A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

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Matt Weiner
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A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:34 pm

As a reminder, there are 14 total Saturdays in this academic year, and every other academic year, on which either the SAT, PSAT, or ACT are given. For people to move tournaments off of standardized testing dates as a matter of course is basically to declare Saturdays off-limits for high school quizbowl. This is, obviously, a poor idea. Given that only a small fraction of potential players for any given event will be taking advantage of any particular test day, I propose that people stop mentioning "hey that's an SAT date" in every single tournament announcement thread, since there is nothing that can be done about this alleged problem.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by kayli » Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:26 pm

PSATs occur during the school day so that's a non-issue. There are 13 upcoming SAT and ACT dates. A normal school calendar uses a 9 week quarter yielding 36 weeks not taking into account extra weeks for holidays and such. The SAT and ACT dates do not overlap. Therefore there are around 23 good weeks to put a tournament on. I'm not sure about the rest of the country, but we here in Florida certainly don't go to 23 tournaments a year. This might be different in other regions of course. Therefore, I think having a tournament on an SAT or ACT date to be a valid concern.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:37 pm

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:PSATs occur during the school day so that's a non-issue. There are 13 upcoming SAT and ACT dates. A normal school calendar uses a 9 week quarter yielding 36 weeks not taking into account extra weeks for holidays and such. The SAT and ACT dates do not overlap. Therefore there are around 23 good weeks to put a tournament on. I'm not sure about the rest of the country, but we here in Florida certainly don't go to 23 tournaments a year. This might be different in other regions of course. Therefore, I think having a tournament on an SAT or ACT date to be a valid concern.
This is assuming that TDs would be able to hold a tournament whenever they want. There will be sparse months, and there will be dense months. If the only date that reasonably works is an SAT date, then so be it.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by kayli » Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:44 pm

Earthquake wrote:
Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote:PSATs occur during the school day so that's a non-issue. There are 13 upcoming SAT and ACT dates. A normal school calendar uses a 9 week quarter yielding 36 weeks not taking into account extra weeks for holidays and such. The SAT and ACT dates do not overlap. Therefore there are around 23 good weeks to put a tournament on. I'm not sure about the rest of the country, but we here in Florida certainly don't go to 23 tournaments a year. This might be different in other regions of course. Therefore, I think having a tournament on an SAT or ACT date to be a valid concern.
This is assuming that TDs would be able to hold a tournament whenever they want. There will be sparse months, and there will be dense months. If the only date that reasonably works is an SAT date, then so be it.
Right. But I just don't think it's so unreasonable for well established tournaments to just pick a non-SAT/ACT in advance. If there's no other option than to put it on that date, then so be it. But if it's easily avoidable, I don't see why people shouldn't be concerned. I think that people have a right to voice their objection to a certain tournament date on the basis of standardized testing. I think they at least deserve an explanation. But then again, I've never run a tournament before.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:49 pm

But the number of dates isn't the only reason people should stop posting about testing conflicts. I have never ever ever seen a tournament not be able to find a field because they ran against a test date. The only thing I have ever seen as a result of a tournament overlapping with a test is that occasionally a couple teams will have to send slightly different lineups than usual, which last I checked is something that is par for the course at every single tournament. It's simply a non-concern, and it will do almost nothing to diminish a tournament's quality. If you are a player and you really want to go to a tournament, then find a different day to take the test, or if you can't, then suck up that you will have to miss an occasional tournament you want to go to, like everybody else has done at some point or another.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by at your pleasure » Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:01 pm

Well, It would be useful for a list of tournament dates to note SAT/ACT dates. If a prospective tournament host is looking to host at a school that is an standardized testing site, there's a higher potential for room-reservations conflicts. Also, testers may not paticularly want a quizbowl tournament near the testing rooms.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by dxdtdemon » Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:47 am

I remember that when I was in high school, when I found out that the SAT was going to conflict with either OAC Regionals or State, the guidance counselor said that there is an option of taking the test on a weekday for an additional fee in the counselor's office. I'm not sure if they still do that. There are alternate Sunday testing dates for Jews, Seventh-day Adventists, and other people who consider the Sabbath to be on Saturday as well, without an extra fee.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:22 am

Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote: Right. But I just don't think it's so unreasonable for well established tournaments to just pick a non-SAT/ACT in advance. If there's no other option than to put it on that date, then so be it. But if it's easily avoidable, I don't see why people shouldn't be concerned. I think that people have a right to voice their objection to a certain tournament date on the basis of standardized testing. I think they at least deserve an explanation. But then again, I've never run a tournament before.
No one is saying that SAT dates should not be taken into account when planning tournaments. The thing is, most tournament directors aren't only taking SAT dates into account when picking dates. For example, if you're a college team hosting a high school event, you are also taking into account holidays (school, federal, religious), conflicting high school tournaments in your area, and dates of college quizbowl events your team wants to attend. Oh, and you can't even logistically think about hosting a tournament on a home game weekend if your college is in Athens, Clemson, Gainesville, etc. So those types of things whittle the pickings pretty quickly for college programs, and I'm sure high school programs have as many if not more conflicts to consider as well.

Anyway, I think it's safe to accept that most tournament directors put in a good faith effort to avoid conflicts. Like others in this thread, I don't see the point in complaining about a tournament being on an SAT date, and I certainly don't think TDs have explain to anyone why their tournament date happened to fall on one of the testing dates. As that Nazi monkey in Raiders of the Lost Ark discovered, there's no such thing as a perfect date. Sorry, I couldn't resist.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by kayli » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:11 pm

Duke The Dumpster Droese wrote:
Arsonists Get All the Girls wrote: Right. But I just don't think it's so unreasonable for well established tournaments to just pick a non-SAT/ACT in advance. If there's no other option than to put it on that date, then so be it. But if it's easily avoidable, I don't see why people shouldn't be concerned. I think that people have a right to voice their objection to a certain tournament date on the basis of standardized testing. I think they at least deserve an explanation. But then again, I've never run a tournament before.
No one is saying that SAT dates should not be taken into account when planning tournaments. The thing is, most tournament directors aren't only taking SAT dates into account when picking dates. For example, if you're a college team hosting a high school event, you are also taking into account holidays (school, federal, religious), conflicting high school tournaments in your area, and dates of college quizbowl events your team wants to attend. Oh, and you can't even logistically think about hosting a tournament on a home game weekend if your college is in Athens, Clemson, Gainesville, etc. So those types of things whittle the pickings pretty quickly for college programs, and I'm sure high school programs have as many if not more conflicts to consider as well.

Anyway, I think it's safe to accept that most tournament directors put in a good faith effort to avoid conflicts. Like others in this thread, I don't see the point in complaining about a tournament being on an SAT date, and I certainly don't think TDs have explain to anyone why their tournament date happened to fall on one of the testing dates. As that Nazi monkey in Raiders of the Lost Ark discovered, there's no such thing as a perfect date. Sorry, I couldn't resist.
I interpreted the original post as "there is no way to avoid SAT/ACT dates. Therefore, you should stop acknowledging that they may be troublesome to some teams." I'm saying that it is an issue, and it should be brought up whenever a tournament date conflicts with an SAT or ACT date. People deserve at least an explanation and the knowledge that their concerns are taken into account.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:33 pm

Hey dude, I don't know how much yelling at you that the contrary is true will take, but I'm going to repeat that having a quizbowl tournament conflict with the private lives of a few students that might otherwise attend is something that is par for the course at pretty much every tournament that will ever be run. People have different religious practices and holidays, family gatherings, sports/other activities that aren't quizbowl, and their schoolwork to juggle alongside going to tournaments, and deciding which date to to take their SAT or ACT. Since the vast majority of people who might go to a quizbowl tournament will probably have this conflict for something like 4 or less weekends in their entire life, there is no reason for tournament directors to be forced to explain themselves for not being able to accommodate every single attendee of their tournament. If your prerogative is to take the tests instead of play quizbowl, that's fine, but it reflects absolutely nothing on a tournament's date choice, and instead only reflects that a player has different priorities than some other players.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by cvdwightw » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:03 pm

Charlie is 100% right. Yes, we get that SAT and ACT dates are a problem. So are marching band competitions, track meets, AP tests, graduations, spring breaks, parents making students stay home to finish college application essays, etc. It's not like you're going to get a terrible field because just about every team that is considering playing the tournament is showing up shorthanded or not at all; that's why no one schedules tournaments on Thanksgiving weekend or between mid-December and early January. Most tournament directors do actually know whether or not their tournament is on an SAT date and recognize that a couple of teams or players may not be able to come to their tournament. It's not like you post "Hey that's an SAT date" and the tournament director goes "Oops, you know what, we didn't bother checking to see when SAT dates are. We're going to change to a different date." Telling a tournament director that likely already knows it's an SAT date is unproductive at best and we don't need to clutter the forums doing it.
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Re: A proposal regarding standardized testing dates

Post by Howard » Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:22 pm

In my experience, and this will vary regionally of course, SAT dates do indeed significantly affect tournament attendance. Rarely do I attend a tournament on such a date that doesn't have a poor turnout.

I do agree, however, that there shouldn't be a need to post here about it. SAT dates, ACT dates, and just about any other date you might be looking to avoid are generally readily available.

Hosts should investigate potential conflicts prior to planning events. Every once in a while, something happens that wasn't expected, such as a couple years ago when VHSL unexpectedly used the same date on which I was hosting a tournament. It kept some teams away, but it didn't ruin the tournament. Nearly every available date has some sort of drawback. The host needs to weigh the potential losses of each drawback. My recommendation, however, is to choose using your best wisdom and then stick with the date. I've seen little good come from the instances when a date is announced, a few people complain, another date is anounced, a few more people complain, etc. No date is perfect for everyone who'd like to attend a given tournament.
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