not conducive to good quizbowl.
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Re: NAQT Subject Distribution

Post by First Chairman » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:00 pm

Point of order: can I change the title of this thread to general subject distribution, or are we targetting the specific NAQT distribution still?
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
Facebook junkie and unofficial advisor to aspiring health professionals in quiz bowl
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