IHSA regional assignments

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IHSA regional assignments

Post by BGSO » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:00 pm

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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by the return of AHAN » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:01 pm

OK. Who can tell me anything about Warren? I've not heard anything about them, despite their seed.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:53 pm

Woody Paige wrote:OK. Who can tell me anything about Warren? I've not heard anything about them, despite their seed.
All I know about them is that they had only played 10 games, probably all conference games. They went 8-2 in those games, which is not bad considering that Stevenson and LZ are in their conference. The seeds were basically identical to whatever algorithm the IHSA used. I sort of think that you guys got screwed by not being seeded as did LZ. It is frustrating for the 2-seed in the sectional to get stuck with four other top 12 teams, and I think that our regional is certainly the deepest in the state, if not the best. Hopefully this tough regional will be good preparation for whatever team makes it to sectionals.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by the return of AHAN » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:07 am

And I'd have to assume they lost to Stevenson, but beat LZ, then, right? BHS probably got what we earned as our varsity only ventured out of conference play at the Fremd varsity tourney. There are just not enough committed players at the varsity level to really form a solid nucleus of upperclassmen. I don't think our best varsity line-up wins your regional, as it's too weak in literature, but I'd like to see how competitive we are on 3/10 if we roll out our best 5 all at once, which will be the first time all year that all 5 have been in the same room, and that's not me being hyperbolic.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:05 am

Here is the information you want, though I'm not sure how much it helps. I have no idea what questions they used, how long the rounds were, or why so many of the scores are so close.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by the return of AHAN » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:34 am

Shcool wrote:Here is the information you want, though I'm not sure how much it helps. I have no idea what questions they used, how long the rounds were, or why so many of the scores are so close.
It helps to see they are 15-3 in conference, and 11-0 vs. the teams below .500 (combined records 30-96). Given BHS doesn't fall in that latter category (15-9), I suddenly feel like we've got a fair chance to pull an upset up against the 6 seed.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:31 pm

Regionals results are in:

Location — Winner
Class AA
Bradley-Bourbonnais — Bradley-Bourbonnais over Joliet Township
Breese Mater Dei — Belleville West over Highland
Buffalo Grove — Buffalo Grove over Gurnee Warren
Carbondale — Carbondale over O'Fallon
Cary-Grove — Cary-Grove over Woodstock Marion
Charleston — Charleston over Salem
Chatham Glenwood — Chatham Glenwood over Belleville Althoff
Dunlap — Peoria Richwoods over Dunlap
Fenwick — Oak Park-River Forest over Fenwick
Frankfort Lincoln-Way North — Homewood Flossmoor
Hinsdale Central — Hinsdale Central over Bolingbrook
Hinsdale South — Hinsdale South over Orland Park Sandburg
IMSA — IMSA over Geneva
LaGrange Lyons — LaGrange Lyons over Oak Lawn Community
Loyola — Loyola over Hoffman Estates
Mahomet Seymour — Mahomet Seymour over either Morris or Danville (iiam)
Maine South — Maine South over St. Ignatius
Marist — Marist over Oak Forest
Moline — Moline over Quincy Senior
Mundelein Carmel — Fremd over Mundelein Carmel
Naperville Central — Naperville Central over Downers Grove South
Naperville North — Naperville North over St. Charles East
New Trier — New Trier over Schamburg
Rockbord Boylan — Rockton Hononegah over Rockford Boylan
Rockford Auburn — Rockford Auburn over Guilford
Springfield — Springfield over Bloomington
St. Viator — Deerfield over St. Viator
Sterling — Sterling over Sandwich
Stevenson — Stevenson over Mundelein
Streator — LaSalle Peru over Streator
Washington — Washington over Morton
Wheaton Warrenville South — Wheaton Warrenville South over Wheaton North


Class A
Albion, Edwards County — Fairfield over Albion, Edwards County
Altamont — Altamont over Strasburg Stewardson
Alton Marquette — Alton Marquette over Gillespie
Armstrong — St. Joseph Ogden over Tuscola
Bloomington Central Catholic — Bloomington Central Catholic over Roanoke Benson
Byron — Byron over Amboy
Carterville — Carterville over Nashville
Dwight — Dwight over Cissna Park
Effingham St. Anthony — Paris over Toledo Cumberland
Farina South Central — Farina South Central over Greenville
Farmington — Farmington over Chillecothe
Forreston — Morrison over Forreston
Fulton — Rock Falls over Sterling Newman Central Catholic
Kewanee Wethersfield — Kewanee Wethersfield over Sherrard
Latin — Latin over Evanston Roycemore
Litchfield — Litchfield over Greenfield
Macomb — Macomb over Bushnell Prairie City
Manlius Bureau Valley — Manlius Bureau Valley over Peru St. Bede
Marissa — Columbia over Freeburg
Mendon Unity — Princeton over Carthage Illini West
Metropolis, Massac County — Metropolis, Massac County over Harrisburg
New Berlin — New Berlin over Jacksonville Routt
Peoria Christian — Peoria Christian over Peoria Heights
Peotone — Lisle over Kankakee McNamara
Petersburg (PORTA) — Petersburg (PORTA) over Manito Midwest Central
Pittsfield — Pleasant Plains over Pittsfield
Seneca — Elmhurst Timothy Christian over Coal City
Springfield Lutheran — Springfield Lutheran over Macon Meridian
Warrensburg Latham — Warrensburg Latham over Maroa Forsyth
West Frankfort — Herrin over Benton
Williamsville — Decatur Lutheran over Decatur St. Teresa
Winnebago — Winnebago over Durand
Last edited by jonah on Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:13 pm, edited 18 times in total.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Tegan » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:01 pm

The Inescapable shadow of Destiny wrote:Wheaton Warrenville South — Wheaton Warrenville South def. Wheaton North.
:party: Great love and props to WWS ..... but this is also like seeing a friend's obit in the newspaper. 8 consecutive Regionals and 10 consecutive trips to the big dance. I raise a 40 oz. Diet Coke in respect to the fallen. :cry:

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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:06 pm

Tegan wrote:
The Inescapable shadow of Destiny wrote:Wheaton Warrenville South — Wheaton Warrenville South def. Wheaton North.
:party: Great love and props to WWS ..... but this is also like seeing a friend's obit in the newspaper. 8 consecutive Regionals and 10 consecutive trips to the big dance. I raise a 40 oz. Diet Coke in respect to the fallen. :cry:
I clink my ever-present Diet Pepsi with your Off-Brand Competitor.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:14 pm

Man, the Scorezone is impossible to read with the apparent malfunction of updating "Winner Match n."

Winnebago won the Winnebago regional. They don't usually post prompt Scorezone results.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:21 pm

styxman wrote:Man, the Scorezone is impossible to read with the apparent malfunction of updating "Winner Match n."
ARGH YES.
styxman wrote:Winnebago won the Winnebago regional. They don't usually post prompt Scorezone results.
Thanks. Who'd they beat in the championship?
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:21 pm

Durand.

Brad, who is furiously refreshing the ScoreZone for the Byron-Amboy result. How dare you leave me hanging at "tied at 23 TU"!!!
Last edited by Irreligion in Bangladesh on Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:24 pm

Does the IHSA have a specified distro? If it does, I have a really hard time believing that the finals match fit in with the distro. Also, many of the questions were grouped in the wrong category.

Oh, and BG won. We played Warren in the final.

P.S.: Can we talk about non specifics or are we barred from discussing at all?
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:26 pm

BG MSL Champs wrote:Does the IHSA have a specified distro? If it does, I have a really hard time believing that the finals match fit in with the distro. Also, many of the questions were grouped in the wrong category.

Oh, and BG won. We played Warren in the final.

P.S.: Can we talk about non specifics or are we barred from discussing at all?
Because we don't know if the non-reporting Regionals have actually occurred - who knows, maybe weather delays like last year - wait until full results are posted.

In the meantime, do what I did last year - write it all out, then prepare to post it on the boards tomorrow (when full results should be in).
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Dan-Don » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:33 pm

Deerfield wins the Viator Regional :sad:
Last edited by Dan-Don on Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Tegan » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:49 pm

BG MSL Champs wrote:Does the IHSA have a specified distro?
The IHSA has the following as its specified distribution (please no heckling from the peanut gallery, we've all heard it before):
6/6 math
6/6 science
6/6 social studies
6/6 literature (includes grammar and mythology)
4/4 fine arts
2/2 miscellaneous (includes interdisciplinary, sports, pop culture, drivers ed, industrial arts, and home ec related topics).

As I recall, the computation is capped at 6/6 .... so (for example) if a round has a computational physics question, at least one math question has to be non-comp.
BG MSL Champs wrote:P.S.: Can we talk about non specifics or are we barred from discussing at all?
I'd wait until tomorrow ... I'm sure there will be discussion.

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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:13 pm

Anybody interested in sorting the Regional results by Sectional?
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by rjaguar3 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:20 pm

I've already done it partially:

Bradley-Bourbonnais: ???, Lasalle-Peru, Bradley-Bourbonnais, M-Seymour
Marist: ???, Lyons, Hinsdale South, Marist
Dunlap: Springfield, Richwoods, ???, Washington
Stevenson: Stevenson, Fremd, Buffalo Grove, Deerfield
O'Fallon: ???, ???, Chatham Glenwood, Belleville West
Maine South: New Trier, ???, Loyola, Maine South
Auburn: ???, Rockford Hononegah, Sterling, ???
WWS: WWS, ???, ???, IMSA
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:31 pm

Tegan wrote:As I recall, the computation is capped at 6/6 .... so (for example) if a round has a computational physics question, at least one math question has to be non-comp.
Nope, sorry. 8/8 computational max, although it doesn't have to get up to 8/8 in a round.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by mlaird » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:35 pm

Tegan wrote:
BG MSL Champs wrote:Does the IHSA have a specified distro?
The IHSA has the following as its specified distribution (please no heckling from the peanut gallery, we've all heard it before):
6/6 math
6/6 science
6/6 social studies
6/6 literature (includes grammar and mythology)
4/4 fine arts
2/2 miscellaneous (includes interdisciplinary, sports, pop culture, drivers ed, industrial arts, and home ec related topics).

As I recall, the computation is capped at 6/6 .... so (for example) if a round has a computational physics question, at least one math question has to be non-comp.
One problem that the IHSA questions constantly run into is the fact that writers/the editor believe that there must be a significant amount of questions from a category if it is present in the IHSA Terms and Conditions. The list of categories is so cluttered that we often end up with more questions on spelling and vocabulary in a round than we do real literature questions
IHSA Terms and Conditions wrote:O. Categories and Sub-categories for
Toss-up and Bonus Questions: Designate
“Major” and “Minor” sub-categories in which
written questions will be selected. The italicized
sub-categories are the major areas that the
majority of the questions from that category
will be selected.
  • 1. Science
    Biology
    Chemistry
    Physics

    General science
    Earth science
    Astronomy
    Health
    2. Mathematics
    Algebra
    Geometry
    Calculus
    Trigonometry

    General math
    Analytic geometry
    Programming and Scripting
    3. Social Studies
    Government
    Geography
    U.S. History
    World History

    Economics
    Current events
    Social Science (Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology)
    4. Language Arts
    U.S. Literature
    British Literature
    World Literature and Mythology

    Grammar/usage
    Spelling
    Vocabulary
    Speech
    5. Fine Arts
    Art History
    Music History
    (mostly but not exclusively from the Common Practice Period 1600-1900)
    Music Theory
    Art Theory
    Artistic Dance (dancing legends, choreographers, tap, jazz, modern, ballroom, ballet)
    Musical Theater (Broadway, off-Broadway, classic musical cinema)
    Architecture
    6. Miscellaneous
    Interdisciplinary
    Journalism
    Sports
    Technology
    Agriculture
    Family Consumer Science
    Driver’s Ed.
    Industrial arts
    Pop culture
    Consumer Ed.
Needless to say, this list could use a little bit of pruning.

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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:40 pm

Shcool wrote:Anybody interested in sorting the Regional results by Sectional?
I'm on it.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by rjaguar3 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:47 pm

I've already done it, Jonah.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:48 pm

rjaguar3 wrote:I've already done it, Jonah.
I'm assuming he wants Class A too:

Class AA
Bradley-Bourbonnais: Bradley-Bourbonnais, Homewood Flossmoor, Mahomet Seymour, LaSalle Peru
Dunlap: Peoria Richwoods, Moline, Springfield, Washington
Maine South: Oak Park-River Forest, Maine South, Loyola, New Trier
Marist: Marist, Hinsdale South, Hinsdale Central, LaGrange Lyons
O'Fallon: Belleville West, Carbondale, Charleston, Chatham Glenwood
Rockford Auburn: Cary-Grove, Rockford Auburn, Rockton Hononegah, Sterling
Stevenson: Deerfield, Buffalo Grove, Stevenson, Fremd
Wheaton Warrenville South: IMSA, Naperville Central, Naperville North, Wheaton Warrenville South

Class A
Carlinville: Alton Marquette, Litchfield, New Berlin, Pleasant Plains
Fairfield: Fairfield, Altamont, Paris, Farina South Central
Herrin: Carterville, Columbia, Metropolis, Massac County, Herrin
Knoxville: Kewanee Wethersfield, Macomb, Manlius Bureau Valley, Mendon Unity
Peoria Christian: Bloomington Central Catholic, Farmington, Peoria Christian, Petersburg PORTA
Seneca: Latin, Dwight, Lisle, Elmhurst Timothy Christian
Warrensburg Latham: St. Joseph Ogden, Springfield Lutheran, Warrensburg Latham, Decatur Lutheran
Winnebago: Byron, Morrison, Rock Falls, Winnebago
Last edited by jonah on Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:58 pm

Farmington beat Chillicothe for that Regional, Jonah.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:59 pm

styxman wrote:Farmington beat Chillicothe for that Regional, Jonah.
Thanks; fixed in both places.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by David Riley » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:12 am

And categories aside, what's with all of the Illinoiscentrism?
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by BGSO » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:02 am

I thought spelling was gone? Not to mention my favorite question of the night...

Box step!!!!!

Once we get a look at the questions Nick and I will have some more specific criticisms, however last night was not good, not good at all.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:02 pm

All Regional results are up.

Let me warn people who want to post exact and lengthy quotes from the questions that you are not allowed to have the questions in your possession. The questions are supposed to be disposed of after use so that they can be sold. Other than that caveat, however, there is nothing wrong with discussing specific questions, since they will not be used in competition again.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by the return of AHAN » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:03 pm

Who wrote the questions? If it was a consortium, do we know who was involved?
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by David Riley » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:19 pm

As I understand it, the identities of the consortium members are kept as secret as a Swiss bank account number, although you might be able to get them from a Chinese gentleman in Philadelohia......

I will have a lot to say about the questions in general but will reserve further comment (outside of what I said above) until after Sectionals on Saturday (unless we advance to State, then I'll wait until after then).
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Tegan » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:47 pm

David Riley wrote:As I understand it, the identities of the consortium members are kept as secret as a Swiss bank account number, although you might be able to get them from a Chinese gentleman in Philadelohia......
I was one of them .....

I cannot comment too much beyond what I contributed. I was not happy with the work I did. I really don't know any of the other writers.

I can tell you that the question consortium is open to critique. The more specific you can be, the better. I think if you address them in an e-mail to the IHSA, this would be a good thing: be specific, down to the question if necessary. I think if enough people bring up the same issue, it can help the head editors determine if they want to retain a particular writer or not, or at least advise them to change what they are doing.

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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:00 pm

Tegan wrote:I was not happy with the work I did.
I hope this doesn't come off wrong, because I don't mean to be snarky, but this statement troubles me, and I think that by publicly identifying yourself as a writer you've opened up this opportunity for criticism. You were contributing to a tournament whose questions have historically been criticized, and you had a chance to help increase its quality; why did you submit questions of which you couldn't be proud?
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by mlaird » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:34 pm

There's no real rule that says we may not identify writers publicly or anything, so I think that if writers have identified themselves as writers then their names are free to put out there. A list that was formulated not by me (but had some names added to it by me) includes the following people:

*Redacted*
I guess some people don't like other people knowing they write questions?
*Redacted*

I'm sure this isn't everyone, and I'm sure that some/most of people missing from the list are former coaches that don't get around much anymore. I'm not sure who all writes what, but I know that there are multiple writers per category, which leads to wildly variable difficulty and ridiculousness of answer selection.
Last edited by mlaird on Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:43 pm

I have heard that Bob Brown didn't actually produce anything this year. Also, those writers have not necessarily all outed themselves as writers, so I don't know that we want to have that list "published".

Also, I think some discussion of the IHSA writing process itself should take place. I'll put what I know of that here in the near future, but right now I'm in class. The process is certainly very flawed and exacerbates the problem Matt mentioned, and I think those two factors are huge (besides the issue of writers who just don't know what constitutes a good question) in causing the many problems with IHSA questions.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Dresden_The_BIG_JERK » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:58 pm

Am I the only one who sees a problem with the writers not being public? I know I'm jumping on the bandwagon here, but this seems like a situation for transparency. For the IHSA, who considers this the most important tournament of the year, those responsible need to be held accountable, and not just internally. I know this all sounds much more dire than it perhaps is, but this whole secret cabal of writers thing only adds fuel to the anti-IHSA fire, and by a situation that is easily avoidable.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by David Riley » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:37 pm

Jonah and BJ both make some goot points, bu for better or worse, I feel that there is another issue with regard to the state series questions: because of the way public schools are funded in this state, the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” is considerable. If you accept this premise, the twain is never going to meet between what we normally interpret as “bad” and “good” quizbowl.

The “haves” are some of the wealthiest areas in the country, right up there with Old Field, New York, Bratenahl, Ohio and Grosse Point Park, Michigan, to name a few. The "have nots "by contrast are some of the poorest districts in the country. I’ve been told on fairly good authority that some of these school districts have extremely limited access to the Internet and equally limited public library collections; lots of popular fiction but limited reference works and works of serious literature, history and science.

Just as some are perfectly happy with one-liner questions and do not see a need for pyramidal questions and three part bonuses, neither do we want to (in our view) regress back to that era, hence the relative “mushrooming” of small tournaments using HSAPQ, ACF, NAQT, and well-written questions in-house.

Thus, I posit: is a state series, and maybe even a "state" coaches’ association, even feasible with his continuing and ever deepening rift between factions? How would we divide it? It is not clearly a class A vs. class AA issue, and even if it’s a northern vs. southern Illinois issue, where is the borderline?

The questions at the Regional illustrate this. Many of us in the Chicago suburban areas consider the Illinoiscentric questions and many of the miscellaneous areas (e.g. driver’s ed) to be provincial. In all fairness, how many teams in other parts of the state answer these questions? Are these written to “level” the playing field? On the other hand, questions about world literature and art history must seem very foreign to teams who lack the resources mentioned above to study even lists of these topics.

What is to be done?
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:41 pm

jonah wrote:I hope this doesn't come off wrong, because I don't mean to be snarky, but this statement troubles me, and I think that by publicly identifying yourself as a writer you've opened up this opportunity for criticism. You were contributing to a tournament whose questions have historically been criticized, and you had a chance to help increase its quality; why did you submit questions of which you couldn't be proud?
Not speaking for Tom, but to offer some perspective on this: I wrote for IHSA in the 06-07 and 07-08 seasons and declined to continue writing for them this year due to some of the strictures which made me feel I could not contribute my best effort. I think the questions I actually wrote were equal to what I would write for HSAPQ, NAQT, NSC, or any other high school set today. The content, difficulty, and length guidelines on the categories I worked on were perfectly conducive towards producing excellent questions, with one exception*. (However, it's mathematically inevitable that the opportunity cost of complying with the extremely intricate and nonstandard IHSA formatting prevented me from devoting exactly as much time to question content as I otherwise would have.) More notably, part of the IHSA writer arrangement is to "proofread" a roughly equal number of questions to the number that one writes. I was given questions to "proofread" from some extremely poor, out-of-touch writers; not only did the "proofreader" job description prevent me from doing any substantial editing on various questions that were 3 lines long, made no sense, had wrong answers, were on completely the wrong category from what they were labeled, made no attempt at pyramidality, etc etc etc; I also was rebuffed by the writers when I did basic "proofreading" things such as tell them to comply with the same formatting requirements that I had to obey. I eventually felt that I could no longer participate in a process which required me to vet, and accept payment for my work on, questions that were both objectively bad and in violation of the stated IHSA requirements. I don't know if this dilemma is at all what Tom is referring to, but it's one issue that has come up as the IHSA has tried to reach out to good writers (admirable) without dispatching the equal number of bad writers who also write (the opposite of admirable).

*The exception is that the bounceback-as-a-unit bonus severely restricts the types of questions that can be written and creates a situation where you can "choose two of the three" out of writing questions that are difficulty-appropriate, questions that are interesting to play on, and questions that are sufficient in number to populate an entire tournament set, but can never have all three at the same time. I did find it far more difficult than usual to choose bonus answers under this constraint, especially since I find the way three-part bonuses are scored in IHSA to be markedly unfair, and thus wrote all of my bonuses as four parts to avoid exacerbating the problem. However, my tossups looked entirely identical to what I would write for any high school tournament.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Awehrman » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:09 pm

I think Mr. Riley is overstating the differences between the haves and have nots, at least in a quizbowl sense. There are many more schools that fall in between. I think it's too much for us, in this kind of a forum, to worry about getting the truly destitute schools to play quizbowl. Looking at schools this way can become a self-perpetuating problem. I'm not as familiar with Illinois as most of you, but I think there is significant room for growth from more middle ground school districts. In Missouri, North Kansas City high school, which has dominated that state on and off for over a decade is an average school with an outstanding coach. The same goes for Savannah high school, which has a student population of under 800 students and routinely destroys schools twice its size with many more times its funding. Northside high school in Fort Smith, AR, which won a couple ASCN national championships was another such program with an underfunded public school with an outstanding coach. I'm sure there are many more examples that people could list. It's a mistake to believe that bad schools will always want bad quizbowl.

I don't think anyone wants questions on driver's ed (besides driver's ed teachers, maybe), but regional geography and local history don't offend me. I think there's too much of a push to nationalize knowledge while much of what is taught and learned is local. The problem is when people write questions on very minor rivers and things that don't even have a regional importance. These sorts of questions should be spread around to cover both urban, rural, and perhaps even suburban geography and history, and used sparingly, of course.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Dresden_The_BIG_JERK » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:30 pm

Awehrman wrote:I don't think anyone wants questions on driver's ed (besides driver's ed teachers, maybe), but regional geography and local history don't offend me. I think there's too much of a push to nationalize knowledge while much of what is taught and learned is local. The problem is when people write questions on very minor rivers and things that don't even have a regional importance. These sorts of questions should be spread around to cover both urban, rural, and perhaps even suburban geography and history, and used sparingly, of course.
This.

To expand, it seems to me that the way to prevent further divide, and indeed heal the existing schism, is to use the IHSA series as the vehicle for finding common ground. I know the current format (note: format of the playoff bracketing, not match format) has been long entrenched, but perhaps that can be a jumping off point for change. For many of the schools that are being labeled "have-nots", the state series is the only "tournament" they attend all year, and yet it is often one and done for them.

If we instead institute a more tournament style experience(i.e. more matches; even round robin perhaps) at the Regional level, while still rewarding regular season play, perhaps these schools will be inspired to attend more events throughout the year. And more exposure is the best place to start for everyone. I feel this is a change that nobody will strongly object too, yet has powerful potential.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:31 pm

Awehrman wrote:I don't think anyone wants questions on driver's ed (besides driver's ed teachers, maybe)
Actual quote from the last IHSSBCA steering committee meeting, said in complete seriousness, and from someone who is not a driver's ed teacher: "We should have driver's ed questions because driver's ed saves lives!"
Matt Weiner wrote:some perspective on this
I'm aware of the writing/editing process and its inherent flaws, and am about to work on a post summarizing them, and I understand your predicament. However, it doesn't really address my question for Tom, because he said that the questions he wrote, not just the ones he edited, were not great. As you indicate, it's perfectly possible to write good questions in many of the categories available (Tom wrote physics, so we're not in a situation of "there's no way to write a good computational math/industrial arts/sewing question"), and he didn't; my question is the reasoning behind that.
Dresden The Moderator wrote:Am I the only one who sees a problem with the writers not being public?
Not at all. It has been explained to me that the rationale for this is to insulate individual writers from coaches pressuring them to write. Of course we don't want such pressures happening, but this is the wrong way to solve a problem; the writers are (presumably) adults who can and should be expected to be resilient to inappropriate pressure such as coaches saying "hey, you should write a lot of questions about Charles Mound because that's right near my school". It would be reasonable, I think, to keep the names confidential until after the conclusion of each state series, but I firmly believe that after each one, not only should the writers' and editor's (or editors'?) names be public, but when the packets are sold, each question should indicate its writer. Protecting writers from criticism of their questions is terrible; they need to be accountable to the players who play on their questions and the coaches who also have to deal with them.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:46 pm

I have been doing some investigating into the IHSA question-writing process recently, and have discovered a lot of mostly disturbing information. The following will summarize it (besides the names of some writers I have discovered) along with my opinions. This is all second-hand at least because I am not an IHSA writer, so I cannot guarantee its complete accuracy, but I have done my best to check facts with multiple reliable sources. If anyone has any corrections or additions (particularly, if people would like to acknowledge that they are a writer or know additional writers' names), I would very much like to hear it at jonah at jonahgreenthal dot com; I promise to keep your name confidential if you so desire, but I would like to post that information here.

The IHSA pays $1 per tossup and $4 per bonus. (I fear that that ratio itself may promote the writing of bad tossups.) Writers are recruited by recommendation from some group of people; I don't know who those are, but they are not exclusively people who are already writers, since I know at least one non-writer has recommended at least two of the current writers. Writers are expected to peer edit as many questions as they write, a process I will explain momentarily, and if they peer edit more than they write, that's 25¢ per additional question. The head editor is Sister John Baricevic; it's not clear if there are additional editors.

The peer editing process works something like this: each writer sends his questions to an assigned other writer who has volunteered to edit the appropriate subject(s). Officially, writers only know the name of their editing partner(s) and Sister John; that is, secrecy is maintained internally to this cabal also. That writer then looks them over and makes suggestions. The suggestions are nonbinding, which is good if the original questions were good and edited by someone who doesn't know from good questions, but it's catastrophic if the original writer is a terrible writer (as it seems so many are) and the editor is making useful suggestions. So the original writer gets back those suggestions and edits their own questions (incorporating them if they so desire). The extent to which further editing (i.e., by Sister John and possibly others) takes place is unknown.

Besides those listed by Matt above, I conclude that there are either a lot of unlisted people writing or just a few with a really prolific output. I suspect that these people are at least largely old coaches. Since at least a bunch of those list are known to write good questions, we have a lot of terrible questions whose writers are unaccounted for.

I'm trying to think if I've left out any other significant results of my research; I hope I've gotten everything in, but if I have something more to add, I'll post it. As I've indicated, I think people deserve to know how the questions they play on got produced, and if the writing organization won't divulge that information, it should get out through other channels.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Charley Pride » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:15 pm

Box step...Upon hearing the category, I set my buzzer down and proceeded to twiddle my fingers...The other team negged, and the tossup finished. One second passes...two...and then I think to myself, "Hey, a box is square-shaped!"...Gave it two more seconds, and since there was nothing from Siva or Michael, I picked up my buzzer and pulled the trigger. 10 points. Hell yeah.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:22 pm

As to Bob Brown, keep in mind that there are two people named Bob Brown--the Question Bank guy and the former Lake Zurich Coach. I don't know which one it is.

As to the procedure Matt Weiner describes, it is not very good. If you write questions as part of an organization that assigns your questions to an editor and has an additional Head Editor, then you should not have the right to keep your questions as is unless you can convince at least one of those two people that the question is better as is then it is with edits. I don't blame Matt at all for being frustrated and looking for more satisfying work. I fear that the procedures currently in place favor the weak writers over the strong writers.

As to the secrecy, I think way too much is being made of it as a problem. Anybody who wants to can contact Ron McGraw at IHSA to complain about the questions. You can send him email or snail mail. You can make it an open letter or not. You can contact him today or tomorrow. The only thing you need to do is watch your tone a little, since IHSA types don't accept being talked down to, but that does not mean that you need to praise anything. He will read your letter and pass it along. One of the reasons this is done is so that the IHSA can be responsive to complaints. If this is a typical year, hundreds of people will complain to their friends about the questions and zero people will complain to the IHSA. If you think the IHSA should improve, then it should be obvious why this is bad. When I started complaining about IHSA questions way back in the 20th Century, I was told that I was the only one complaining even though the questions were worse year after year than this year's set.

In terms of Drivers Ed, there are people who like those questions who are not Drivers Ed teachers. It frustrates me. Part of it comes from having a different conception of what quizbowl should be--the IHSA distribution follows from the philosophy that everything is worth asking about rather than a philosophy that we should focus on academically important material.

As to the local history, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Wehrman. For one thing, there is no real shared history in Illinois--the gap between Zion and Cairo is too big geographically and culturally. For another thing, I'm not sure how you decide on a canon and encourage students to learn what is important.

I don't think the gaps in our state are too big to be bridged. There are disagreements, but there would be disagreements if the only two schools in the state were New Trier and Loyola. If the coach from Quincy can tell me that she loves pyramidal questions and a bunch of jr high kids from Streator can love ACF bonuses, then I don't think that being far away from the North Shore forces people to favor bad quizbowl. In terms of demographics, there isn't a whole lot in common between New Trier and Auburn, and the fact that they have a gifted program may explain why they have a concentration of bright students but does not explain why they favor certain quizbowl policies.

(NOTE: This was written before the Jonah and Zahed's posts.)
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:39 pm

A question:
Who is this Sister John, and is she at all qualified to head-edit a state championship?
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by the return of AHAN » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:32 pm

la2pgh wrote:A question:
Who is this Sister John, and is she at all qualified to head-edit a state championship?
Sister John was a scholastic bowl coach when scholastic bowl became an IHSA activity. She is from southern IL, and, in my experience, has had the best interests of the activity at heart. She was instrumental in helping me get some bad rules and policies changed during last year's IESA Advisory Board meeting, even though she was only present as a high school liasion. I believe she's a former member of the IHSA state advisory board, too. I feel comfortable saying she's qualified to edit the State Series. Are there others as or more qualified? Probably. I think you'd need to speak directly to Sister John to discuss what this process meant to her and what her exact role was.
But please don't assume she's somehow unqualified to be in this position just because some terrible questions came out of it. That would be akin to listening to the questions at this weekend's Barrington Invitational and saying Jonah is a terrible question editor. He HATED many of the questions written for my tournament, but that didn't stop him (and numerous others) from making some great suggestions and revisions.
Just my $.02
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Tegan » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:38 pm

Lot's of stuff .... I will start here:
la2pgh wrote:A question: Who is this Sister John, and is she at all qualified to head-edit a state championship?
I repeat what Dr. Price said: She is qualified, and has never had less than my complete support. The issues go beyond what is necessarily her control. As you all know, within the state, we have the fight over what constitutes "good quizbowl". The more involved teams favor pyramidal style, academic questions, and greatly tend to oppose areas like computation, home ec, industrial arts, gratuitous Illinois history/government/geography, etc, etc. There are those that feel those latter areas are far too under-represented, and any question longer than three sentences is "wordy". The problems in question writing, (and I am not defending any question writer, including myself) are not her causing. She is a woman of tremendous integrity, and I have felt privileged to work with her over the years. Whatever my disagreements with any questions or their writers, my feud has never been with her.


Matt Weiner wrote:I don't know if this dilemma is at all what Tom is referring to, but it's one issue that has come up as the IHSA has tried to reach out to good writers (admirable) without dispatching the equal number of bad writers who also write (the opposite of admirable).
It is very frustrating, as a person like you who greatly cares about the players and the state of the game in general, because of (as Matt pointed out): questions in categories that were in violation of the spirit of what belonged (eg: finish the quote from "The Lord of the Rings" film in a literature category); having to write cumbersome bonus questions because of the particulars of how bonus questions are executed; and to see questions that are just plain burdensome to players, and only exist because a couple of people with some authority feel that they must take a stand to preserve home ec, industrial arts, drivers ed, etc. It is all extremely frustrating. It is one thing to see questions that are written in such a way that the worse of two teams wins .... it is something entirely different when questions, even on relatively easy subjects, aren't answered at all because not enough information was given, or was outside the realm of the possible.

Sadly, my critique on some of my own questions was more along the lines of: they were simply bad. I'm not making excuses. I simply should have known better. I will cite two that made "the list" (in the other thread).
"Ampule of Lorenzini" .... I knew this quite well as an elementary school student, and studied it in high school as a part of a comparative anatomy course ..... saw it again at the university. It has popped up in several shows on sharks. This is me explaining where it popped into my head .... not making an excuse for a bad question. It was a fallacy to think the way I did.

"Myocardial infarction" .... Not having the question in front of me at the moment, the first words did ask for a technical term, so "heart attack" should never have been a serious guess to take. That aside, it was bad. I thought I had taken the steps to make the lead-in uniquely identifying, and only later did I see that it wasn't. It was a flat out bad question.

There was a bad bonus on levers that I wrote .... it hasn't been mentioned by anyone, and perhaps was buried under a tossup no one got. I'll still take the blame for it.

Writing bad questions is one thing ... I feel bad anytime I write a bad question, and goodness knows that I have wrote my share of them (mostly in the past .... my more recent writing has, I hope, gotten a little better). The thing that really hurts is if the bad question costs the better team the match. It is an obvious thing to say, and really easy to say when you aren't associated with the team that lost.

St. Viator lost. I have seen this team grow and get better over the season. This team was as dirt broke as any from anywhere. They funded their team out of their own pocket. I had said that the two amazing things to see this year were how utterly tough Carbondale had become and St. Viator coming into their own as a respected and accomplished team in the community.

I wasn't in a good mood after seeing that. Four points means any single question that came up could have swung the match. All I could think about after seeing that my fool mistakes had better not have cost them. That's not the kind of thing that you easily get to say "sorry" for.

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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by Siverus Snape » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:47 pm

I've been noticing tossups this year and last year that give specifications for the answer before the question begins (e.g., two word answer required) and tossups that say "Work X of the author whom you are to name" instead of "Work X by this author." Assuming that those types of changes are made by the head editor, it seems like she's really trying hard to ensure fairness and make things as explicit and clear as possible. My guess, however, would be that she's not intimately familiar with the particular style of pyramidal tossups that is preferred on the national level. Nobody writes top-notch tossups (as judged by experienced people) before being around the circuit for a while--a long while. I think she has done and will continue to do a great job of eliminating hoses and other similar problems, but very few people are technically qualified, in the necessarily stringent sense of the word, to be head editor of a state tournament.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:09 pm

Shcool wrote:As to Bob Brown, keep in mind that there are two people named Bob Brown--the Question Bank guy and the former Lake Zurich Coach. I don't know which one it is.
Actually, the Bob Brown in question is the former Maine East coach. I don't know how that fits in with the possibilities you gave.
Shcool wrote:As to the secrecy, I think way too much is being made of it as a problem. Anybody who wants to can contact Ron McGraw at IHSA to complain about the questions. You can send him email or snail mail. You can make it an open letter or not. You can contact him today or tomorrow. The only thing you need to do is watch your tone a little, since IHSA types don't accept being talked down to, but that does not mean that you need to praise anything. He will read your letter and pass it along.
We disagree on whether the secrecy is a problem. Anyway, if you can get me a copy of the questions, I will be glad to write some notes a treatise my manifesto about them. I'd want to do a blow-by-blow critique of each question, or at least most questions, as well as a general criticism of the process. Maybe I'll post it here before sending it and other people could sign on to it, if you think that's a good idea.
As to the local history, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Wehrman. For one thing, there is no real shared history in Illinois--the gap between Zion and Cairo is too big geographically and culturally. For another thing, I'm not sure how you decide on a canon and encourage students to learn what is important.
Well, I think the canon problem isn't terribly more severe than it is for other disciplines. While I agree that there isn't a ton of shared history, there are some questions that I think are reasonable: perhaps things like Springfield, John Peter Altgeld (and other important historical governors), Starved Rock, the I&M Canal, etc. People should probably know those things about the state. That said, I'm not in favor of such questions' presence—but it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
Tegan wrote:I wasn't in a good mood after seeing that. Four points means any single question that came up could have swung the match. All I could think about after seeing that my fool mistakes had better not have cost them. That's not the kind of thing that you easily get to say "sorry" for.
I too was crushed by hearing of St. Viator's loss. The good news is they might be attending this weekend's Matt Cvijanovich Memorial Novice Tournament, which would be great. Anyway, this forces me to mention that if there were no five-part bonuses (and three-part bonuses), this might not have happened; those entities are terrible (though I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir) because they inherently over- and undervalue some answers in relation to most bonus answer, for no good reason.
Last edited by jonah on Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by JackGlerum » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:09 pm

My expectations were pretty low, but it was worse than I thought (and worse than last year, iirc). Distribution and difficulty were both atrocious. I'm too tired to get angry about comp. math, but what about "language arts"? Again, I expected (not that this excuses anything) a couple of spelling and vocab questions, but I also expected some good literature. I remember one mediocre/decent tossup on George Eliot and another on Henry Fielding and that's about it. Notable lead-ins included "this author of Midnight's Children", "this Faulkner work with a title from Macbeth" and "this sculptor of the Age of Bronze and Burghers of Calais". Bonuses were worse. Identifying "artistic dances" and "Home Depot product abbreviations" prompted answers like "Bird Walk" and "Bulbasaur", respectively, from my team. And then there was the computation home ec tossup about sunscreen. Our games were essentially an attempt to make light of an utterly sad situation by saying ridiculous things to pass the time (see: not quizbowl).

Mr. Riley and I both commented on how, if we end up coming out of our very competitive sectional, we would feel really stupid and guilty about advancing because we realize that literally every non-math academic question will be a buzzer race. The only motivation I have to go to Peoria is because it's fun to travel with the team and because fancy trophies might prompt the administration to give us more dough.

The NSC can't come soon enough.

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Re: IHSA regional assignments

Post by jonah » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:13 pm

JackGlerum wrote:Home Depot product abbreviations
I just choked on a pretzel. No, seriously, I did. Can you remember any more detail of that?
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