Why is Illinois bad?

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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by David Riley » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:30 pm

Unfortunately, I think the "nerdy" moniker definitely appliies, especially if a school has no academic traditions. And I agree that often the "best and brightest" are super busy, despite what every college admissions book I've read says about (paraphrase here) we don't want students who can do anything, we want students who can do somthing.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by mrgsmath » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:34 pm

In this area, I can't speak for others, I see 3 issues involved in the development quality of teams, which is really the driving force behind change of any meaningful value occuring.

First is the attitude of the administrations. Many schools have teams because it is a requirement for conference participation, coupled with the fact that once you pay your IHSA dues your covered for all activities. With Masonic being a free meet, many teams have a season that consists of 5-10 conference matches, with a couple local matches thrown in, Masonic, and then the IHSA series. The school in these cases pays a minimal stipend if any to the "coach", often a new teacher, who may change every two to three years. This lack of support both in attitude and finances provides little incentive for "coaches" to invest time in recruitment or perfecting their craft since they don't percieve it as a goal worth investing in. The sports coach has a vested interest in success, both financial and social. Bring home a regional title in baseball and the world is yours.

Second, many programs run on auto-pilot, the phrase, "this is how we have always done it" ring a bell. When I took over 7 years ago I was given 10 books, "Campbell's Qiuz Bowl Questions" I think, and a Senior who told me how things were going to be. The books lasted slightly longer than the Senior. In sports it is easy to look at other teams and see how they prepare and win. Quiz bowl is more difficult. IHSSBCA has provided some great help but it may take more local coaches recruiting new coaches into the group to make any real progress.

Thirdly, as has been discussed there is no national model to look towards. When I consider what the Senior Bowl was like at the Streator meet in 1972, yes I am that old, Quiz Bowl has changed in Illinois. But nationally each state has evolved on its own. I don't know how long NAQT has offered a high school program, but I would suspect that it hasn't been that long compared to the established programs.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:13 pm

I'll agree with Coach Grant and add that, unfortunately, new coaches often have a role model who is the most respected coach in their conference who does not do much beyond rounding up five kids for a few matches each year.
Captain Sinico wrote:I'd say that phenomenon is at least in part because quizbowl is able to being dumbed down, controlled as it is by the state and, via the state, through the typically Illinoisian combination of actors with clout, mob rule, and unenlightened despotism. If people tell WYSE its tests are too hard or on subjects people aren't interested in, WYSE will point out the mean scores and participation levels and tell those people to stop sniveling and go study. The same isn't the case for quizbowl - people complain and the game changes. A lot of that has to do with how quizbowl in Illinois fails to interface with national quizbowl, as opposed to WYSE-type activities, which everyone understands to be national inherently.

MaS
This is true, and looking at national models may help (and in fact already are helping). I'll add that quizbowl also has two inherent disadvantages:
1) A lot of coaches do not know much outside their discipline, so they don't recognize how crappy many questions are. Math Team coaches usually know math, and WYSE coaches usually know some science, so they will complain when a question has crappy math or science, but quizbowl coaches don't know the quizbowl canon. Furthermore, Math Team coaches and WYSE coaches generally know who which other coaches are respected within their teaching fields because they see each other at conferences or know who has leadership positions or writes articles, and more often the knowledgeable and invested people are listened to.
2) Crappy buzzer questions do not create problems that are as serious as crappy written questions. I write contests for a Math Team League, and each contest is five questions. If I write three crappy super easy questions and two crappy super hard questions, then almost everybody gets the same score, and people will complain because the math people will recognize that the content is crappy and everybody hates it when everybody gets the same score. However, if I write a quizbowl round with twelve crappy super easy toss ups and eight crappy super hard toss ups, the result could be anything from a blow-out to a back-and-forth match, and the very rare result of a tie in regulation is easily resolved in overtime. For the majority of people associated with the match (unless they are hardcore quizbowlers), the focus will be on the competitive aspect of the match rather than the academic aspect.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by CometCoach72 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:54 pm

mrgsmath wrote:In this area, I can't speak for others, I see 3 issues involved in the development quality of teams, which is really the driving force behind change of any meaningful value occuring.

First is the attitude of the administrations. Many schools have teams because it is a requirement for conference participation, coupled with the fact that once you pay your IHSA dues your covered for all activities. With Masonic being a free meet, many teams have a season that consists of 5-10 conference matches, with a couple local matches thrown in, Masonic, and then the IHSA series. The school in these cases pays a minimal stipend if any to the "coach", often a new teacher, who may change every two to three years. This lack of support both in attitude and finances provides little incentive for "coaches" to invest time in recruitment or perfecting their craft since they don't percieve it as a goal worth investing in. The sports coach has a vested interest in success, both financial and social. Bring home a regional title in baseball and the world is yours.
So true. Dennis Scobbie and I have had several discussions over the last year and we both bemoan the fact that there are four out of ten coaches in our conference that are willing to try to do anything more than play the conference schedule, and many in our conference do not even play Masonic despite the fact it's free (we assume all facts entered in evidence about Masonic). We've also had our share of turnover in the conference coaching ranks. New coaches are rarely provided with enough information and support and are often on an island to fend for themselves. I can't answer to the "attitude of the administrations," because I've been blessed in my 3 years as coach with a very supportive administration. If the coach is running into a brick wall, then the coach should do things to change the administrator's mind with positive promotion of the team throughout the school.

mrgsmath wrote: Second, many programs run on auto-pilot, the phrase, "this is how we have always done it" ring a bell. When I took over 7 years ago I was given 10 books, "Campbell's Qiuz Bowl Questions" I think, and a Senior who told me how things were going to be. The books lasted slightly longer than the Senior. In sports it is easy to look at other teams and see how they prepare and win. Quiz bowl is more difficult. IHSSBCA has provided some great help but it may take more local coaches recruiting new coaches into the group to make any real progress.
Even veteran coaches are guilty of the "this is how we've always done it" mentality; otherwise we would not have the dialogue about the "state of affairs in Illinois Quiz Bowl" that has been going on in multiple venues. I respectfully disagree on the point that quiz bowl it more difficult to prepare for competition. Keen eyes and observant minds will win out here in the end. I picked up no less than four ideas to take back to my team between watching teams at State Finals and the short conversations with colleagues and players from excellent teams (thanks Zahed, you're a class act). There was one thing in common with all of these people; they have a passion for the game and it takes coaches who also have that passion to bring it out in their players.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by mrgsmath » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:24 pm

I wasn't saying that quiz bowl is more difficult to prepare for, what I was trying to say is that it more difficult to find good role models for it. Your observation relates to watching teams at the state finals and having conversations, this is valid for you, since you already havethe passion to improve. I was referring to new coaches that don't have that passion and are not exposed to others who do. For them they need guides to actively help them.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:08 pm

mrgsmath wrote:I don't know how long NAQT has offered a high school program, but I would suspect that it hasn't been that long compared to the established programs.
Fall 1997, for the record.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by mrgsmath » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:58 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:
mrgsmath wrote:I don't know how long NAQT has offered a high school program, but I would suspect that it hasn't been that long compared to the established programs.
Fall 1997, for the record.
Thanks forthe info. That means one of the major, and perhaps oldest, national forces will be entering its 13 season. IHSA is entering its 24th year, The Illinois Masonic will host its 27th tournament, and Illinois Quiz Bowl can be traced back over 40 years just from my direct knowledge. Each of these has its own history and identity. Has NAQT evolved sinced 1997, my guess is that it has, and will continue to envolve in the future?

That said one should realize that asking anyone to just accept that they are wrong and you are right, even if you are, is not an easy task. The task is made harder when some of those calling for change ridicule and belittle those programs.

I see question quality as the primary problem in Illinois, I feel this should be the battle ground, and some compromises to accomodate match formats, that allow some organizations to retain their identities, may need to be made.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:54 pm

I agree--if I could change one thing, it would be question quality. As a matter of fact, if some all-powerful being gave me a deal in which question quality would improve significantly across the board but in exchange everything else would stay the same, I would take that deal.

There are two things that make this more complicated, though.
For one thing, the current format makes some teams unwilling to host and play tournaments using the best available questions, since the best available questions are usually written in a format other than IHSA. Furthermore, some good writers do not want to write for the IHSA Series because they can write more and better bonuses for questions sets that use the other bonus format.

For another thing, I'm not being offered that deal. My requests to eliminate Drivers Ed are not having any impact on my requests to improve the questions, so I'm asking for both. Additionally, my requests to eliminate Drivers Ed are easier to make because they do not result in as much defensiveness and because it is an issue that can be resolved by a single vote.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Captain Sinico » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:53 pm

Yeah, Reinstein has largely made the post I was about to. Question quality is the top issue, but it's not unrelated to format. I'll add that, since the question quality in IHSA-produced tournaments is never going to be reliably high due to the way they're produced, the state tournament can be used to pull the quality of other tournaments down.
In sum, what we have here is a set of coupled issues, which makes it difficult to make progress on one without making progress on all. That's good and bad, though: if we can pull up question quality statewide, it seems to me that format change has to follow in time, but the format's entrenchment makes it difficult to pull up question quality.

MaS
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by mrgsmath » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:39 pm

Here is my problem, I am in the process of trying to get 16 Central Illinois teams together to form a League for the fall. My proposal is to use pyramidal questions, no "junk" (vocational, drivers ed, pop culture, home ec. ect) and even move to a three part bonus system with individual rebounding. The compromises I will need to make are twofold. First, the sets will need to include math computation, on an even basis with other disciplines. And the scoring system would need to be aligned with the current IHSA format, or perhaps 15 per tossup / 10 each for bonuses, no powers, no negs. I feel these are acceptable compromises, that move us in the right direction, but based on the retoric of the forum, I suspect it would still be viewed as "bad quiz bowl".
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Charley Pride » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:45 pm

mrgsmath wrote:Here is my problem, I am in the process of trying to get 16 Central Illinois teams together to form a League for the fall. My proposal is to use pyramidal questions, no "junk" (vocational, drivers ed, pop culture, home ec. ect) and even move to a three part bonus system with individual rebounding. The compromises I will need to make are twofold. First, the sets will need to include math computation, on an even basis with other disciplines. And the scoring system would need to be aligned with the current IHSA format, or perhaps 15 per tossup / 10 each for bonuses, no powers, no negs. I feel these are acceptable compromises, that move us in the right direction, but based on the retoric of the forum, I suspect it would still be viewed as "bad quiz bowl".
Maybe others will disagree, but I personally think this is major progress, and while it includes aspects of bad quizbowl, I respect it as good quizbowl, especially because it's such a major improvement over what we currently have.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:16 pm

mrgsmath wrote:Here is my problem, I am in the process of trying to get 16 Central Illinois teams together to form a League for the fall. My proposal is to use pyramidal questions, no "junk" (vocational, drivers ed, pop culture, home ec. ect) and even move to a three part bonus system with individual rebounding. The compromises I will need to make are twofold. First, the sets will need to include math computation, on an even basis with other disciplines. And the scoring system would need to be aligned with the current IHSA format, or perhaps 15 per tossup / 10 each for bonuses, no powers, no negs. I feel these are acceptable compromises, that move us in the right direction, but based on the retoric of the forum, I suspect it would still be viewed as "bad quiz bowl".
I agree with Zahed - while computational math is bad quizbowl, the rest of your proposal is firmly good quizbowl. The scoring system differs from what we consider "normal" for good quizbowl, sure, but like Sorice says below, I doubt that it would really matter to anybody else.

If your proposal uses 5 person teams, the 18 date gets involved, and teams involved would fall into two camps - those that hit the 18 date mark and those that don't. If a team plays this but still doesn't reach 18, it's an immense positive. If teams play this and reach the 18 date mark, they would be restricted from playing IHSA-format tournaments that would undoubtedly be on poor quality questions (because that's all that available) and it's an immense positive. While we might lament the computational math, if it's a dealbreaker, I'd grudgingly make that deal.
Last edited by Irreligion in Bangladesh on Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Captain Sinico » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:22 pm

I have to agree with Zahed and Brad: that would be major progress and I applaud your efforts. Whether what you're looking to implement quite reaches good per se or not is one question, the major sticky wicket for most people being computation; that what you're looking to implement sounds much, much better than what most people around here have now is beyond question. Please let us know if there's anything we can do to move your plans along.
In particular, I don't think anyone would say that having tossups and bonuses scored at 1:2 can do anything to make your quizbowl bad. ACF, PACE, and NAQT all score tossups slightly differently, for example. While most national stuff is based on 1:3, I don't think that's a huge issue for people.

MaS

PS: Also, Brad, if it's a league, do in-week league meets count against the dates? I haven't read that section of the IHSA rules in a while or, what is more likely, neither have nor will, but I have some kind of foggy notion that it discounts in-week stuff. Even if the meets do count against the cap, I'd still say this league has to be a great thing since most central Illinois teams are probably wasting most of their cap any given year and since there are plenty of non-5-on-5 tournaments for teams to go to around the state (even in east-central Illinois, from what I hear) if they want more.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:32 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:PS: Also, Brad, if it's a league, do in-week league meets count against the dates? I haven't read that section of the IHSA rules in a while or, what is more likely, neither have nor will, but I have some kind of foggy notion that it discounts in-week stuff.
I believe it does - my memory is based on A: a fuzzy recollection of Egan dropping Maine South from their conference back in the day because the matches weren't worth wasting up their 18 dates, and B: random conversations back in the day with Winnebago's coaches that involved counting up game dates, and our Monday conference matches were counted.

Edit: I'll also use this post to ask Coach Grant: how would the league be scheduled, if you've got it worked out yet?
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:47 pm

Any date on which your Varsity team plays a 5-on-5 match counts as a date. It does not matter if it is a weekday or weekend. Masonics counts as one date even if your team makes State, and IHSA dates do not count. I think the relevance here is that it probably would be a mistake to play a full round robin without using quads or some other system that involved more than one match per date, but most leagues don't want to do that anyways.

As far as doing what the board wants, I wouldn't worry about that, since you don't have to answer to the board. This board is a good place to learn, discuss, and reflect, but you answer to your own conscience and negotiate with the teams you need to work with.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by the return of AHAN » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:36 am

I endorse Coach Grant's proposal. You'd likely need special timing rules for computational bonus parts, unless you kept computation as toss-up only (but you'll need special timing rules for that, too).
I agree that moves such as this would go a long way towards improving the game within the state. I think change can only happen incrementally. The more teams are exposed to things like individually answered bonus parts, the easier such change occurs if/when the IHSA moves to it.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by mrgsmath » Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:38 pm

My schedule plan is four teams at four locations over 5 weeks. Since most teams in question play 3 team dates,this will actually reduce the number of dates while increasing the number of matches the team plays. By using common questions for the 15 rounds I hope we willl lower the overall cost. Presently the tems meet in October and just have freefor all scheduling meeting. Matches wind up being held with a wide variety of question types and little or no records for comparison.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by CometCoach72 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:40 pm

Bravo Coach Grant. It sounds like you have a winner of an idea. I am hopeful we can get something like that going in our own conference. Good luck and let us know how it turns out. I'm grateful that you are trying to be part of the solution, and I wish you could bottle some of those ideas and drop them on the doorsteps of 8 of the 10 coaches in our conference.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Monk » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:24 am

Computational math might not be fun for everyone, but it isn't evil. If you have question quality, fast pace, and good other distribution, you have what matters.


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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by mrgsmath » Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:00 pm

Invitations went out late yesterday, and even with most schools on Spring break I already have four positive responses and no negative. It seems to be well received. I plan to start a new thread soon to get some of the promised help from you guys.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Dan-Don » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:25 pm

Do any conferences presently use mACF? Coach Grant, you might want to brainstorm with Mr. Laudermith because I have heard rumblings that he switched his league over to mACF.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by jonah » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:32 pm

Both Mr. Laudermith's conference (Metro Suburban, including Fenton, Riverside-Brookfield, Timothy Christian, and Wheaton Academy) and the Big Northern (Burlington Central, Byron, Genoa-Kingston, Hampshire, Harvard, Lutheran, Marengo, North Boone, Oregon, Richmond-Burton, Stillman Valley, and Winnebago) are using ACF-style bonuses. The former is on an IS-A set, the latter on an IS set for varsity and IS-A for frosh-soph.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:37 pm

Can we come up with a more precise wording than ACF bonuses? ACF bonuses means non-rebounding, which I understand is not what most of these conferences would want.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by jonah » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:42 pm

Good point. I suspect but am not certain that both of those conferences use rebounds. Part-by-part bonuses would be a better term.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:52 pm

The BNC used part-by-part rebounding this year on IS and IS-A as described. They're switching away from it next year. I have not heard the entire reason why.
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by jonah » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:56 pm

Wait: switching away from part-by-part bonuses, switching away from rebounding, or both?
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Re: Why is Illinois bad?

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:14 pm

jonah wrote:Wait: switching away from part-by-part bonuses, switching away from rebounding, or both?
Switching away from part-by-part, unfortunately. The partial answer I got from them was "to mesh more with IHSA state series," which is the only other thing 80% of the conference plays.
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