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### Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:38 pm
Dear fellow middle school coaches,
If you find yourself hosting a meet where you find you have to use Q uestions G alore questions this year, please be advised to check the math questions for errors. Examples from today's bonus set:
8 = x -5
A: -3

72 = -8x
A: 9

Yes, kids, that's TWO parts of a 5-part bonus with bad wrong answers. I've always wondered why we can't get tougher math from this vendor. Now I see why. Both teams tried to help the Lake Zurich North moderator; I pointed out that LZN gave a correct answer to #4, while the LZN kids pointed out out that Station's answer to part 2 was correct. Rather than listen to the team's arguing for an extra 4 points for each other, early in a tight match, the moderator said, "Well, I can't remember exactly what they (Station) said so I'm going to throw it out and replace with a new question..." In Life Science which both teams promptly bageled.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
Later in the same set, a 4-parter:
The prompt asked for decimal answers for 1 & 2, and in terms of pi for 3 and 4...
What is the area of a rectangle with sides measuring 2 3/4 inches and 4 1/2 inches?
A: 14. 5 inches
What is the perimeter of a regular pentagon with a side length measuring 16.275 inches?
A: 81.38 inches
What is the circumference of a circle with a diameter measuring 11.5 inches?
A: 23 pi inches
What is the area of a circle with a diameter measuring 14 inches?
A: 56.25 pi square inches

YES! A perfectly BAD bonus question! Not a single freaking correct answer on the d----ed page!

At this point, my head is spinning from the double-bagel, thinking I must be mishearing the guy, and I've already made enough of a scene in the first half, to say nothing of the fact he irrationally burned the only spare bonus in the set earlier. And lord knows the guy wasn't going to let me lawyer for right answers as evidenced by me getting disregarded in trying to give points to the opponent. And let's not forget I'm trying to rehab my reputation as being the Bobby Knight of scholastic bowl in my conference. So I let it go and karma looked out for us as we won with 4 straight TU to close the game, despite crummy questions and awful bonus conversion (11.27 per bonus controlled).

And what the heck is up with moderators that won't let kids begin their bonus answer until they've buzzed in??? Where do they freaking get this idea?? My kids quickly adjusted with a "When in Rome..." attitude, while I spent much of the 1st half with my rule book open to the appropriate page, just waiting for him to try to hose us with a nonexistent rules violation.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:42 pm
Woody Paige wrote: And what the heck is up with moderators that won't let kids begin their bonus answer until they've buzzed in???
Buzzing in on bonuses?

fsb

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:43 pm
rienzi0711 wrote:
Woody Paige wrote: And what the heck is up with moderators that won't let kids begin their bonus answer until they've buzzed in???
Buzzing in on bonuses?

fsb
EXACTLY. It has nothing to do with any rule I've ever seen, regardless of your format. But it has become the de facto bonus format in pockets of northeastern Illinois and it has been my pet peeve since moving up here.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:49 pm
Woody Paige wrote:
rienzi0711 wrote:
Woody Paige wrote: And what the heck is up with moderators that won't let kids begin their bonus answer until they've buzzed in???
Buzzing in on bonuses?

fsb
EXACTLY.
There are some high school teams in Illinois that still do this, inexplicably.

Mr. Price, I'm planning to send you by e-mail a file with the "Best of" Questions GaLOL's rounds from previous years. Although I cannot distribute it before Saturday, please let me know if you want it.

I'll put it this way: you're not alone. You won't believe how insane I went when I edited 9 rounds of QG!

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:54 pm
Thanks Greg.
And I'll share some TU with you from today that I shouldn't post as they're likely still blind to many teams.
jmprice86<at>gmail<dot>com

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:55 pm
My email is gregory(dot)j[dot]gauthier*at*vanderbilt<dot>edu

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:03 pm
rjaguar3 wrote:
Woody Paige wrote:
rienzi0711 wrote:
Woody Paige wrote: And what the heck is up with moderators that won't let kids begin their bonus answer until they've buzzed in???
Buzzing in on bonuses?

fsb
EXACTLY.
There are some high school teams in Illinois that still do this, inexplicably.
Are we talking about buzzing in to call time, or what? I'm having trouble envisioning this weirdness; when is it done?

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:08 pm
jonah wrote:
rjaguar3 wrote:
Woody Paige wrote:
rienzi0711 wrote:
Woody Paige wrote: And what the heck is up with moderators that won't let kids begin their bonus answer until they've buzzed in???
Buzzing in on bonuses?

fsb
EXACTLY.
There are some high school teams in Illinois that still do this, inexplicably.
Are we talking about buzzing in to call time, or what? I'm having trouble envisioning this weirdness; when is it done?
Yes, but additionally, after the moderator calls time, the captain buzzes in before giving answers.

Strange.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:48 am
Yes, I remember several years ago when Warren Twp.'s team did this when they hosted the Sectional and insisted that everybody do likewise. We thought it strange, but we too said, when in Rome.....But that was then, I would challenge any coach who insisted on that now.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:51 am
Woody Paige wrote: What is the perimeter of a regular pentagon with a side length measuring 16.275 inches?
A: 81.38 inches
At least this one's just rounded off.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:09 am
Dr. Riley,
I'd say this goes back to me trying to rehab my image in conference, by trying not to kick up dust wherever I go, but yeah, I have gone off on mods over this.
Mr. Watkins,
And that's what I thought when the correct answers were being read back, thinking I must have missed that instruction about rounding. Mind you, in IESA middle school meets, the coaches having the questions in hand is nonstandard, unlike IHSA.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:44 am
Woody Paige wrote: the coaches having the questions in hand is nonstandard, unlike IHSA.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:48 am
Hey, in IHSA, coaches read for their teams ALL THE TIME...It's just begging for something scandalous to happen.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:11 pm
What's meant above is that it is standard practice in many invitationals and conferences to have the coaches read. This is done mainly because it is difficult or impossible to get enough quality moderators, especially for large tournaments.

In the IHSA and Masonic State Tournaments, there are moderators, and the coaches do not have access to the questions. It also is becoming common for invitationals to supply moderators for key playoff matches, and there are now some invitationals that supply moderators for every match.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:30 pm
Yeah, I totally read that as "the coach sitting in the back of the room watching has a copy of the round," not "coaches are reading the round."

Carry on!

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:47 pm
Have there been any known instances of cheating related to coaches having had access to the questions?

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:50 pm
There have been allegations of coaches substituting in players who will know the answer to the succeeding question, but I don't think anything has been proven. (see the discussion following Naperville Central '08)

It's better to take steps to prevent anything like that from ever happening.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:53 pm
Frater Taciturnus wrote:Yeah, I totally read that as "the coach sitting in the back of the room watching has a copy of the round," not "coaches are reading the round."

Carry on!
Ah, but not in the Mid-Suburban League, where the coaches have the copies of the match questions MONTHS IN ADVANCE (never mind during the actual match), which shocked the heck out of me when I first started to coach in the conference.
Not that this has EVER crossed MY mind during a match, but I wonder how many coaches harbor doubts about my integrity when one of my kids legitimately buzzes in with "Little Turtle" on "Which Indian chief led the Miami tribe to victory over General Josiah Harmar's troops in 1791?" (happened in the frosh-soph quad). This wouldn't be a potential issue if the questions weren't in my hands well before the match.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:50 pm
!!?!?!?!??

And coaches in the MSL allow this?????? It's bad enough that the abovementioned trend of giving coaches the questions during the match started a few yeats ago--no one should see the questions but the moderator!!!

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:17 pm
David Riley wrote: !!?!?!?!??

And coaches in the MSL allow this?????? It's bad enough that the abovementioned trend of giving coaches the questions during the match started a few yeats ago--no one should see the questions but the moderator!!!
They allow it and think nothing of it.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:39 pm
Woody Paige wrote:
David Riley wrote: !!?!?!?!??

And coaches in the MSL allow this?????? It's bad enough that the abovementioned trend of giving coaches the questions during the match started a few yeats ago--no one should see the questions but the moderator!!!
They allow it and think nothing of it.
As a player, I can say that this is something that has always bothered me. Many coaches have their questions where their teams can see them, and it would not be hard for a player to catch a glimpse of the questions without their coach's knowledge. The worst part about this is that there is no good reason for it. Besides the hosts of each meet, I have not seen coaches make corrections to questions. Another issue is that it gives the coaches a chance to commit "legitimate cheating." An example of this would be a coach looking through the questions and seeing a toss-up on the Battle of Antietam. The coach then can say something in practice about learning civil war battles. While the coach may have cheated, it could never be proven. After all, he simply stated that his kids should study a topic that is common in Scholastic Bowl.

I am surprised that this is not common in Illinois. I always thought this was an example of the MSL choosing tradition over logic. Now I know that this is an example of the MSL choosing stupidity over common sense.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:28 pm
And here I thought the CSL had the strangest tradition with their weird food rituals. I stand corrected.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:40 pm
Our conference, the CSL, does the same thing as the MSL, the only difference being that coaches get the questions only one week in advance, which is an insignificant difference.

We do it because it is convenient and because we trust each other. It is convenient because it means the coach in charge of the questions can just send them out to the same group each week rather than just the hosts and because that way all the coaches have electronic copies at the end of the year without an extra round or two of mailings. Also, we trust each other because there is a long history of teams not cheating. My team has been dominant in the conference without looking at the questions, so I can conclude from that that teams are not looking at the questions. There are no extrinsic rewards for winning our conference, so the only thing you could gain from cheating is the self-knowledge that you are a dirtbag.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:51 pm
Shcool wrote:Our conference, the CSL, does the same thing as the MSL, the only difference being that coaches get the questions only one week in advance, which is an insignificant difference.
You know, recent events would prove you wrong.
We do it because it is convenient and because we trust each other. It is convenient because it means the coach in charge of the questions can just send them out to the same group each week rather than just the hosts and because that way all the coaches have electronic copies at the end of the year without an extra round or two of mailings. Also, we trust each other because there is a long history of teams not cheating. My team has been dominant in the conference without looking at the questions, so I can conclude from that that teams are not looking at the questions. There are no extrinsic rewards for winning our conference, so the only thing you could gain from cheating is the self-knowledge that you are a dirtbag.
You should note that none of these reasons will ever guarantee teams not cheating. You think you trust the individuals in question, but I think that the events of the past month should demonstrate that the quizbowl community everywhere needs to actually pay heed to question security. The little comfort that you save is meaningless in the long run. It really also speaks volumes about your organization that you are just willingly letting this risk slide.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 1:45 am
JelloBiafra wrote:
Shcool wrote:Our conference, the CSL, does the same thing as the MSL, the only difference being that coaches get the questions only one week in advance, which is an insignificant difference.
You know, recent events would prove you wrong.
I think he was saying the difference between one week in advance or months in advance is insignificant and there could be cheating either way.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:38 am
cdcarter wrote:
JelloBiafra wrote:
Shcool wrote:Our conference, the CSL, does the same thing as the MSL, the only difference being that coaches get the questions only one week in advance, which is an insignificant difference.
You know, recent events would prove you wrong.
I think he was saying the difference between one week in advance or months in advance is insignificant and there could be cheating either way.
Which recent events would prove correct. In the incident we're all talking about, the person involved had access to the e-mail account with the questions in it for only 12 hours.

Having coaches with the questions is a good practice to nip in the bud before any serious cheating arises from that practice.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:20 pm
I missed the discussion everyone is referring to. Which thread should I look in?

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:39 pm
Shcool wrote:I missed the discussion everyone is referring to. Which thread should I look in?
Here.

### Re: Important tip for users of QG Questions

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:10 pm
Woody Paige wrote:And what the heck is up with moderators that won't let kids begin their bonus answer until they've buzzed in??? Where do they freaking get this idea??
I find it personally annoying, and something of a delaying tactic. With some mods it will give them another 1-5 seconds of time to think.

I ran into a problem with this some years ago (hardly anyone around these parts actually does that anymore). I recognized the captain, and started counting. They took two seconds, hit the buzzer, and I called time before they could answer. The coach didn't understand, and I informed her that the captain had three second to start answering after the moderator asked for the answers. The coach swore up and down that it was three seconds after buzzing. I invited her to find it in the rule book (coincidentally on hand), and she couldn't. It delayed the match, but it removed one coach from the legions of the ignorant.

To avoid this, I will light up the team's buzzers to prevent them from ringing in on a bonus. If the system doesn't allow for that, I will hold down the reset button to prevent them from doing this.