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More math computation stuff
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FishyFreshman
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 Posts: 501

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FZW Coach wrote: I value math, which many of you do not, but you also do not have a masters in mathematics and understand some of the beauty involved with it.
This has nothing at all to do with us not wanting math. I think you completely misunderstand our arguments against it. However, if you get the opportunity to edit the math questions and any other questions, please please do. We want our speed check math questions to be "beautiful."

Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:30 am 


Jeffrey Hill
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 Posts: 6335 Location: In between the bright lights and the far unlit unknown (aka Johnson County, KS)

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FishyFreshman wrote: FZW Coach wrote: I value math, which many of you do not, but you also do not have a masters in mathematics and understand some of the beauty involved with it.
This has nothing at all to do with us not wanting math. I think you completely misunderstand our arguments against it. Exactly. I don't want to rekindle this argument in this thread, but I just want to quickly remind you that our opposition to math calculation is not because we don't like math (Matt's a math major, for instance); it stems from math calculations being fundamentally different from questions in every other subject. EDIT: Now in a specific math computation thread, since the argument's bound to get rekindled anyway.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:12 pm 


FZW Coach
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 Posts: 874

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FishyFreshman wrote: However, if you get the opportunity to edit the math questions and any other questions, please please do. We want our speed check math questions to be "beautiful."
I am not smart enough to know what that means. I am assuming this means you despise people who can do math quickly because this could never be a valuable skill in real life, right? Wait . . . I think I get it. This argument against math is made because the assumption is made that those who do math quickly do not know more than you. That's what it is, isn't it? You only look at that particular problem and say, "I could solve it. It just takes me more time." Those able to solve it instantly are able to do so because of extra time they have spent solving problems in the past. My best student this year who was honored last night at our awards ceremony learned his multiplication facts when he was in kindergarten. Those of you who do not like math do not give credit for this foundational work which allows such players to solve problems quicker than others that also do know how to solve them. You also have to respect aggressiveness in this game. Charles beat us to an obvious literature question everyone on my team knew. It didn't mean that he knows literature better than we do. It just meant he went for it. This will always happen with some questions even if they are written in the pyramidal style, as was this one. There are questions where everyone will know the answer at a certain point. I think I better understand your arguements concerning math and your lack of appreciation for those that have put forth extra work to become more skilled at it.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:21 pm 


FishyFreshman
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 Posts: 501

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For the last time Gibbs, I love math. I am great at math. I am fast, and can compete with pretty much anyone in the state. This has absolutely nothing to do with my opposition to math calculation.
I don't despise people that are fast at math, and I am sure it has it's merits in life somewhere. Nothing comes to mind, but I am sure doing math quickly in your head is helpful.
Being able to do math quickly is simply not a direct link to who knows the most math. I don't care how early you knew your multiplication tables, but I know I knew mine early. I excelled in math in school and I studied to get good grades. I knew all the math very well, well enough to score a 5 on the BC Calculus AP test. I knew people that could beat me out on buzzes though, that were in Algebra I, and when I was in Precalculus, I could beat people on buzzes that were in BC Calculus. It's great if people have worked to be fast at math, but that just doesn't mean they are better.
Aggressiveness will always be a part of quiz bowl, but with pyramidal questions buzzer races are pretty rare. A math computation question is ALWAYS a buzzer race, no matter how you word it. Even you have to agree that buzzer races are bad quiz bowl. The team that knows more should be awarded, not the faster team.
I do not lack appreciate for those that put forth extra work to be good at math. I HAVE put forth a ton of extra work to be good at math. That you accuse of me of despising those people or wanted to get rid of these questions because I can be beaten is utterly ridiculous.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:42 pm 


FishyFreshman
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 Posts: 501

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Also, since you are so confidant in your arguments, I would like to again urge you to take them to the national forums and spread the word. Most good quiz bowl circuits don't have math computation, and if you think they should, let them know why.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:44 pm 


Jeffrey Hill
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 Posts: 6335 Location: In between the bright lights and the far unlit unknown (aka Johnson County, KS)

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This also bears repeating: we do NOT advocate removing math entirely; rather, computations should be replaced with noncomputational math theory questions, which I would expect someone deeply interested in math to actually enjoy more than number crunching. Of course, there is an issue of not having enough askable things to keep the share of math the way it is now, but that is not a reason to justify math computations.
Let me put it another way: Even though I got a lot of points in high school off of math computation questions, and I don't do nearly as well on math theory questions, I still believe that math computations do not fit in quizbowl.
More specifically: • 90 of my 230 correct answers senior year were Math (given the MSHSAA distribution, mostly calculations) I had the highest proportion of math answers of anybody on the 2005 team (Michael had 96/708). Of all the questions I answered correctly, math earned me the most points (Social Studies was close behind with 87).
• Districts: 15/28 were math; State: 13/28 were math exactly half of my correct answers in Districts/State were math. On a random unimportant note, coincidentally, my best math game that year was 6 tossups in our game against FZW (Michael got 2 more). In that game, I only had 1 additional tossup (in SS)
My personal stats would have almost been halved without math computation, and I still support removing it, because of the fundamental differences between math computations and every other question in quizbowl. That should tell you immediately that the intent is not to alienate people who are good at quick computations.
EDIT: Rearranged since the "more specifically" footnote ended up being longer than anticipated Edited by U. Lou Sthagaim, Apr 3 2009, 06:15:26 PM.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:50 pm 


socalcaptain
Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 Posts: 1387 Location: Philadelphia, PA

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I don't have numbers to give in support of this, but I would also agree with the others here.
I scored very highly in math in high school, but I believe that there is no way to write a pyramidal math calculation. While I would not personally categorize math as a buzzer race, since there is a significant (yet small) degree of actual math calculation speed involved as well, I do not disagree with the fact that math calculations do not fit in with the overall picture of quiz bowl as MOQBA and others would like to see it.
There are certainly many other fundamental problems with the state of quiz bowl as it currently is in Missouri, and math calculations are at least tolerable (and somewhat defensible, as Coach Gibbs has tried many times to say). However, if we want to make the game align with a more national standard, then math calculations have to go; and I believe that to become a more national powerhouse, Missouri will need to remove math calculations.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:01 pm 


WillHack
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 Posts: 422

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Doing math computations quickly is certainly a valuable life skill, it's just something a lot different from the rest of what's going on in a Quizbowl match. Sort of like if there were occasional interludes in basketball games where the players had to kick the ball into a net. Certainly, kicking the ball into a net is similarly valuable to throwing it into a hoop, but there is a separate, unrelated sport for that (soccer). There are similarly competitions that involve only math computations: math contests. So it seems incongruous that an event in which most of the questions are based purely on knowledge of a specific [thing] should have moments when an entirely different type of play is occuring: the computation.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:23 pm 


redliberte
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 Posts: 422

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FZW Coach wrote: Wait . . . I think I get it. This argument against math is made because the assumption is made that those who do math quickly do not know more than you. That's what it is, isn't it? You only look at that particular problem and say, "I could solve it. It just takes me more time." Those able to solve it instantly are able to do so because of extra time they have spent solving problems in the past. My best student this year who was honored last night at our awards ceremony learned his multiplication facts when he was in kindergarten. Those of you who do not like math do not give credit for this foundational work which allows such players to solve problems quicker than others that also do know how to solve them. ... I think I better understand your arguements concerning math and your lack of appreciation for those that have put forth extra work to become more skilled at it. Coach Gibbs, you've seen Spencer play, right? It should immediately obvious to anyone that watches Liberty play that he IS the kid that put "extra time into learning how to solve problems in the past". He doesn't mention that he got that 5 in BC Calc as a SOPHOMORE. The people that you think are making arguments against math calculation are people like me who are capable of doing the math, but just lack the capacity to do it in 15 seconds. The people who are actually doing the arguing are the people who CAN do the problems in the time given. So stop making this assumption that's all just sour grapes with everyone who wants to see less math calculation, because that's just not the case. It's a terrible assumption, and everyone knows what happens when you assume.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:10 pm 


Charbroil
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 Posts: 1039

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Mr. Gibbs, I'm going to have to agree with the general consensus here and say that if people dislike math computation, it's not often not because they're bad at it or that they don't have an appreciation for math. After all, Matt Chadbourne will have the same degree as you do (or something like that) in math once he's out of college, and he similarly disapproves of math computation in Quiz Bowl. That being said, I'd have to say that I don't have serious issues with math computation. First of all, like Stephanie mentioned (and as we've seen), it's usually people like Spencer (or on a more extreme level, George or Ravi) who get well written math computation tossups correctly (I'm not talking about things like "determine the quadrant of point (x, y)). In any case, I think that if you write math computation so that the question asks for how to find an answer which has different methods of reaching it, and provides methods of decreasing difficulty as the question progresses, you'll have enough pyramidality for high schoolersespecially because the phenomenon of people in Algebra beating people in Calculus remains fairly rare. I actually saw an example of such a question recently in a packet from the UIUC Solo Tournament: Quote: Given the following set of numbers, calculate the variance: 21, 22, 28, 29, 35. To calculate the variance, first you calculate the mean, then sum the squared differences between each number and the mean. Given that the mean is 27, FTP, what is the sum of 6 squared plus 5 squared plus 1 squared plus 2 squared plus 8 squared? If all math computation tossups were written like this, I would want to keep them in the Missouri distribution. Edited by Charbroil, Apr 3 2009, 07:36:29 PM.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:36 pm 


carpenoctem63141
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 Posts: 113 Location: Saint Louis

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Charbroil wrote: If all math computation tossups were written like this, I would want to keep them in the Missouri distribution. Man, but the moderator keeps saying boring stuff while I'm trying to do the math! Totally throws me off, every time.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:45 pm 


Jeffrey Hill
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 Posts: 6335 Location: In between the bright lights and the far unlit unknown (aka Johnson County, KS)

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Charbroil wrote: Quote: Given the following set of numbers, calculate the variance: 21, 22, 28, 29, 35. To calculate the variance, first you calculate the mean, then sum the squared differences between each number and the mean. Given that the mean is 27, FTP, what is the sum of 6 squared plus 5 squared plus 1 squared plus 2 squared plus 8 squared? If all math computation tossups were written like this, I would want to keep them in the Missouri distribution. While in theory I would prefer questions like this over oneliners to (potentially) reduce the influence of speed, it's still really difficult to write questions that way that fairly reward more knowledgeable players. Consider your example for instance: while on the surface it looks like it somewhat fits the pyramidal model, you still have to remember how long it takes to make calculations. If you don't immediately recognize that 21+29 and 22+28 both equal 50, or some other trick to make calculating averages quicker, then by the time you calculate 27, the moderator has probably already said it and you gain nothing from already knowing how to calculate variance. While in theory I would prefer this kind of question, in actual practice, on NAQTstyle math questions, personally I am actually disadvantaged because I try to work the problem immediately, but I'm usually distracted by the moderator still reading, and in this case, I would not determine the average until after the moderator had read "27", thus making it WORSE that I knew what I was doing beforehand. And of course, that's completely ignoring the fact that the question still doesn't educate. All it does is tell you how variance is calculated; nothing about why it's important or what it's used for, and thus, still fundamentally different from all other good quizbowl questions.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:03 pm 


DeckardCain
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 Posts: 4397 Location: Viburnum, Missouri

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FZW Coach wrote: Those able to solve it instantly are able to do so because of extra time they have spent solving problems in the past. Since this is, in fact, what the entire argument boils down to, I'll concentrate my post on an attempt to refute this sentence. As has already been alluded to in this thread, I'm a math major, so it can hardly be argued that I don't appreciate the beauty of mathematics as a field of study. I'm also going to make the notsobold claim that I have spent more time solving math problems than anyone else on this board, save perhaps yourself. Hopefully Spencer will not mind my continuing to use him as this thread's example, but I've certainly spent more time working problems than he has, and I'll go ahead and take this claim one step further and assert that I simply know more about the subject of math than he does. (As an aside, I certainly intend no offense by this statement, nor do I make it for the purpose of tooting my own horn  I'm several years older than he is, after all, and have taken many more math classes, so I offer that as my justification for this statement.) Now, to point out the flaw in this argument. Having moderated at least one, probably more, of Liberty's games over the past couple of years, I feel quite safe in saying that were Spencer and I to face off on a series of math calculation tossups, Spencer would answer more of them than I would, as he simply possesses more computational speed than I do. According to your claim, this should not happen, and my superior math knowledge should translate into successfully winning races to math calculation tossups, and, to use math terminology, I have constructed a counterexample. Can you explain, then, why this counterexample does not, in fact, violate your theorem that the player more knowledgeable in math will win races to calculation tossups?

Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:06 pm 


WillHack
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 Posts: 422

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Haha, yeah, when I first heard the complaints about math computation being unpyramidal I thought, "Couldn't you make pyramidal math?" But even questions like your example, Charles, require computation over general knowledge. I guarantee that our Tom and Mr. Chen would be crunching the numbers with no help from the "extra information" in the question; all of that merely serves as a distraction from the computation.
At that point, the basketball players are taking interludes to kick soccer balls into baskethoop shaped goals . . . if you follow my analogy. ; )

Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:08 pm 


leftsaidfred
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 Posts: 54

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You know, if I were to show the discussion between Spencer Fish and Jeremy Gibbs to 100 random strangers and asked them to identify who is the high school student and who is the adult and elected president and representative of a group of adult coaches who, per their constitution, "shall encourage good sportsmanship and ethical behavior"... well, I don't really need to finish that sentence, do I?
I'm not even going to enter the whole "is math good or bad for quiz bowl" argument. I just think it's a shame that a student tries to enter a conversation regarding the issue with an adult representative, and the adult representative's response is to say, "You just don't like it because you're not good/fast enough at it" or "if you argue against this, you don't respect other people's abilities." How about we leave the childhood insults on the playground and non sequiturs to Samuel Beckett while we interact like intelligent people who enjoy an intelligent discussion about an intelligent activity, Mr. Gibbs? Edited by leftsaidfred, Apr 3 2009, 09:12:46 PM.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:10 pm 


Charbroil
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 Posts: 1039

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Admittedly, Fred, I wouldn't take your point that far because a lot of people genuinely do dislike math computation (in general, not just in Quiz Bowl) because they're bad at math. Of course, I certainly don't think that's the reason Spencer (or anyone else on this board) opposes math computation. However, I imagine that sitting through hours on end of people complaining about doing math because they dislike it and don't appreciate it changes one's perspective somewhat.
Now, back to the original point. Certainly, I would support expanding the distribution of math theory in MSHSAA Academic CompetitionJeffrey brings up an excellent point when he says that a question like the one I showed doesn't test knowledge of what the variance is, rather than how to calculate it.
That being said, I'm still going to stick to my point that good math computation questions are usually answered first at the high school level by better mathematicians. That's probably untrue at the college level (like Matt said), but to defend my argument, I'll push Matt's analogy forward one more step. What if we took some time to teach Spencer a math concept that he'd never seen before and which Matt knew (and had worked with extensively)? Once we were done, if we gave both of them the same question to answer, which person do you think would answer the question first?
Admittedly, there's still the issue of people who are taking Algebra beating people in Calculus on Algebra questions, but I think (based on my admittedly limited personal experience) that there's enough similarity between the various levels of high school math that that's a fairly rare issue because the same topics are repracticed extensively.
Also, to prevent math tossups from being defined by a person being able to do a certain calculation rapidly but not much else, it would probably make sense to have a variety of topics covered in math computationand not in Questions Galore's way of throwing randomly really easy or impossibly hard math at people. I know that the number of topics which can be covered in high school math is somewhat more limited than in, say, history or literature, but I think that there are enough so that someone who was genuinely knowledgeable over a broad spectrum of mathematical topics would come out ahead.
Finally, to address Will's basketball vs. soccer analogy, yes, math computation is much more of a skill than simple knowledge recall (though other types of questions are hardly purely knowledge recall either, but also involve the ability to make inferences, etc.). That being said, if my argument above was true and computation did reflect knowledge, then math computation would still fit under the definition of good Quiz Bowl (which should teach teams something new and/or determine the more knowledgeable team*)
*Definition paraphrased from the QB Wiki, which seems to be down at the moment. Apologies for imprecise definition.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:34 pm 


FishyFreshman
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 Posts: 501

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I have no qualms about being used as an example as long as it is accurate.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:34 pm 


FishyFreshman
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 Posts: 501

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Why would you use computation to measure what *might* be the amount of knowledge someone has over math, when you could just do theory and be certain.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:36 pm 


Charbroil
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 Posts: 1039

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Oh, one other quick thing. Is it really necessary to rehash this debate again? We already knew that Mr. Gibbs supported math computation as it stands in Missouri (impossibly difficult questions, factual errors, and other egregious examples of QG notwithstanding). We already knew that I supported it as long as it was pyramidal, and only at the high school level. We already knew that Jeffrey, Spencer, Charlie, Matt, etc. opposed it. We pretty much already knew the arguments people would throw (I'm rehashing many of the same arguments word for word). Thus, is it really necessary to argue it...again?

Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:37 pm 


FishyFreshman
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 Posts: 501

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It is as long as the arguments are ridiculous and the claims being made by some people are completely baseless.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:38 pm 


Charbroil
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 Posts: 1039

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FishyFreshman wrote: Why would you use computation to measure what *might* be the amount of knowledge someone has over math, when you could just do theory and be certain. Because an aspect of mathematical knowledge is knowing how to apply math to an actual questionyou can force feed anyone the definition of variance, but that doesn't mean that that individual knows how to apply that concept to actual data. At least, that's the way I see it.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:38 pm 


Jeffrey Hill
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 Posts: 6335 Location: In between the bright lights and the far unlit unknown (aka Johnson County, KS)

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Charbroil wrote: Thus, is it really necessary to argue it...again? Well, considering that Coach Gibbs post indicates that he thinks it's because we don't like math, then yes, we are correcting that incorrect assumption.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:39 pm 


FishyFreshman
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 Posts: 501

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Is the application of knowledge really a part of good quiz bowl?

Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:39 pm 


Charbroil
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 Posts: 1039

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Uh...let me further explain what I originally said (back to the variance example)
If I memorize the definition of variance and all of it's permutations, I could power a tossup about variance. However, I wouldn't really know anything about variance if I couldn't apply it to real data because you can know math (and to a lesser degree, science) definitions without really understanding their significance (which one needs application to understand). In contrast, if I read a biography about Henry VIII to know everything about him, I would probably also know not only the facts but also their significance because that's an inherent part of understanding deep works on history (or at the very least, the analysis of the significance is included in the work).
Thus, I believe that the calculation aspect of math tossups is uniquely necessary because it rewards people who know both the definition and its significance. That being said, that's only useful if the calculation actually reward that knowledge rather than who can buzz fastest on a "give the quadrant given the point" question.
Of course, I admit that people who memorize mathematical definitions without understanding them are exceedingly rarebut how many genuinely ignorant yet fast math players have you met? At the very least, someone who's can beat a Calculus student in an Algebra tossup is usually good at Algebrawhich is what's being tested in that tossup in any case. It's like saying that history shouldn't be asked in Quiz Bowl because I can beat a professional historian in a tossup about Henry VIII because I happen to have read about him in more detail (or the night before). <div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89143/'>Charbroil</a>, Apr 3 2009, 09:57:25 PM.</div>

Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:57 pm 


CherryCokeStain
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 Posts: 79

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To me, the biggest problem with math computation in quizbowl is the lack of variety in the tossups, with half of them being, factor this expression, or take the 9000th derivative of whatever. If the people writing the questions have a good variety of topics, and can not have factual errors, then I think it is fine in a 10% distribution and that other 10% can go to the "lit" distribution of QG, which consists of Spelling, Grammar, Cliffnotes, Comic Books, and the occasional tossup about a novel. I think 20% is too much for math, since people who can't get math due to their inability to quickly calculate are removed from 20% of the game. I did math competitions in middle school in which the math had a great variety, would be difficult enough for highschool quizbowl, and could be done in 15 seconds, but all the math questions we hear are basic algebra and geometry or ridiculous trig and calculus, which just test your ability to manipulate numbers (which I am very good at), rather than the ability to understand how to do a problem. Also, math theory questions are much better than computation. Just to throw that in there.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:20 pm 


FishyFreshman
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 Posts: 501

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The greatest math computation player I have ever seen has spoken.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:21 pm 


CherryCokeStain
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 Posts: 79

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Thanks buddy, but I'm not the best out there. Although "that you've seen" is debatable because Ravi and the Kirksville squad have apparently decided they're too cool to compete at tournaments. And you're not half bad yourself.

Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:38 pm 


rjaguar3
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 Posts: 14 Location: Nashville, TN

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As a former Mathcounts national champion and USAMO Honorable Mention and prospective math major, I feel that I can't be sourgraped against like other opponents of math computation. I was good at math computation in high school (as anyone who has played against me can tell), and I know a lot of math theory as well. That being said, there are many problems with math computation questions: 1. Too often, they devolve into Numberwang! questions. For example, one of QG's favorite types of questions is to multiply by 3.14. How does this test math beyond a fourthgrade level. Often times, the computation is harder than the actual math theory, meaning that the person who wins the question can do better arithmetic than their opponent. 2. They are rarely converted and are mystifying and unhelpful for those who aren't already in the inner circle of math computation players. At New Trier Solo, Algebra and Geom/Trig (the two computational categories) were both in the bottom quartile of question conversion. This means wellwritten mathcomp tossups go dead a lot of the time, and even moreso bad mathcomp tossups from our favorite question provider. Also, just hearing the answer is unhelpful for someone who doesn't already know how to do the computation. For example, if I were to hear a tossup on Edward Albee and didn't know the answer, I could at least pick up some titles and plot descriptions that may encourage me to learn more about Albee in order to get more tossups or even for personal edification. On the other hand, if I don't know that i^93 = i, learning that isolated fact is not very helpful. It remains a mystery how to solve similar types of problems, since no hints at the actual procedure are given. As a learning activity, I think pyramidal questions in all other subjects reward players for learning and encourages them to learn (for example, I read Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" after hearing several questions on it). Math computation fails in this regard. 3. The math theory canon is way too small and needs expansion. In college, I absolutely enjoy hearing questions on stuff like Legendre symbols, the ninepoint circle and Abelian groups. In the high school canon, the limit appears to be much narrower. In literature, high schoolers are expected to have passing familiarity with many works of literature, unlike in math, which appears to be restricted to the standard curriculum. It is a shame, as there are so many answers that would be good answers, and unlike in a mathcomp tossup, not knowing the answer can serve as a guide for learning more instead of as more mystification. Overall, math computational tossups are bad and I would like to see more math theory tossups. Of course we can't write 25% math, but we can certainly write 1/1 math theory a round and redistribute the extra questions to stuff that is underrepresented (like RMP in Illinois). Greg <div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/3015385/'>rjaguar3</a>, Apr 4 2009, 01:12:20 AM.</div>

Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:45 pm 


leftsaidfred
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 Posts: 54

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Charbroil wrote: Admittedly, Fred, I wouldn't take your point that far because a lot of people genuinely do dislike math computation (in general, not just in Quiz Bowl) because they're bad at math. Of course, I certainly don't think that's the reason Spencer (or anyone else on this board) opposes math computation. However, I imagine that sitting through hours on end of people complaining about doing math because they dislike it and don't appreciate it changes one's perspective somewhat. The exact post that was being responded to by Gibbs presented actual arguments against mathcomp. Instead of refuting them, Gibbs pulled out the "you must be bad at math" card. "Having to deal with people bad at math who don't like math" is not a valid reaction, it's an excuse.

Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:07 am 


leftsaidfred
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 Posts: 54

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U. Lou Sthagaim wrote: Charbroil wrote: Thus, is it really necessary to argue it...again? Well, considering that Coach Gibbs post indicates that he thinks it's because we don't like math, then yes, we are correcting that incorrect assumption. Quoting this because it's utterly correct.

Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:08 am 


Charbroil
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 Posts: 1039

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That's trueI'm not saying that Gibbs' argument was right, just noting where he might have come from.
In any case, I wouldn't necessarily want math computation to be 10% of the distribution, with the other 10% as literature (as Grant seems to advocate), but I'd certainly like it if that other 10% was math theorythat fits in very nicely with my argument about how computation reflects half of understanding about math at the high school level.

Sat Apr 04, 2009 3:45 pm 


CherryCokeStain
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 Posts: 79

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I wasn't really advocating that the math should really all be literature, i think that there should be a 10% math theory, and that that other 10% that would have been math should go to what questions galore does not cover, namely literature, RMP, history, and actual science.

Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:01 pm 


Charbroil
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 Posts: 1039

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Gotcha.
In that case, ignore my attributing part of my idea to Grant. It's my opinion that 10% of the math computation part of MSHSAA's distribution could be rerouted into math theory, which I believe would be a fairly decent compromise between all parties involved.

Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:04 pm 


FishyFreshman
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2007 Posts: 501

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Would that not be like asking about a great work of literature, and then asking to explain the theme in literary terms? Your 10% math theory would be asking for quizable knowledge, while the 10% computation would be asking you to apply it.

Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:07 pm 


Charlie Dees
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 Posts: 4134 Location: Columbia, MO

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Right, crafting essays to analyze important books or historical events, or performing scientific experiments, are all important skills you learn to perform in high school, and are analogous to performing computations. Just because they come up in school does not make those activities appropriate for quizbowl, because the whole function of quizbowl is simply to recall facts, not apply them.

Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:11 pm 


Charbroil
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 Posts: 1039

More math computation stuff
To some degree, that's true, but that sort of application is also implied in many tossups on other topics like history. For example, history tossups often don't just give facts"This individual did X, Y Z," but rather say things like "This individual did X in response to Y as a result of Z." For example, this tossup, from HSAPQ ACF Set #1, Round 1: Quote: This man defeated Frank Lowden to win his party's presidential nomination. As president, he signed the NorrisLaGuardia Act and created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The Secretary of Commerce for Warren Harding, he headed the American Food Administration in World War I, and this president chose to sign the HawleySmoot Tariff in response to the calamity that doomed his presidency. For 10 points, name this president who lost the 1932 election to Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression.
Answer: Herbert Hoover This tossup requires not only knowledge about the facts of Hoover's administration ("chose to sign the HawleySmoot Tariff"), but also implicitly assumes that one understands the deeper analysis behind Hoover's actions ("in response to the calamity that doomed his presidency"). However, a pure math theory tossup doesn't test that deeper analysis because part of that analytic component is calculation based. This sort of implied analysis is even more marked in tossups on topics like psychology and philosophy (From HSAPQ Set 1, Round 3): Quote: This work allows that a person could problematically conceive of a neverbeforeseen shade of blue if given all other shades of blue. It divides "Relations of Ideas" and "Matters of Fact" in drawing a contrast between analytic knowledge like algebra and synthetic knowledge of nature, a concept that is known as its author's namesake "fork." Drawn from its author's earlier Treatise on Human Nature and said to have awoken Immanuel Kant from his "dogmatic slumber," for 10 points, name this philosophical work about knowledge by David Hume.
Answer: Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding Almost all of the facts of this work require some degree of analysis of Hume's arguments. While the information in the first and second sentences is probably explicitly presented in the book itself, the part about "[awakening] Immanuel Kant from his 'dogmatic slumber.'" is going to be pure analysis for most people who get this questionsomeone else described how Kant was influenced by Hume, or Kant wrote that and the person who got the question was reading about Hume and how he related to Kant. Thus, given that some degree of analysis is present in tossups on most other topics but is often missing in math theory, why shouldn't that lack be remedied by math computation? Edited by Charbroil, Apr 4 2009, 06:02:10 PM.

Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:01 pm 


Charlie Dees
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 Posts: 4134 Location: Columbia, MO

More math computation stuff
I still think that you are wrong. The Hoover thing is just a case of a clue that is supposed to aid in lateral thinking. It's hardly prompting an earth shattering leap of thought, and is basically just supposed to be there to encourage you to guess a president who had a huge disaster that doomed his career and future chances at reelection (and frankly, there's only one I can think of). That is just a statement that is supposed to make sure you know it's Hoover, and is only really placing some context for the HawleySmoot clue along with provide more middle clues about what the Great Depression was, so that you get pointed in that direction. As for the tossup on Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, I am going to have to assume your judgement there is made out of ignorance. The statement about how it awoke Kant from his dogmatic slumber is not just a random analysis that forces players to figure it out. It is a quote directly from Kant's Prolegmena to any Future Metaphysics describing the work, and is thus something that players like myself easily can memorize and recall as a fact about the Enquiry without having to play any games of logic.

Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:13 pm 


Charbroil
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 Posts: 1039

More math computation stuff
Fair enoughthe Kant thing was a mistake on my part. I agree that the SmootHawley context wasn't a massive jump in thought, but I would also say that calculating a quantity isn't a massive jump from knowing what the definition of that quantity is.
In any case, I guess we're stuck with agreeing to disagreewhich seems to be how all of these discussions end anyway. *Shrug*

Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:39 pm 



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