Georgia 2008-2009

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

It seemed to me that the questions were on average mediocre and oftentimes poor. I don't think I heard a good art or music question for most of the tournament. A BUNCH OF ANSWERS NOT CLEARED TO DISCUSS!

Please don't discuss answers on sets that are to be played at a later date!-- The Mgmt

EDIT: Okay, so to make my point without the answers, most of the music and art was "bio bio bio FAMOUS WORK!" There was a dearth of RMP, and the bonuses were so easy as to render them insignificant.
Last edited by AlphaQuizBowler on Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by grashid »

AlphaQuizBowler wrote:It seemed to me that the questions were on average mediocre and oftentimes poor. I don't think I heard a good art or music question for most of the tournament. A BUNCH OF ANSWERS NOT CLEARED TO DISCUSS.
I will agree with this 100%. However, I thought the questions in the playoffs were much much better, even though the bonuses were still similar difficulty.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Rountree »

Congrats to all the teams that came out in 5A, especially Walton who played a nearly flawless and incredibly fast State Championship game against us.

Here are the final rankings (and their seeds going into the Playoffs):
1. Walton (2)
2. Chattahoochee (1)
3. Brookwood (4)
4. Central Gwinnett (3)
5. Centennial (5)
6. Alpharetta (6)
7. Berkmar (7)
8. Duluth (8)

All I can say is that this set played very fast. The most "difficult" questions appeared as the final part of the bonuses and there weren't that many to begin with. The set felt to me like a mix between an NAQT "A" set and a regular IS set (basically 10th-11th grade level tossups with some difficult bonus parts thrown in for good measure.) In my opinion, it was not sympatico with recent NAQT State Championship series questions that we have used in GA. For example, all 20 TUs were converted in the Finals and only 3 bonus parts were dropped - this is an almost absurd amount of points for a State Championship (regardless of which teams are playing). This fact does not take anything away from my own team or Walton's knowledge; the questions were just not that difficult.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by centralhs »

Over the past few weeks, our team has used numerous sets of questions from old Varsity State tournaments in practice. I did not see that much difference in difficulty between the past few year's sets and this year's set. The questions at Varsity State always seem fairly easy to me. The questions in the playoff rounds were more difficult, but still pretty easy for teams of the calibre of the top Georgia teams. The biggest problem that I saw was with the math questions, many of which seemed to be poorly edited. It was as if they had taken longer math tossups and shortened them awkwardly. Also, a few of the math answers apparently were wrong.

Kudos to the Walton team for separating themselves from the pack over the course of this semester. They played a great game against us, both at the Cedar Shoals tournament back in early February and in the semifinal round on Saturday. I guess we can conclude that they are "nearly flawless and incredibly fast." And the majority of their team will return next year!

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Rountree »

My team used similar methods of preparation at practice over the course of the year; I think it certainly helped us. However, I still believe the set was easier than previous years.

Here are some numbers to corroborate what I mean about the overall difficulty of the Finals in comparison to other recent GATA State Championships:
1. 2 years ago, 18 of 20 TUs in the State Finals were converted and 480 of 600 total points scored.
2. Last year's Finals had 16 of 20 TUs converted with 450 points scored.
3. This year 20 of 20 TUs were answered in the Finals and 560 of 600 points scored (4 bonus parts were missed instead of 3 like I originally stated).

Regardless of which year you compare this one to, the number of points converted equals 3-4 more TU and Bonus cycles in the State Finals. I would say that is a large discrepancy from what we were used to seeing in past State Championships. Again, I am not taking anything away from my own team or from Walton in being able to answer all 20 TUs and convert 560 of 600 possible points. It just seems like this set was easier than in previous years and it paid to be very fast, which Walton clearly was.

I could also run the numbers for average points per game for all teams in the prelims this year compared to previous years, but I can guarantee it was considerably higher this year than in others. For example, 2 years ago we were the #1 seed and we averaged 230 points per game in the prelims. Last year we were the #1 seed as well, and we averaged 255 points per game in the prelims. This year, as the #1 seed again, we averaged 275 points per game.

Here are the playoff numbers based on the 3 rounds Chattahoochee played the last 3 years:
1. 2 years ago: 520 total points per game in the playoffs with 19 of 20 TUs converted (3 total TUs dropped)
2. 1 year ago: 440 total points per game in the playoffs with 16.3 of 20 TUs converted (11 total TUs dropped)
3. This year: 553 total points per game in the playoffs with 19.7 of 20 TUs converted (only 1 TU dropped)

All this means is that overall the NAQT set was faster and easier than in recent years. It doesn't mean the questions were not good or that I didn't like them. In fact, I enjoy seeing lots of points scored - it makes for a more exciting match. In the playoffs and, particularly, the State Finals, however, the need for more knowledge-based questions should be at a premium over speed and reflex-driven success. Thus, this year's set was either an anomaly in overall difficulty level, or all the teams in the playoffs were much better this year than in the past 2 years. The latter seems like a stretch while the former seems probable.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by centralhs »

My point was not that this year's questions weren't easy, but that the last few year's questions have been easy as well. I looked back at the 2007 and 2008 playoff questions, and I believe that the 2009 Semifinals/Finals teams would have been able to convert all or most of them.

I have actually believed ALL YEAR that the top Georgia teams are stronger this year than they have been the past couple of years. In past years, there has always been one or two strong teams at State, but this year there were a bunch of strong teams. All 4 teams in the semifinals, as well as certainly Alpharetta and possibly other teams as well, have deeper knowledge than past year's teams have, so they are able to consistently ring in earlier/faster on questions. Obviously, not all of the teams in the overall tournament were stronger, but the teams in the latter rounds of the playoffs were -- in my opinion, at least.

It does seem to me that teams were getting more math questions than in past years, so either those questions were easier or teams are simply better in math. Unquestionably, Walton's team is strong and fast at math, as they have been when we have played them in other tournaments.

Maybe the playoff question level can be raised next year?

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

Maybe use a third bonus part to allow for deeper testing of knowledge?
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

AlphaQuizBowler wrote:Maybe use a third bonus part to allow for deeper testing of knowledge?
Why on earth isn't this done already? That's how you truly differentiate between very good and great teams... can they get the "hard" part of 30-point bonus questions or not?
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:
AlphaQuizBowler wrote:Maybe use a third bonus part to allow for deeper testing of knowledge?
Why on earth isn't this done already? That's how you truly differentiate between very good and great teams... can they get the "hard" part of 30-point bonus questions or not?
This is not necessarily true. If bonuses are written to be 2-part (for example, PACE 1st quarter), they can be fine, because the second part is written a little harder, and the expected percentage of teams getting each part is different. However, I think that when GATA takes away the third part of a set written with three parts, something is lost. I am of the opinion that games shouldn't be won on tossups alone, and when the bonuses are easy 20s for at least the top 8 teams there, it was more like playing with 30-point tossups. Nevertheless, this is just my preference and, by no means, what I believe is a requirement for good quizbowl.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

So I read in the ACE email today that Mr. Rountree filmed a Jeopardy! episode. When will it air?
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Rountree »

You can watch the show Monday, May 18th.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

Not much has gone on in Georgia recently, I guess? Who else is excited about JV State next weekend?
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Xerxes »

AlphaQuizBowler wrote:Not much has gone on in Georgia recently, I guess? Who else is excited about JV State next weekend?
Wow ... I completely forgot that it was next week. Oh well, I guess it doesn't apply to me anymore anyway.

A few questions:
1) Which GA teams are going to PACE and/or NAQT?
2) Any GA players know if they will be attending ACE camp this summer?
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AKKOLADE »

Xerxes wrote:1) Which GA teams are going to PACE...?
At this time we have Brookwood, Chattahoochee and Walton. Of course, we'd be happy to see more teams since there's still room in the field.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Important Bird Area »

Xerxes wrote:1) Which GA teams are going to ... NAQT?
Brookwood A and B, Chattahoochee A and B, Walton. (field update today)
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

I'm going to ACE this weekend. I probably won't see you, though, Kayhan, because I'm going to SE Missouri. The dates for the others didn't fit my schedule.

EDIT: Okay, well, I am going to ACE this summer.
Last edited by AlphaQuizBowler on Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Xerxes »

So most of the usual suspects are going to both NAQT and PACE, it seems. Sorry about missing the NAQT field update, I checked the list just before the update occurred.
AlphaQuizBowler wrote: I'm going to ACE this weekend.
Man I'd like to attend a Spring ACE session. :grin: :grin: :grin:
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

Xerxes wrote:
AlphaQuizBowler wrote: I'm going to ACE this weekend.
Man I'd like to attend a Spring ACE session. :grin: :grin: :grin:
Wow. Yeah, I guess that's why I shouldn't post after 10.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Rountree »

Anyone got some predictive power about this weekend? I know Alpharetta will be very good on those questions, but who else will compete to be in the top 4? I am guessing the usual suspects, but I have not seen all the JV teams this year to know for sure. Anyway, best of luck to everyone in 5A - see you tomorrow!
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

My quick predictions:
1. Alpharetta
2. Walton
3. Central Gwinnett
4. Chattahoochee

I'm a little wary putting my team on top the day before the tournament, and I would say that those top 4 could be in a different order. We'll have to see. Centennial looks to be in the mix as well.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

Is the set cleared or is it from NAQT?
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by grashid »

Results from what I have heard:

1. Centennial
2. Alpharetta
3. Walton

I don't know the rest, though.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

Not seeing this set listed on the NAQT page, I'm going to go ahead and comment:
This was one of the worst sets of questions I've ever played on. The tossups were bad, and the bonuses were atrocious. I'm not sure who in GATA thinks that tossups on Johnny Tremain or The Lorax are appropriate literature for JV, but whoever they are, they're mistaken. I'm not sure anyone likes playing with "thirty-point tossups" like we did yesterday, because with bonuses that anyone who half-slept through the 9th and 10th grade could 20, that's essentially what we did. I'm beginning to think the only way to alleviate this issue is to adopt 30-point bonuses. And I'm sure Mr. Barry would have a fit if he knew the trash clues that snuck into the set, such as the "chases roadrunners" clue for the Native American Coyote myth tossup, or the "also the name of a coffee chain" for the Starbuck (from Moby Dick) question, and that was just the final round. Tossups on cells that begin "Robert Hooke coined this term" or tossups on the Sahara that begin "It's bordered on the south by the Sahel" are just not acceptable for a state tournament. Tossups that begin with useless clues like "This species is an endangered animal" or tossups on Frost that begin by talking about his house are even worse. Considering the questions were supposed to determine the best JV team in the state, I'm terribly disappointed in the quality of the set. Given that Varsity State wasn't much better, though, perhaps I should have expected it.

Gazi- 4th was Chattahoochee A
Playoff seeds were:
1. Centennial (5-0)
2. Walton (5-0)
3. Alpharetta (4-1, loss to Walton)
4. Central Gwinnett (4-1, loss to Walton)
5. Chattahoochee A (3-2, loss to Walton and Alpharetta)
6. Grayson (2-3)
7. Chattahoochee B (2-3)
8. Norcross
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by centralhs »

I'm afraid that I have to agree with William here. These questions, while not necessarily poorly written, were far too easy. A few questions (one about Gandhi comes to mind) could have been answered by a not especially bright 5th grader.

In my opinion, the tossup questions were easy and the bonus questions even easier which, as William points out, basically results in a 30 point tossup.
My teams (for whatever reason) tend not to be the fastest teams out there, but we generally have fairly deep knowledge and can count on getting points on bounceback bonuses. These bonuses were so easy that there were extemely few bouncebacks.

Whoever writes the J.V. state questions in the future ought to look at the 2004, 2006 and 2007 J.V. State questions which, in my opinion, achieve the right balance for J.V. -- not too hard for J.V. but not insultingly easy either.

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by at your pleasure »

Wait. Why do people think Starbuck is a good non-hard bonus part question for JV in the first place?
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Because they can put the easy coffee shop clue in.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by at your pleasure »

Okay, if anyone from GATA is reading this, I would like to note the following:
If you need to use a unrelated trash clue to make a question answerable, it is too hard and should be excised from the set or moved up in difficulty.If you can make a question answerable without the trash clue, don't use the trash clue.
That is all.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by quizbowler100 »

.
Last edited by quizbowler100 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Rountree »

I agree and disagree with many of comments here. Yes, the set was easy and fast (as most JV sets tend to be). Yes, there were a few too many "trash" clues mixed in (1 clue is too many in my opinion). No, this was not the worst set I have ever heard/read (particularly not for the JV level). Additionally, I would much rather have all or most of the points scored in a round than see scores of 100-80 out of 450 possible points.

What maligned this tournament much more than the questions was the unbalanced nature of the prelim brackets. Walton had to play the 3rd, 4th, and 5th, seeds in the prelims while Centennial played the 7th and 8th seeds and some other teams that didn't make the playoffs. Of course Centennial ended up winning the tournament, but they had an easier draw to get there. Regardless of the questions, the top teams all finished within 1 place of their seeds. This at least counts for something in determining the accuracy of the tournament's main goal - to determine the best JV team in GA.

JV - Final Standings (and their seeds entering playoffs):
1. Centennial (#1 seed) - went undefeated the whole day (they were the best team on Saturday)
2. Alpharetta (#3 seed) - lost 2 games (1 to Walton in prelims and Championship to Centennial)
3. Walton (#2 seed) - lost 1 game, the rematch to Alpharetta in Semifinals
4. Chattahoochee A (#5 seed) - lost to Centennial by 1 question in Semis and to Walton in Consolation game)
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by centralhs »

J.V. questions are, by nature, easier than Varsity questions. That is as it should be. However, I don't see any reason for them ever to be as easy as the ones at Saturday's J.V. State tournament. This was basically a middle school set of questions consisting almost exclusively of information that 9th and 10th grade quiz bowl players knew PRIOR to entering high school. There were very, very few questions that rewarded students who had acquired high school-level knowledge. I would rather see a student rewarded for learning the author of "Confessions of an English Opium Eater" (a question which was in the 2006 J.V. State set) than rewarded for having had "The Lorax" read to him in 3rd grade.

There is a balance that can (and should) be achieved for J.V. between far too easy and far too hard. When 410+ points (out of a possible 450) are consistently being scored between the 2 teams in a game (as happened in 5 of the 6 games we played), the questions are simply too easy.

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Captain Sinico »

elrountree wrote:Additionally, I would much rather have all or most of the points scored in a round than see scores of 100-80 out of 450 possible points.
Sure, but that is a false dilemma: there are plenty of questions on more academic subjects that will lead to the same types of scores.

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

elrountree wrote: Yes, the set was easy and fast (as most JV sets tend to be).
I don't have a problem with easy sets. For example, I think that last year's HAVOC, a JV set, is fairly well-written and easy at the same time. What I have a problem with are sets that don't follow the rules of pyramidality. I think we can agree, Mr. Rountree, that neither of us like the tossups on cells or the Sahara that I mentioned earlier.
What maligned this tournament much more than the questions was the unbalanced nature of the prelim brackets. Walton had to play the 3rd, 4th, and 5th, seeds in the prelims while Centennial played the 7th and 8th seeds and some other teams that didn't make the playoffs. Of course Centennial ended up winning the tournament, but they had an easier draw to get there. Regardless of the questions, the top teams all finished within 1 place of their seeds. This at least counts for something in determining the accuracy of the tournament's main goal - to determine the best JV team in GA.
I'm not sure what you're saying here. You first say that the prelims were unbalanced, which is true. But then you claim that the tournament was accurate because everyone finished close to their seeds that were determined in the uneven prelim brackets.

What do people consider target bonus conversion for 20-point bonuses? I would say that the top team should have 15 ppb, while the bottom team should have 5 ppb. The majority of teams should be around 10.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Well, depends who the "top team" is; obviously if you have a set of questions written specifically to the exact needs of your field, it would be nice to have bonuses where the top team gets 20ppb and the bottom gets something like 5ppb. In general, I'd want to see the top team, if strong enough, score closer to 18ppb, since that's analogous to the 27ppb we'd hope for out of thirty.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by centralhs »

William brought up the HAVOC tournament as an "easy" tournament but, for the record, the HAVOC tournament questions were much, much more difficult than this year's J.V. State questions. In just one round of HAVOC, I see tossups on (1) My Last Duchess, (2) Center of Mass, (3) President Pro Tempore, (4) The Highwaymen by Alfred Noyes and (5) The Battle of Verdun.

None of the above answers are, I believe, things that a middle school student would be likely to know. The 2009 J.V. State questions had virtually no questions that tested this level of knowledge. There was one bonus about the Seneca Falls Convention and Lucretia Mott/Elizabeth Cady Stanton and that was pretty much it.

I am glad that William mentioned the HAVOC tournament, though, because that is the level at which I would like to see the Georgia J.V. State questions in the future... not insanely difficult but designed to favor someone who has studied the high school quiz bowl "canon" of knowledge.

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Rountree »

Mike, I am not arguing that there are only 2 choices - either most of the points are scored on easy questions or they are not scored on hard questions - thus, my statement is not a false dilemma. I am simply stating an opinion that I prefer games where most points are scored to those where most points are not converted. In my experience, this is more fun for the players, the coaches, and the reader/workers involved. Thus, the game is "better."

Additionally, 1 question about The Lorax does not make a set non-academic. In fact, I could count on 2 hands the number of questions that I would not put in the "academic" category. Since there were 45 questions (15 TU and Bonus) per round and there were 9 rounds, that means that out of 405 questions, at least 395 questions were what I would call academic in nature. I agree that I would prefer it to be all 405, but even though it wasn't there were not enough "trash" questions to taint the set as unplayable or unworthy of our standards.

Now, if we are solely talking about difficulty level, then I have already stated that the set was easy for my team and the top teams there. However, I would not argue that it was MS level. Chattahoochee has hosted a MS tournament every year for the past 8 years, and I know first-hand that none of those teams could have converted all or most of the points round after round like I saw on Saturday by the top 4-5 teams. (William you played in a couple of those tournaments so you know what I am talking about.) I would say the set was appropriate for average to good 9th graders and average 10th graders, which describes the vast bulk of the quiz bowl population in our area from what I saw as a reader on Saturday.

Cathy, in the JV State Championship 2 years ago, the 2007 set you mentioned earlier as being appropriate JV difficulty level, the score in the Finals was 230-220 with every TU and Bonus converted by Brookwood and Chattahoochee. I thought that the questions from last Saturday were about the same level, and not all the points were converted in the Finals this year (although all of them were in the Consolation match between Walton and Chattahoochee, which were played on the same questions). This doesn't refute your argument; it just illustrates that the best JV teams have traditionally converted all or most of the questions at the State Tournament, regardless of what the difficulty was.

William, what I am talking about in regard to the outcome of the tournament - not the questions mind you - is that on Saturday, Centennial was the best JV team in the state; they were better than Alpharetta, Walton, and Chattahoochee, having beaten 2 of those 3 and not having a chance to play Walton. The prelims created some slight seeding issues but, again, nothing that prevented the top team from emerging. I am not sure how Alpharetta or Chattahoochee could argue about where we finished; is that what you are saying? In my opinion, the only team that has a small gripe is Walton because they never got to play Centennial.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by centralhs »

Eliott -- My reason for bringing up how easy the questions were had nothing to do with the final tournament standings. The exact reason that I mentioned the easy questions was because, unlike you apparently, I do NOT find it fun when the questions are so easy that teams can answer them in the first few words. I find rounds fun to play (and watch) when teams show that they know challenging material appropriate for their grade level. "Easy", of course, is a relative word... while I would not expect your middle school tournament kids to know the answers to all of the questions asked at J.V. State (that is precisely why I found it to be a "middle school level" tournament appropriate for middle school students), the top 6-7 high school teams certainly did (and with ease.) Also, I do NOT find it fun when bonuses are so easy that there aren't bouncebacks. The main thing that I enjoy about high school tournaments in Georgia is the chance to "steal" points on bouncebacks. With the bounceback element essentially taken away, rounds aren't as exciting to play or watch in my opinion.

And not to belabor this point, but I definitely do not think that the 2007 questions were as easy as the 2009 questions. The fact that the teams in the finals in 2007 still were able to answer all of the questions correctly does not prove that the questions were the same level as in 2009; all it shows is that the 2007 Final teams were really good. The 2009 questions were quite possibly the easiest questions that I have ever personally heard asked at the high school level (while certainly far from the most poorly written.) Questions are always going to seem "easy" to the best teams out there but "hard" to the worst ones. However, some effort should be made to find a balance between really easy and really hard to make it fun but challenging for all teams.

I would be interested to hear what other people think about this topic. Is it really more fun to play rounds where you easily and quickly know all of the answers?

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Captain Sinico »

elrountree wrote:Mike, I am not arguing that there are only 2 choices - either most of the points are scored on easy questions or they are not scored on hard questions - thus, my statement is not a false dilemma. I am simply stating an opinion that I prefer games where most points are scored to those where most points are not converted. In my experience, this is more fun for the players, the coaches, and the reader/workers involved. Thus, the game is "better."
What, then, is the point you're after in making that statement?
elrountree wrote:Additionally, 1 question about The Lorax does not make a set non-academic.
I don't think anyone said it did. I haven't seen the set and have no interest in doing so; if it was less academic than it was supposed to be, as people are saying (based, presumably, on more than one question), that's bad. If it wasn't, fine.
elrountree wrote:Now, if we are solely talking about difficulty level, then I have already stated that the set was easy for my team and the top teams there.
It sounds like you agree with the thrust of other people's points, then; this set was probably too easy for a state championship.

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Rountree »

Mike, the point I am making is that regardless of my personal thoughts about the difficulty of the questions, I would prefer to see most of the points scored in a game. It is immaterial whether my team is playing or not. I like to see kids getting questions - I don't particularly care if it is on a buzzer race or because of their deep knowledge. I don't like hearing sets where multiple questions are unanswered round after round. That is the whole point I was making.

Cathy, I never said the questions weren't easy this year. In fact, this is the 3rd time I have stated that they were easy for the top 5 or so teams there. Maybe you think they were easier this year because there are more "better" teams than in the recent past? If so, then again, this does not detract from the set being a decent JV set. It simply means that for a handful of teams in the top classification in GA this year, these questions were easy. So what? No one has a crystal ball to predict if North Fulton is going to place 3 teams in the top 4 at JV State when these questions were written. Furthermore, I saw many more games on Saturday that had several bounce-back opportunities for both teams and even more games where all the points weren't converted than games where they were. Again, for a small number of teams the set was very easy, but for the majority it was not. In fact, for most of the JV teams in the state, including ALL classifications, I heard these questions were well-liked and appropriate. So, without becoming elitists and running 2 tournaments simultaneously; 1 for the "top" teams and 1 for the "other teams", I would call the set balanced between too easy and too hard. I agree that 100% conversion round after round is not ideal, but I personally did not see that on Saturday. Yes, it happened a few times for the top teams, but that does not necessarily indicate the questions were too easy. Maybe, like you intimated, a few JV teams are just that good? Just because the set was easy, that doesn't mean I thought my team knew more than Walton, Alpharetta, or Centennial. If we did, we should have beaten them, right? In other words, if the questions were too easy and didn't fairly determine the JV State winner, then we could say that the set was poor and needed changes. Personally, I don't believe this to be the case. I think, in spite of the ease of the questions at times, the best teams still emerged in correct order. Do you find fault with this logic?
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Captain Sinico »

It seems like you're saying two different things here:

The first is
elrountree wrote:Mike, the point I am making is that regardless of my personal thoughts about the difficulty of the questions, I would prefer to see most of the points scored in a game.
By which I understand you to say "all else equal, it's better to see questions answered." That seems to me a truism.

The second is
elrountree wrote:...I don't particularly care if it is on a buzzer race or because of their deep knowledge.
By which I understand you to say "questions being answered is paramount and in particular more important than that questions test appropriate knowledge or do so in a way that doesn't prioritize speed over knowledge. In fact, questions being answered is so important that I don't care whether questions test appropriate knowledge or do so in a way that doesn't prioritize speed over knowledge, so long as they're answered at a high rate." I'm hardly alone in not sharing your view on that matter.

My counter is: there are questions that will produce the kind of answer rates you're looking for but that test appropriate knowledge in a way that doesn't prioritize speed over knowledge. It seems to me that people are taking issue with the latter two issues, not with some pet peeve about the conversion rate being too high. So, your saying "I prefer a high conversion rate" is not a response to "These questions were too easy/had a ton of buzzer race points."
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that you can't really believe with what I understand you to be saying about the relative import of answer rates yourself. If you did, you could have no objection to trash, for example, which is often very likely to be gotten or makes questions easier to get, yet I know you said you do object to trash. So, I've misunderstood you, I've made a mistake in my reasoning, or your position isn't entirely consistent.

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

elrountree wrote: I like to see kids getting questions - I don't particularly care if it is on a buzzer race or because of their deep knowledge.
This statement marks a significant difference that I think is causing you, Mr. Rountree, to believe this set is acceptable while I believe it not to be. I don't think the state tournament should be determined on buzzer races. I think a set can be found that can test deep knowledge and have high conversion; I will again point to HAVOC as a good example of a set that was able to test deep knowledge while remaining confined to answers that JV players would know.
Again, for a small number of teams the set was very easy, but for the majority it was not. In fact, for most of the JV teams in the state, including ALL classifications, I heard these questions were well-liked and appropriate. So, without becoming elitists and running 2 tournaments simultaneously; 1 for the "top" teams and 1 for the "other teams", I would call the set balanced between too easy and too hard.
But my question is this: who is the state championship written for? It was my belief that a set used by the state championship would be able to determine between top teams. In my opinion, the multiple issues with this set precluded it from doing this.
In other words, if the questions were too easy and didn't fairly determine the JV State winner, then we could say that the set was poor and needed changes. Personally, I don't believe this to be the case. I think, in spite of the ease of the questions at times, the best teams still emerged in correct order. Do you find fault with this logic?
The problem is, I can't answer this question. The tournament on Saturday left me with more questions than answers about the best JV teams in Georgia. Are we better than Walton, who beat us by 120 in the prelims, because we beat them by 200 in the playoffs? The problem with this set is that I don't think it delineated among the top teams.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by quizbowler100 »

The majority of the posts on this thread state that these questions were far to easy to determine the JV state champion for Georgia. But honestly, leaving out the trash clues, how many of those tossups would have still gone unanswered? They were almost all very well written questions, and only a few towards the end had some trash clue. Sure the maybe not so great teams were able to get it off the trash clues, but that is not what matters. What matters are the playoff games in which the best teams play. They are sure to get it before the trash clue, and if by chance it is negged over to the other team they are very likely to know it without the trash. That does not, however, excuse the fact that there were some Tossups in which the answers themselves were trash, for example "The Lorax," which was in I believe the second game of the playoffs. Chattahoochee lost by 30 points to Centennial if I remember correctly, and may have therefore altered the game depending on who got it. And as William stated, Walton had a 200 point loss to Alpharetta so it wouldn't have changed much. So yes there were trash clues which did not quite make a huge difference, but the Trash Tossups had more substantial effects.

All in all, the set wasn't TERRIBLE as some put it. The set seemed to be JV knowledge to me for the most part. I would say the difficulty is actually comparable to HAVOC if the trash had been left out (which as I stated before only mattered in the prelims for novice teams to get it if negged over). I'm sure that most people had a great time, although I can't say the tournament management was spectacular (seeding, buzzer, etc..)

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by centralhs »

The question on "The Lorax" was actually in the first round of the playoffs not in the second round. My team lost to Chattahoochee by 50 points in that round in a game that we could have won until the last question. The problem with "The Lorax" isn't even so much that it is trash, but that it is "literature" that is not high school level. The final question of the game (the one on which Chattahoochee clinched the win) was about "Peter Pan" which the kid from Chattahoochee answered in just a few words. I honestly wasn't able to hear enough of the clue to determine if the student knew the answer based on familiarity of the book "Peter Pan" or from the Disney movie. And I'm not totally sure that a question about Peter Pan is necessarily the most challenging high-school level literature question that could have been asked during a playoff round when the best teams are playing. I'm not saying that these are exclusively the reasons that Chattahoochee won this game but our apparent lack of knowledge about Children's Literature didn't help our cause either.

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by jburnsOHS »

although I can't say the tournament management was spectacular (seeding, buzzer, etc..)
The debate over questions will never be resolved. I could use cliche after cliche: You can't please everybody. A good team is a good team no matter what the situation. It is what it is.

Fine. Provide a source of questions 100 % of players and coaches like. Otherwise, waste time and energy whining or shut up and move on.

The fact is, it was an experiment with a new question provider because plan A didn't come through. Just throwing out unfounded implications that tournament direction was poor in some unspecified way, however, is not appropriate. Seeding is seeding. The only "seeding" was for playoffs and was done according to GATA guidelines established for years. "Buzzer" ? What buzzer? GATA provides no buzzers. Teams bring buzzers. Tournament management was made awar of NO problems whatsoever with the management of the tournament.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by BuzzerZen »

jburnsOHS wrote:
although I can't say the tournament management was spectacular (seeding, buzzer, etc..)
The debate over questions will never be resolved. I could use cliche after cliche: You can't please everybody. A good team is a good team no matter what the situation. It is what it is.
It doesn't do to throw one's hands up when teams are displeased with questions and spout truisms. Given that you are the leader of the organization in question here, I would think that it would serve you better to listen to the criticisms being leveled against your event and evaluate whether it is possible to do a better job in the future with the resources you have available. However, even if you don't care what anybody has to say, this:
Fine. Provide a source of questions 100 % of players and coaches like. Otherwise, waste time and energy whining or shut up and move on.
is a violation of board rules. The boards exist for the discussion of quiz bowl, and accusing other posters who are making level-headed, well-intentioned criticisms of "whining" and telling them to "shut up" is not conducive to that discussion. Please do not continue to make posts in this vein, or you will be issued a tempban.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Matt Weiner »

jburnsOHS wrote:Fine. Provide a source of questions 100 % of players and coaches like. Otherwise, waste time and energy whining or shut up and move on.
I'm going to step in as board staff and countermand this. Discussion of the question quality is a productive thing that shouldn't just be dismissed, and of course no one is supposed to be telling people not to talk about quizbowl on this board.

Taking the staff hat off and just offering my opinion--the goal is good/fair questions, not necessarily questions everyone likes. For example, I'm sure there's people who want more trash; you would ignore that opinion, as well you should. If the questions are reducing to an early buzzer race every time the top teams in the tournament play, that's a problem, especially at a state championship where the results of those games are so important. Surely there is a way to avoid that problem without making the questions too hard for everyone else to play--one obvious way that comes to mind is to use slightly longer tossups on the very same answers. That way, two or three more clues can be given at the start of the tossup to give more talented teams a better and more precise chance to show their knowledge, but everyone else can still convert the questions later.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Rountree »

Mike, what I am saying is quite simple: converting most of the points round after round is better than not. It isn't anything more difficult than that. Of course this is a truism, but I am stating it to illustrate the point that simply because all or most of the points are scored by the top teams in a tournament round after round does not mean the set was too easy. Maybe those teams are just really good. The questions being academic and of pyramidal structure are very important issues to me and to GATA, which is why those kinds of questions have been used by our organization for a very long time. If we were talking about the tournament using 1 line tossups, with tons of trash clues, where every question came down to reflexes or speed, then I could see your argument, but since that is not the case and since you refuse to look at said questions, I am afraid I can move no further with this part of our discussion.

In response to your argument about speed over knowledge, it seems to me that those two qualities in quiz bowl are not, and never have been, mutually exclusive. In other words, you need to have deep knowledge and speed to be very successful at this game. I have witnessed in many matches over the years, on all kinds of questions from PACE to NAQT to HSAPQ, instances where at least 2 people ring in early on a question on an obscure/difficult clue, and the only reason one person gets it is because they have better speed, reflexes, and/or more fast-twitch muscles in their fingers, rather than simply because they had more knowledge. In fact, I would say those cases appear quite frequently. Thus, it is impossible to say something like this with 100% accuracy: "there are questions that will produce the kind of answer rates you're looking for but that test appropriate knowledge in a way that doesn't prioritize speed over knowledge." I saw on Saturday many cases of someone buzzing in the first sentence on a clue where no one else in the room had any idea what was going on - does that mean the question prioritized knowledge over speed to you? There were also cases where multiple people rang in at the same time on a clue, sometimes at the beginning, sometimes in the middle, and sometimes at the end of the question. Again, this variation in buzzing is not unusual in my experience with most kinds of questions.

William, I have already stated that this set was easy for several of the top 5A teams in attendance; however, I have also mentioned that this set was used in all classifications in the entire state. And, based on the discussions I have had with other coaches and based on the scores I have seen from other matches, this was not the easiest JV set ever. I hope this answers your question: "who is the state championship written for?"

Further, I do believe the top teams in each classification were delineated quite fairly. I am not sure I understand why you do not believe this to be so? On Saturday, Centennial went undefeated. Walton lost 1 game (to Alpharetta in the semifinals). Alpharetta lost 2 games (1 to Walton and 1 to Centennial in the Championship). Chattahoochee lost 3 games (1 to each of the 3 teams that finished ahead of us). In any kind of tournament system I have ever seen or heard about, the order would have been:
1. Centennial
2. Alpharetta
3. Walton
4. Chattahoochee
This is indeed what the final order was.

Cathy, The Lorax question was bad and inappropriate, but I think we have beaten that horse to death. As for the Peter Pan question, my player got the question off of knowing the first work that he appeared in. It was indeed the first clue, which is perhaps why you weren't able to hear enough to determine how he got it so fast. As for Children's Literature being asked at the JV level, I am completely opposed to the idea that it is inappropriate. First, 14-15 year olds are children. Second, many of them read books that come up quite frequently as JV questions: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Princess Bride (which is the first question in the HAVOC tournament you mentioned), The Prince and the Pauper (also in HAVOC), A Wrinkle in Time, etc.

Jeff, I don't remember hearing anyone complain on Saturday about the tournament organization or logistics, and I am unclear what "buzzer" means as well?

Matt, your suggestion of staggered-length tossups is excellent, and something that I will bring to the GATA board's attention.
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

elrountree wrote: Further, I do believe the top teams in each classification were delineated quite fairly. I am not sure I understand why you do not believe this to be so? On Saturday, Centennial went undefeated. Walton lost 1 game (to Alpharetta in the semifinals). Alpharetta lost 2 games (1 to Walton and 1 to Centennial in the Championship). Chattahoochee lost 3 games (1 to each of the 3 teams that finished ahead of us). In any kind of tournament system I have ever seen or heard about, the order would have been:
1. Centennial
2. Alpharetta
3. Walton
4. Chattahoochee
This is indeed what the final order was.
I'm not saying that the tournament structure didn't lead to a fairly delineated field (as much as I don't like single-elimination), I'm saying that the questions were such that they couldn't, with accuracy as befits a state championship, distinguish among top teams.

But I'd like to again say that, even disregarding the trash clues or whatnot that are serving to distract from real discussion of the set, this was not a well-written set. Some of the worst questions:
A tossup on hale that began Cheyenne receives the most of this, then went into talking about updrafts.
A bonus asking for Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthplace
A holocaust tossup that had "Greek for completely burnt" a little too near the beginning
A Helen Keller tossup whose first substantial clue was something about an Institute for the Blind
A tossup on enzymes that began "These globular proteins bind to substrates"
A tossup on pandas that began "This species is endangered and is used as the symbol for the International Wildlife Federation"
A bonus that made you do the roots of an unfactorable trinomial seemed stretching it in 15 seconds
A tossup on the constellation Cancer that gave a clue about biting someones toe in mythology (not terrible, but I think it took up one of the science spots in the packet)
That last tossup on Bohr was pretty much just his biography, and didn't do a great job distinguishing him from the other well-known Manhattan project scientists
The aforementioned Sahara tossup that began "It's bordered to the South by the Sahel"
A Boston Massacre tossup that began "Historians believe 5 people were killed in this event"
An Ellis Island tossup that began "Blank Blank was the first person processed at this facility" (I mean, how many processing facilities can be asked about)
A tossup on mitochondria that began "This is phylogenetically linked to bacteria because it has its own DNA" (This is not uniquely identifying; it can apply to chloroplasts as well)
A bonus that asked who was the only president nominated from a Southern plantation in 1848 and then asked who was the first president born west of the Mississippi
A tossup on nephrons that didn't prompt kidneys, despited using clues about what's inside the nephron, since anything inside a nephron is in a kidney.
Mindblowingly easy bonuses such as Gandhi/Pakistan

So, lest anyone claim the set was hindered by just a few issues, there are my complaints.
Fine. Provide a source of questions 100 % of players and coaches like. Otherwise, waste time and energy whining or shut up and move on.
Hearing this comment from GATA really makes me wonder whether the question quality will improve at their tournaments.
Just throwing out unfounded implications that tournament direction was poor in some unspecified way, however, is not appropriate.
If you want, I'll be specific: the fact that one team was able to get through the prelims playing the 7th and 8th teams, as well as teams that didn't make the playoffs, while other teams have to play both the 2nd and 3rd seed in the prelims, is not good tournament scheduling. With 12 teams and 5 prelims, why not do two brackets of 6?
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Captain Sinico »

Then we see, Coach Rountree, that questions being answered is one thing among many that's important to you (so important, I mean, that it's necessary for a good set.) That's fair enough and is true of anyone reasonable. Seemingly nobody, least of all me, has a problem with the rate at which the questions were answered and nobody is saying the questions ought to have been such that they couldn't be answered at that rate. What people who played the set are saying is that the questions were not academic enough for their liking and that their topics were too low-level. Now, we've seemingly agreed that one could write more academic questions on higher-level subjects that would be answered at the same rate. So, this answerability argument does not answer those objections: answerability and academic character/age-appropriateness are not causally related.
As for the rest of this, I think it's sufficiently obvious to anyone who cares to know what I think questions should be like. It's far from the case that I "refuse to look at [the] questions," it's only that my judgment of the set itself has no bearing on what I'm here saying (particularly since I little familiarity with the intended audience.)

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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by Captain Sinico »

jburnsOHS wrote:
although I can't say the tournament management was spectacular (seeding, buzzer, etc..)
The debate over questions will never be resolved. I could use cliche after cliche: You can't please everybody. A good team is a good team no matter what the situation. It is what it is.

Fine. Provide a source of questions 100 % of players and coaches like. Otherwise, waste time and energy whining or shut up and move on.

The fact is, it was an experiment with a new question provider because plan A didn't come through. Just throwing out unfounded implications that tournament direction was poor in some unspecified way, however, is not appropriate. Seeding is seeding. The only "seeding" was for playoffs and was done according to GATA guidelines established for years. "Buzzer" ? What buzzer? GATA provides no buzzers. Teams bring buzzers. Tournament management was made awar of NO problems whatsoever with the management of the tournament.
The debate over the debate over questions will never be resolved. I could use cliche after cliche: You can't convince everybody. A good argument is a good argument no matter what the situation. It is what it is.

Fine. Provide an argument that 100 % of debaters and readers find convincing. Otherwise, waste time and energy whining or shut up and move on.

MaS
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Re: Georgia 2008-2009

Post by centralhs »

Elliott -- I don't generally have a problem with an occasional Children's Literature question thrown in, but two in one round out of 15 questions (especially in the playoffs) seems like too much. Were any other literature questions asked in that round? I honestly can't remember. As for the comparison with HAVOC -- unlike the J.V. State tournament, the HAVOC tournament is not intended to be a purely academic tournament. Yes, the HAVOC tournament had questions on "The Prince and the Pauper" and "The Princess Bride" but the HAVOC tournament also has numerous straight-out trash questions such as one on the movie "Juno" and a three-part bonus about Reality TV shows. The HAVOC tournament was invoked as a model for the J.V. State tournament because of its difficulty level more than for its content.

Two thoughts for next year's state questions:
(1) Maybe some discussion needs to go into arriving at a clear definition of what constitutes true academic knowledge
(2) If we are to accept the premise that the questions need to be easy in the preliminary rounds to make them gettable by the poor to average teams, is there ANY reason that the playoff round questions can't be more difficult when only the above average to excellent teams should be playing by this point?

Jeff -- The tournament management was impeccable. The tournament was organized, ran in a timely fashion, all readers were professional and well-prepared, all scorekeepers and timers were professional and well-prepared. One buzzer system had to be taped together to make it work, but that certainly wasn't the fault of the people running the tournament. I, and the other coaches in Georgia, really appreciate the effort that went into planning this tournament and making sure that it ran as smoothly as it did. The only true problem with the tournament was with the questions, which I firmly believe were not challenging enough and more appropriate for a middle school state tournament. I believe that a vendor that can provide a more appropriate J.V. question set can be found as we have had more appropriate sets in the past.

Cathy Hirsch
Coach
Central Gwinnett H.S.
Last edited by centralhs on Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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