Illinois '08-'09

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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Charley Pride »

PAGE 12!!!!!!!

It's pretty clear based on even the most recent results that Illinois scholastic bowl is Chicagoland v. Auburn v. another entity (right now it's Carbondale). Sadly, there's not a whole lot of evidence to refute that. So the word 'inferior', while harsh and even disrespectful, may be the most appropriate.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Aub-ZH wrote:PAGE 12!!!!!!!

It's pretty clear based on even the most recent results that Illinois scholastic bowl is Chicagoland v. Auburn v. another entity (right now it's Carbondale). Sadly, there's not a whole lot of evidence to refute that. So the word 'inferior', while harsh and even disrespectful, may be the most appropriate.
Actually, I was just talking with Coach Greene, and she had a very good point. We have to look at the issue not as region versus region, but rather more of a "serious teams" versus "casual teams" issue. It just happens to be that most of the serious teams are in Chicago and the casual teams are elsewhere.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by BGSO »

Well then the question becomes how do we make casual or IMHO downright bad teams into serious ( or at least teams that aren't a joke). We constantly refer to ourselves as the people who know best for the rest of the state, but when are we gonna try something next. Apparently plan A, which was to try to introduce teams to good pyramid questions and mACF bonuses has not met with the success we expected so what next? I guess we just have to hope that there is a good showing at Turnabout and that teams start to recognize the validility of well written questions. I also really like Nick's idea of sending kids to ACE, as I still consider my first ACE camp an eye opening experience into how little Illinois was when compared to the rest of the country (or at least the midwest).

Now that Kickoff has ended in a mild failure IMO, I think that we need to come up with a new plan to help teams realize how bad, arrogant, and outright lazy some of them really are.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by vcuEvan »

BGSO wrote:Well then the question becomes how do we make casual or IMHO downright bad teams into serious ( or at least teams that aren't a joke).
This is something teams do on their own.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Charley Pride »

Right. They're our opponents, and while we want a more competitive atmosphere, why should we work to help them? It's competition, it's gonna be unequal, and some people are going be left behind. The issue is not to help people to get better, it's to get them to appreciate what is better and to respect it as what needs to be the norm, not the exception. Whether or not they want to improve is up to them.

And the casual/serious vs. Chicago/etc is a coincidence. Teams are not better because they are from Chicago, so I agree, Brad, that it's not fair to alienate regions. The point I'm trying to make is that the serious teams, not the casual teams, should be in control over policies, even if it means minority rule. Obviously this will never happen, because it's not necessarily fair, but I feel that's the best way to move Illinois scholastic bowl in the right direction.
Last edited by Charley Pride on Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by BGSO »

I agree with Zahed completely, in order to give ourselves more competition and therefore a better time, everyone else has to be on board with us.

Off-topic: If our coach neglected to get the questions from kick-off is there any way we can get them? And has anyone else ever noticed that there is no entry for "To Kill a Mockingbird" in their Benet's, I cant seem to find it, but I think I'm just crazy. Any help on either question?
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by dtaylor4 »

BGSO wrote:Off-topic: If our coach neglected to get the questions from kick-off is there any way we can get them? And has anyone else ever noticed that there is no entry for "To Kill a Mockingbird" in their Benet's, I cant seem to find it, but I think I'm just crazy. Any help on either question?
Get access to Magill OnLiterature. After doing so, your copy of Benet's will collect dust.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Aub-ZH wrote:Right. They're our opponents, and while we want a more competitive atmosphere, why should we work to help them? It's competition, it's gonna be unequal, and some people are going be left behind. The issue is not to help people to get better, it's to get them to appreciate what is better and to respect it as what needs to be the norm, not the exception. Whether or not they want to improve is up to them.
While I agree with this generally, at some point we're going to find teams that will need to improve before they'll respect good quizbowl. Some teams are already there - teams like Streator, whose coach is so hopelessly against questions longer than one line, questions on hard topics, the different bonus structure, and even on a personal level the people who are working for these changes. Improvement will need to come in play somewhere, and actions like ACE camp scholarships will do well for this.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Stephen Colbert »

styxman wrote:While I agree with this generally, at some point we're going to find teams that will need to improve before they'll respect good quizbowl. Some teams are already there - teams like Streator, whose coach is so hopelessly against questions longer than one line, questions on hard topics, the different bonus structure, and even on a personal level the people who are working for these changes. Improvement will need to come in play somewhere, and actions like ACE camp scholarships will do well for this.
As someone who has spent the last few years trying to introduce the middle school students of Streator to good quiz bowl (attending pyramidal tournaments, reading some of the better, but more accessible high school sets at practices, having students write questions on a weekly basis, etc.), this really makes me want to cry. But, it also speaks volumes as to why players from our area who had incredible success in middle school are fizzling out in high school. When a high school coach devotes his energy to best holding the buzzer to gain an advantage in a buzzer race, he misses out on a huge opportunity to deepen his players knowledge base so questions can be answered many lines/clues, not microseconds, earlier. But this also explains why he would be so reluctant to play on questions that are of a quality longer than one line. Successful programs must have an amalgam of students actively seeking out good quiz bowl and coaches willing to guide them to that level. While the number of students with this attitude may be on the rise, we need an army of new, inspired coaches to spread good quiz bowl like wildfire. As the case seems to be in Streator, one bad seed can squash the ambition of his team and the future success of his players.

As current players graduate and move onto the college circuit, I hope they’ll take time to occasionally help out with the scholastic bowl teams in their communities on all levels. I realize this is already occurring to some degree. Ultimately, if current coaches are unwilling to adapt to the changing nature of quiz bowl, we must be the agents of change. And, yes, it will likely be slower than desired and many may be reluctant to come along, but it will happen eventually. So, I would urge my fellow Illinoisans not to give up hope. The kickoffs exposed a huge number of teams for the first time to, what was to them, a radically different format. If just a handful of players were converted or intrigued, well, that’s a handful more than last weekend. And I think as pyramidality permeates the f/s and middle school levels, at whatever rate, the number of converts will continue to grow. Despite their small nature, these victories are not completely insignificant.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by mlaird »

First off, we thought it would be a good idea to let everyone see exactly what the questions for this year's Kickoffs looked like. We've went ahead and posted them on our website, free to access, so feel free to look them over for purposes of discussion, dissection or practice. You can find a PDF of them here.

Next,
BG MSL Champs wrote:Instead, give two ACE scholarships to the teams that win at Turnabouts.
I think this is a great idea, and when money allocation talks come up at an IHSSBCA meeting, I will be more than willing to suggest this idea. I never thought the IHSSBCA paying to send teams to Nationals was a particularly good idea, since it did nothing but widen the achievement gap.
BGSO wrote:I also just realized, where was the shakespeare? I don't remember there being more than one or two questions on it.
This was my error, as I wrote and edited the majority of the Literature. I actually realized it about 5 minutes after finishing all the lit, when I looked at a list of all the answers. Oops.
BGSO wrote:I guess we just have to hope that there is a good showing at Turnabout and that teams start to recognize the validility of well written questions.
Erm....
If i recall correctly, The Question Bank supplies questions for the Turnabouts. Good quizbowl is not really exemplified at them. Given the results of the Sterling Kickoff, I don't know if we wouldn't cause a riot by changing it to A-levels or something.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by mlaird »

This is a sort of personal manifesto. I opted to make it a separate post for reasons that follow. I wrote the base for this a while ago, after a discussion about our writing of last year's Masonic State Tournament, and have been wavering as whether or not to post it on the blog we keep over at Aegis, since it could be viewed as sort of inflammatory. So take the following as a personal opinion, and not that of Aegis itself. Here goes:

I'm well aware of the division between large schools and small schools. I've been hearing about it for the entirety of my involvement with Scholastic Bowl. This is especially problematic within the Illinois community, because of the fact that not only are small schools separated from large schools by size, they are also separated by geography.

Small schools are almost exclusively outside of the Chicagoland area. United through exclusion, there is usually a lot of complaining about questions being "too hard" and teams being "too competitive."

This is something that we've been trying to come to grips with in terms of how to appeal to everyone. This extends not only to my work with the company, but also with the IHSSBCA and National Organizations. What I think it boils down to is the fact that Scholastic Bowl is inherently an elitist activity. Playing a game to see who knows the most isn't going to get any less elite by making the questions shorter or easier. The fact remains that the team that is better prepared will still be better prepared.

When I hear about smaller schools not having as many opportunities or AP classes as larger schools do, I feel I am entitled to bring out the sports analogies. You know, I didn't have as much of an opportunity to bulk up as that football player did, and my legs aren't as fast, so we should probably make sure that the competition is a little more fair by shortening the field and making the ball a more manageable shape.

AP classes are usually used as the dipstick for Scholastic Bowl success. Just because a school has a lot of challenging AP classes is naturally going to translate to them being good at Scholastic Bowl. I hate to break it to those who believe this, but there is definitely more to Scholastic Bowl than curriculum. The vast majority of questions come from outside of topics that are covered in the normal school day, and the vast majority of things good players know are picked up outside of class. A culture and a coach that encourage learning are two of the more important elements that can lead to the sort of natural curiosity required of Quizbowl players.

Some TDs try to give teams that aren't as prepared "a chance." Some might put all the perennial favorites in one morning pool, others might use a non-traditional afternoon tournament bracket. I simply don't believe in kneecapping other teams in order to provide for weaker teams; it is against the spirit of competition.

The other really interesting thing about the coaches and players who complain about questions that are "too long" and "too hard" is that they really don't know what they want. I honestly don't know how many people actually stop to ask before going on the defensive, but I would reason that most of these coaches and players would say something like "shorter questions" and leave it at that. They don't have philosophies, they don't have the ability to Quizbowl meta-think. Most would just as soon have a buzzer shootout, since it levels the playing field for all teams, and doesn't really delineate between strong teams, therefore getting rid of the huge gap that knowledge differences have created.

Scholastic Bowl will always be an elitist activity. There simply is no way to make it so that answering questions about erudite topics that are sometimes outside of the typical high school curriculum is not elitist. Schools that are unable to cope with this should probably check out Academic Decathalon and Know Your Heritage, where all the answers are given prior to the competition.
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Post by David Riley »

I agree that positive change will be a long time coming. If you trace the "new coaches" section of Scholastic Visions (the IHSSBCA newsletter), you will find that many schools have no longevity with their quiz bowl coaches; some are appointed every year!

Many coaches simply don't want to embrace good quiz bowl, and they are happy with the old one-liner, buzzer beater questions. And that's just fine.....until.......just as they accuse us of doing, they try to officially foist that upon those of us who want good quiz bowl. For example, even though they have gotten better, I would love to see different questions for Class AA and Class A at the IHSA State Series and Masonic. This has been raised in the past, and the initial issue has not been extra expense (as Tegan claims), but an attitude of "why should we?" which is ironic when Class AA point spreads arwe virtually always larger than Class A, and insist on including driver's ed and home ec (or excuse me, it's "domestic sciences" now. puh-leez), much less computational math.

Let's call a spade a spade: Illinois schools as a whole are mediocre at best. There is no acdemic rigor. What is considered part and parcel of a strong curriculum does not exist in many places, and where it does, these schools are automatically branded as elitist. Quiz bowl is by its nature an elitist activity. So is football--would you expect the football coach to starft his weakest freshman in the big homecoming game?

Maybe Rockford, Bloomington, Carbondale and the Chicago area should secede from Illinois? Wishful thinkiing perhaps but not practical. For that matter, WHY DID ONLY TWELVE SCHOOLS ATTEND THE CARBONDALE KICKOFF??

And there ARE Turnabout tournaments in the rest of the state.

And we plan for our Davey and Goliath frosh/soph to be a quality quiz bowl tournament. I just wish we had the moderators to allow more teams into the tournament.
Last edited by David Riley on Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by BGSO »

Riley's talking about secession again, uh oh.


But on a more serious note, don't the elite teams already "secede" they constantly attend upper tier tournaments like earlybird, northwestern, PACE, and HSNCT. Not to mention the structure of tournaments in the better you are the longer you stay playing.
Last edited by BGSO on Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by David Riley »

Another issue that needs resolution over time:

Along with the above comment of serious vs. casual teams, I would rather see 50 serious teams tnan 500 casual teams. Unfortunately, the IHSA doesn't agree, and I'm not sure everyone in the IHSSBCA does either.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by David Riley »

We Southerners are always talking secession, we haven't gotten over "The Late Unpleasantness". :grin:

But M. Garb is right. Especially when you consider that my team is attending tournaments all but holiday weekends, and well within the 18-date rule, but only Kickoff, Harvard Mirror, and New Trier will "count" toward our seeding for the State Tournament (we are also independent and not n a league). Fortunately, we're in a fairy enlightened Sectional, but I well remember one seeding meeting where a coach said "We didn't seed New Trier because we've never seen them play".....
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

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BGSO wrote:Well then the question becomes how do we make casual or IMHO downright bad teams into serious ( or at least teams that aren't a joke).
There's an old saying about horses, but you already know it. The point being: we don't do this; all we can do is avail teams of the information they need to step up and they either put in the work to do so (to their own satisfaction,) or keep losing until they fail (and we'll hope their successors have a better attitude.)
Let's consider it this way: I'm not trying to brag, but for the past several years, I've been running or helping at a high level to run a highly successful team in a much more competitive environment than anywhere in high school; with a lower level of resources and official support than any high school team will ever have to bear, bar none; and in a competitive structure that requires more resources (e.g. 3 hours is our shortest one-way drive to any tournament, the entry fees for which cost twice as much as high school tournaments, etc.) than any high school circuit, bar none. Consequently, I am highly confident that I can tell anyone basically every single thing one needs to know about building and running a good, competitive team. However, I am not in the least confident that my telling someone those things will lead to their actually founding or running such a team because, frankly, it takes a lot more work than most are willing to put in (though not so much that every school shouldn't have perhaps one such faculty member.) What exacerbates the fact that the character required is rare is the fact that, in my experience, if someone is used to a system in which one doesn't have to work hard to succeed (like Illinois SchoBowl was for many years and still largely is in many places,) their prospects for success in real quizbowl are by-and-large forever ruined - many such such people would rather spend hour upon hour militating to get their fake quizbowl back than spend even a minute putting in work to get good at the real deal. I have no use for such people; I think they are an immense net negative for the game and should all retire if they can't change their attitude.
So, I continue to assert that the right thing to do is to replace all of the fake questions with real ones until the shills of the old system either adapt or go the way of the dinosaur.

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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by gack1224 »

Casual quizbowl doesn't necessary have to go extinct, it just doesn't have to interact with serious teams or force serious teams to deal with poor questions. The best position for serious schools to take is probably to promote good quiz bowl among the more casual teams and have some of the better casual teams, as suggested earlier, join the serious teams by attending ACE and going to better tournaments.

The separation does not necessarily mean the imperative extinction of either type of quiz bowl.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Auroni »

I'll make the argument that there's no conflict between playing quizbowl casually and becoming better players by learning. Maybe it's just the environment that I've played in for the last year or so, but every group of quizbowl players I've been with has been learning in a non-uptight environment. We all chill out and kick back while playing it, and even when we internalize new pieces of information we don't compromise the relaxed atmosphere permeating the rooms we're involved in.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I dunno, it seems like casual teams can quite easily exist in good quizbowl as long as they clearly understand that the fact they are casual is why they aren't doing well. I don't see any reason to cater to these casual teams beyond that since they shouldn't be rewarded for not taking it seriously. I mean, there's a reason in every activity the teams that take it seriously always dominate the teams that don't, and I see this as no exception.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

I believe Charlie's said all that needs to be said on the subject.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Shaky internet, so i'm quick - here's Sterling stats:

Prelims:
http://results.scobo.net/SQBS.aspx?org= ... =standings

Playoffs:
http://results.scobo.net/SQBS.aspx?org= ... =standings
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by JackGlerum »

Dear god.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by leapfrog314 »

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I dunno, it seems like casual teams can quite easily exist in good quizbowl as long as they clearly understand that the fact they are casual is why they aren't doing well.
This. However, the teams in question seem to think that it's actually a bad thing that quizbowl is favoring knowledgeable teams over less knowledgeable ones, and that the questions are on such academic and difficult topics as...I don't know, Avogadro's number?

So, IHSSBCA powers that be: what do you think about the suggestion to fund trips to ACE rather than national tournaments? What about ACE versus Team Illinois?
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

Wow - congrats to Bettendorf on their field-leading 14.5ish PPB.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Don't the bonuses rebound, thus making it impossible for SQBS to accurately calculate it?
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by BGSO »

I think I stared at those stats with my jaw hanging open for a good five minutes, 5-0 with a earth shattering 12.3 PPB?

I'm starting to think we went to the wrong tournament :wink:


Charlie, if you check the key, I believe the last stat category addresses that topic.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by BGSO »

To carlo, laird, or whoever edited the set. I forgot to mention I was king of surprised with the amount of repeats, one especially obvious one can be seen in round two in bonus 17 and toss-up 20. It didn't really effect us because we saw neither of those questions, but still...

David
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Trevkeeper »

BGSO wrote:To carlo, laird, or whoever edited the set. I forgot to mention I was king of surprised with the amount of repeats, one especially obvious one can be seen in round two in bonus 17 and toss-up 20. It didn't really effect us because we saw neither of those questions, but still...

David
Yeah...yeah.

At the risk of sounding like a jerk, though, that's technically not a repeat, just very poor answer selection. None of the clues are the same in either question.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by the return of AHAN »

I really enjoyed the sets and please don't take this as an attack but, I have an issue with the following question;
set 1 TU#18 Geometry
Given a house that is 8 feet tall, and a ladder place at a 30 degree angle 5 ft away such that the ladder exactly touches the roof of the house. How long is the ladder?
ANSWER: root 89 ft

The answer is valid by Pythagorean Theorem (8^2 + 5^2 = 89), but my issue is the mentioning of a 30 degree angle. By the 30-60-90 pattern taught in geometry classes, the leg opposite the 60 degree angle and the leg opposite the 30 degree angle would be in a ratio of root 3 to 1. 8 and 5 don't quite adhere to that, so you should have some cognitive disonance as a fundametally sound math player. Therefore, I could totally see where kids may have been buzzing in with 10 feet, assuming they need to be following the 30-60-90 pattern. Was this a problem at tournament games?
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

I don't know if it screwed any of the kids up, but yes, the inclusion of all three givens (30 degree angle, 8 ft, 5 ft) makes the problem impossible. If 30 degrees is not listed, the answer is root 89. If 8 is not listed, the answer is 10, but the house is 5rt3 (about 8.66) ft tall. If 5 is not listed, the answer is 16rt3/3 (about 9.24) ft, but the ladder is 8rt3/3 (about 4.62) ft away from the house.

Anyone that answered 10 had grounds to protest, as their answer was as correct as the given answer, but that question should've been thrown out.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Maxwell Sniffingwell »

Trevkeeper wrote:At the risk of sounding like a jerk, though, that's technically not a repeat, just very poor answer selection. None of the clues are the same in either question.
The roll is mentioned in both.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by leapfrog314 »

Woody Paige wrote:(a triangle that does not exist)
Yeah, I was in charge of editing math and science, and I only ended up checking about 2/3 of the math that I didn't write. I didn't look carefully at that tossup when I included it in the set. Hopefully that wasn't too much of a problem.

Besides a few repeats and math errors, what did people (besides the teams at Sterling) actually think of the set? (Remember that mistakes stand out disproportionately; if you hear two repeats you'll remember the tournament as full of repeats.)

We aimed for fairly basic answer selection, pyramidal (but not overly long) tossups with reasonably difficult leadins but easy giveaways. For the bonuses, we tried to write a good number of bonuses which showed off the benefits of the mACF format, but we also had a lot of IHSA-ish bonuses so people wouldn't be too thrown off. In my opinion, this is the best way to write a tournament for teams across the state at all levels, even though clearly it isn't quite working.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by David Riley »

Overall,I liked the questions, but given recent discussion, perhaps the ideal (but far from practical) solution would be to write a "casual" kickoff set and a "serious" kickoff set. However it's done, I think the rift is here and we need to address it somehow. But that belongs to another discussion. Given that you had to write for the state at all levels, I thought the questions were pretty good.

Specifically, I did notice a wider variety of math questions this year, and I thought the distribution of topics and subtopics was good as well, though I (personally) would have liked to see more world history, equal to American history. I loved the last bonus re unconstitutional behavior; which of you wrote that? And the Ig-nobel bonus part brought down the house.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by MLaudermith »

Both of those bonuses were mine, David. Glad you liked them.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

David Riley wrote:Overall,I liked the questions, but given recent discussion, perhaps the ideal (but far from practical) solution would be to write a "casual" kickoff set and a "serious" kickoff set. However it's done, I think the rift is here and we need to address it somehow. But that belongs to another discussion. Given that you had to write for the state at all levels, I thought the questions were pretty good.

Specifically, I did notice a wider variety of math questions this year, and I thought the distribution of topics and subtopics was good as well, though I (personally) would have liked to see more world history, equal to American history. I loved the last bonus re unconstitutional behavior; which of you wrote that? And the Ig-nobel bonus part brought down the house.
I've been thinking about segregation between serious and casual, and all I can think of is - What happens to a kid who plays on a historically casual team who has the interest and abilities to lead a serious team, but is unaware that such opportunities exist? If we allow the serious vs. casual debate to devolve into segregation, I see the casual teams completely ignoring all of the serious venues until IHSA Regionals -- that is, assuming the serious teams still hold enough clout to keep State Series serious. Kickoff needs to extend the message of serious, good quizbowl to all teams involved in the activity so that people know that it's there; a "casual" set for the Sterling Kickoff site would undeniably be one-liners because that's actually what Cheryl wants, and that does no one any favors.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by David Riley »

Brad, I see your point. You're right, it doesn't do anyone any favors, esp. the serious person on a traditiionally casual team. But how do we promote good quiz bowl? We did ACF-style bonuses and appaerently (at least, the word on the street) is that most people didn't like them (at Sterling, what about the Carbondale and PORTA Kickoofs?), we're still fighting for pyramidal questions, which should favor the students with deeper knowledge; maybe I'm just impatient for things to change too quickly. And maybe it isn't a regional thing. however, most of us who favor change tend to come from fairly large metropolitan (Chicago, Rockford) or collegecentric (is that a word?) areas (e.g.Bloomington, Carbondale). Is that at all signficiant?
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

most of us who favor change tend to come from fairly large metropolitan (Chicago, Rockford) or collegecentric (is that a word?) areas (e.g.Bloomington, Carbondale). Is that at all signficiant?
Perhaps its mostly a musical phenomenon, since Rockford is home to Cheap Trick, Chicago produced R. Kelly, Lupe Fiasco, and many others, and Carbondale is home to such luminaries as the Pop It Off Boyz (of Crank Dat Batman fame).
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

David Riley wrote:Brad, I see your point. You're right, it doesn't do anyone any favors, esp. the serious person on a traditiionally casual team. But how do we promote good quiz bowl? We did ACF-style bonuses and appaerently (at least, the word on the street) is that most people didn't like them (at Sterling, what about the Carbondale and PORTA Kickoofs?), we're still fighting for pyramidal questions, which should favor the students with deeper knowledge; maybe I'm just impatient for things to change too quickly. And maybe it isn't a regional thing. however, most of us who favor change tend to come from fairly large metropolitan (Chicago, Rockford) or collegecentric (is that a word?) areas (e.g.Bloomington, Carbondale). Is that at all signficiant?
I think it got lost in my "mother of god, the teams at Sterling couldn't rub two tossups together" post, but the ACF bonus format wasn't really the focus of what people at Sterling didn't like. They may very well have hated it, I don't know -- I didn't hear anything about it because the coaches who talked to me couldn't stop talking about the questions to get to the bonus format. I think we'll be able to keep using ACF format bonuses at Kickoff for now because, if for no other reason, they're not paying attention to that. :grin:

We're fighting for pyramidal questions, and the teams at Sterling seem to have the concept of why we want that -- they seem to think, however, that no one knows any of the early clues except the New Triers/Auburns/Loyolas**, and so there's no point putting them in the questions at Sterling - it just wastes time and "kills moderators."

So how do we convince casual teams that early clues are worthwhile? There's the "academic interest" argument, that you can learn from the early clues, both from a studying-for-quizbowl standpoint and a hey-that-sounds-cool standpoint. What else do we have?
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by mlaird »

David Riley wrote: We did ACF-style bonuses and apparently (at least, the word on the street) is that most people didn't like them (at Sterling, what about the Carbondale and PORTA Kickoofs?)...
It sounded to me like people at Sterling were ambivalent about the bonus format, and that they cared more about pyramidal questions than anything else. I think the bonus change won't be nearly as hard of a change for them to cope with, since a bonus is still a bonus. To them, pyramidals are changing the fundamental base of a tossup.

Re: splitting the Kickoff up:
Here's how I look at this. The Kickoff is an IHSSBCA production. All of the teams at each site are supposed to have a coach who is a member. One of the IHSSBCA's purposes is: "improving the quality of competition with integrity and the highest possible standards..." These coaches should have it explained to them that if they don't like what is happening, then they should come up with a reasonable solution, not "Waaaaaaaah! Questions are too long!", and pitch said idea to the IHSSBCA. It takes an email. If teams don't like what the IHSSBCA is doing, then they can join an organization with different purposes listed. The IHSSBCA is obligated to continue using pyramidal questions unless there is some other way to "improve the quality of competition".
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

mlaird wrote:Re: splitting the Kickoff up:
Here's how I look at this. The Kickoff is an IHSSBCA production. All of the teams at each site are supposed to have a coach who is a member. One of the IHSSBCA's purposes is: "improving the quality of competition with integrity and the highest possible standards..." These coaches should have it explained to them that if they don't like what is happening, then they should come up with a reasonable solution, not "Waaaaaaaah! Questions are too long!", and pitch said idea to the IHSSBCA. It takes an email. If teams don't like what the IHSSBCA is doing, then they can join an organization with different purposes listed. The IHSSBCA is obligated to continue using pyramidal questions unless there is some other way to "improve the quality of competition".
You know....this. This is good.
In a sense, we have to accommodate for the casual teams, but in another sense, no, we really don't. This view of the IHSSBCA is rather good for this debate. If a casual team wants to know why the IHSSBCA and good quizbowl is right, I would gladly join them in a discussion on the merits of good quizbowl versus the negatives of one-liners and Illinois format bonuses, and I don't know anyone on this board who wouldn't. Teams that don't want to find out and just not be part of it...man, maybe they just should.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Awehrman »

This seems like a prime opportunity to unveil this announcement (I will be posting it to the main page and sending it to teams shortly). Thanks to Jeff Price for his help and encouragement in getting this thing off the ground.

Dear Scholastic Bowl Coach,

Northwestern University cordially invites you to its middle school scholastic bowl tournament: Junior Wildcat 2009 to be held on our Evanston, Illinois, campus February 21, 2009.

The tournament will be hosted and sponsored by the Northwestern University Quizbowl Team. The questions will be written by me, a PhD student in history and the advisor to Northwestern Quizbowl. Northwestern has hosted several high school and college tournaments over the past few years, and I have written or helped write questions for several high school tournaments in Missouri and Arkansas, but this will be our first middle school tournament. Each match will consist of 20 toss-up (individual) questions and 20 bonus (team) questions. The toss-up questions will be written in "pyramid" style where questions contain multiple clues moving from difficult to easy. This style of question helps differentiate teams and rewards more knowledgeable ones rather than relying solely on buzzer speed. This style has been adopted by Illinois's high school association, so it will be great preparation for those players who will play at the next level. To illustrate this, here is a sample question similar to what you are likely to hear at our tournament:
As a teenager he and his brother Lawrence took a trip to Barbados in 1751 during which he caught smallpox. After Lawrence died he inherited his estate at Mount Vernon. Who is this man who would later win the battles of Princeton and Trenton and become the first president of the United States?

Answer: George Washington
Every effort will be made to keep the questions short (with questions averaging about 3 lines) dense with information, accessible to middle school players, and interesting to players and coaches alike. In this example, a student may not know that Washington and his brother Lawrence (the "Uncle of Our Country" ;)) went to Barbados and caught smallpox there, but they might know about Washington's home, Mount Vernon. Others may buzz in after the mention of the battles of Princeton and Trenton, and most teams should have the answer by the end. It is our hope that our tournament will foster not only a greater interest in scholastic bowl, but more importantly encourage life-long learning and curiosity about the world.

Each school will be allowed to enter two teams (each team must be accompanied by an adult), on a first come first serve basis and any additional teams from a school will be placed on a waiting list. We may have to cap the field depending on the number of interested teams, so please reply quickly to register your interest and reserve your place. Each school will be guaranteed at least four games depending on the size of the field. The top eight or sixteen teams from preliminary pool play will advance to single-elimination playoffs to determine the champions, as well as 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place teams. Teams should arrive no later than 8:30 am. The final tournament games should conclude by 4:00 pm.

To register please send me an email (wehrman @ northwestern.edu) including your name, school, number of teams, number of buzzers you can bring, a phone number, and a confirmation e-mail address. The base fee for the tournament is 60 dollars. A second team from the same school is 50 dollars. We will subtract 5 dollars for each working buzzer system provided (max 2) and an additional 5 dollars for registering before January 23. After I receive your school's entry and as the tournament approaches, I will send you area maps and directions, tournament schedules, and other useful information.

I have chosen to send out invitations electronically to keep down on costs and paper. If you require a paper invitation or invoice, please send me your mailing address. Checks should be made out to "Northwestern University Quizbowl". While we prefer that you bring them to the tournament and hand them in at registration, if this is not possible, you can mail the check to:

Andrew Wehrman
Northwestern University
1881 Sheridan Rd., 202 Harris Hall
Department of History
Evanston, IL 60208

If you have specific questions about the tournament, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail at
wehrman @ northwestern.edu. We look forward to seeing you on February 21!

Sincerely,
Andy Wehrman

Tournament Director and Advisor, Northwestern Quizbowl
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Stained Diviner »

Good luck, Andy. It is good to see that getting off the ground.

Getting back to the Kickoff discussion, there are a few issues at play. For one thing, a lot of teams wait until Fall Sports are over to get off the ground, so there probably were a number of teams that went to the tournament without playing any prior matches and possibly not even having practiced yet. Some teams may still be shorthanded due to Fall Sports that are still going.

A more important point is that writing questions for casual teams can mean a lot of different things. Take the second question from the tournament (which I am unable to copy and past here due to the nefarious workings of Carlo). Here are some ways you could make it more suited to casual teams:
1) You could add a sentence with a little rewriting basically saying that he also wrote A Streetcar Named Desire.
2) You could eliminate the first half of the question and add a few clues related to Streetcar including its title.
3) You could shorten the question so that it reads in its entirety "Who wrote The Glass Menagerie?"
4) You could add a sentence with a little rewriting basically saying that his first name was Tennessee.
5) You could just ask less literature and more language arts.
6) You could decide that Tennessee Williams is too tough for this tossup answer space and change it to a question on Mark Twain. According to WikiAnswers, Williams is not one of the ten greatest American writers. (This is a serious point even though I am fully aware that I am using a horrible source. In fact, this may be the strongest option I am offering up here.)
7) You could focus less on serious literature and write more questions on Seuss, Crichton, et al.

My point is that when you talk about writing questions for casual teams, there are good ways and bad ways to do it. One of the problems is that a lot of teams are used to questions that don't try very hard to differentiate knowledge and are not focused on academic material, since those are the types of questions that are still used at a majority of Illinois tournaments and in a majority of Illinois conferences (even though it is becoming easier and easier for good teams to avoid those questions). Such teams will need very easy academic questions, since they do not have experience with the same content. A post above claims that everybody should know Kafka and Hardy, but the vast majority of the American population does not know anything about Kafka or Hardy. Furthermore, there are a lot of question writers who avoid serious literature such as Kafka and Hardy, which means that there are a lot of teams that have not heard questions on those writers.

I could make similar comments on questions in areas of fine arts (where you can ask about instruments and key signatures instead of composers) and other areas. Aegis did a good job with the questions, but this is what a statewide competition like Kickoffs is up against.

This is a long-term problem, and the solutions will be long-term. Things are now one hundred times better than they used to be fifteen years ago, and we should hope that fifteen years from now it will be one hundred times better again.
David Reinstein
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by JackGlerum »

David Riley wrote:I did notice a wider variety of math questions
If you call finding the determinant of a matrix and the volume of a cone a wide variety, then yes, indeed there was.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society »

styxman wrote: I've been thinking about segregation between serious and casual, and all I can think of is - What happens to a kid who plays on a historically casual team who has the interest and abilities to lead a serious team, but is unaware that such opportunities exist? If we allow the serious vs. casual debate to devolve into segregation, I see the casual teams completely ignoring all of the serious venues until IHSA Regionals -- that is, assuming the serious teams still hold enough clout to keep State Series serious. Kickoff needs to extend the message of serious, good quizbowl to all teams involved in the activity so that people know that it's there; a "casual" set for the Sterling Kickoff site would undeniably be one-liners because that's actually what Cheryl wants, and that does no one any favors.
One solution to this would be my previously proposed ACE scholarship idea. Your hypothetical situation deals with a talented kid who does not play on a serious team and thus is not aware of good questions. If you give ACE scholarships to the winners of Turnabouts, this casual team (and thus the talented kid) will get an ACE scholarship. This will lead the kid to reals that "such opportunities exist" and his team is (hopefully) not casual anymore. This is a much better way to spend IHSSBCA money and encourage the spread of good quizbowl.

I know that ACE played a role in turning BG from an average program into a good program. I recall vividly the day that our Captain told us "You may be better than Fremd now, but they will pass you by the time you get on varsity." At the end of my Sophomore Year, it looked like this prophecy would come true. Varsity was having one practice each week, for one hour on Avery Questions. That was when Danny Bulmash and David Garb went to ACE camp. They developed the tools they needed to win and actually got our team practicing on good questions. They set the tone for practices and our whole team attitude. David had gone from getting half as many tossups as me to getting twice as many. Last year, we went 3-1 against Fremd, with wins over them in our Conference championship and at Sectionals. This past summer, we sent three people to ACE (David and I included). This past weekend we went 6-1, beating Fremd and keeping it somewhat close against Loyola. Today, I got the first sign that our coach is starting to take this seriously. He promoted a girl from Frosh-Soph to help correct our issues with Science (which is a monumental step forward for a man considers 2:00 P.M. late for a tournament to run).

If I have one regret about my Scholatic Bowl career, it would be not discovering ACE sooner. Having seen the progress Danny and David made, I believe that we probably would have been a top three team in state last year if we had started going to ACE sooner. This dramatic transition could happen to any team with intelligent people (or as I prove, unintelligent people). If a team wins Turnabouts, it shows that they have intelligent people. Hopefully those numbers at Sterling should be a wakeup call: THERE IS NO POINT IN TAKING MONEY TO REWARD THE ELITE. WE MUST HELP THE GOOD DEVELOP TO BECOME ELITE. Only then will see the amount of serious teams go up and the quality of play around the state improve.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by JackGlerum »

BG MSL Champs wrote:THERE IS NO POINT IN TAKING MONEY TO REWARD THE ELITE. WE MUST HELP THE GOOD DEVELOP TO BECOME ELITE.
OBAMA

edit: I actually think the ACE thing is a good idea. That and disassociating with the NTAE.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society »

JackGlerum wrote:
BG MSL Champs wrote:THERE IS NO POINT IN TAKING MONEY TO REWARD THE ELITE. WE MUST HELP THE GOOD DEVELOP TO BECOME ELITE.
OBAMA
No, Obama does not want the good developing to become elite. He wants to change the rules so the good can become elite without working.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Matt Weiner »

Any solution that involves sending people to a camp or otherwise assuming they're already interested in improving is missing the point. What you need to do is convince teams (coaches) that the point of this activity is in fact to learn factual things about academic material, rather than to make a box light up because you can do math problems or solve riddles based on what you already learned in class. If you actually had 200 teams clamoring to go to ACE camp or nationals or whatever, then you would have nothing further to do. Communicating what the actual purpose of high school quizbowl is, and making sure people who understand it are the ones in charge of it at all levels, is the goal to keep in mind.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Charley Pride »

1. Am I dumb for not knowing what Turnabouts are?

2. What it sounds like is a tournament with average to good teams, and we're trying to get kids from there to go to camp. I'd probably recommend making the scholarships available to some sort of all-tournament team, and only for underclassmen.

3. I still fear the risk of the scholarships going to waste--what if the kid goes to camp and doesn't take it seriously? What if he does take it seriously, improves, but his team still isn't ready to move forward? Then we have a case of a kid trapped in a system. Somehow, cautions need to be taken to maximize the value of these theoretical scholarships. And while I agree that the scholarships would make it an easier decision to go to camp, what if that's not the reason people don't go? I'm pretty sure it's important to first spread the word about camp, and even circulate some very serious surveys basically asking how much people know about camp, whether or not they would go if they could, and why haven't they gone in the past. For the sake of IHSSBCA, I would want these scholarships to go only to the most promising students from lower rated programs who would gain the most and benefit their teams the most towards a better scholastic bowl environment.
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by the return of AHAN »

Aub-ZH wrote:1. Am I dumb for not knowing what Turnabouts are?
NO! It means you're an Auburn player! :grin: Turnabouts are only for teams that have not won any tournaments in the past few years (Reinstein and Riley can surely give even better specifics), and winning tournaments has NOT been a problem for Auburn for some time now. I'd love to push our BHS varsity coach to go to one, but they always conflict with the MSL pres-season tournament.
:sad:

And let's hear it for Northwestern and a middle school pyramidal tournament!! :party: :party: :party:
Over/Under on number of teams? Anyone? Anyone?

And finally, who gets to turn the page to lucky 13 shortly???
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Re: Illinois '08-'09

Post by Charley Pride »

That's a pretty cool concept I guess. It gives the teams that get overshadowed at a lot of other tournaments a chance to play for some hardware...I like.

And I think Auburn should start directly influencing what tourneys out feeder school goes to...

The stage is set...
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