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The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State 
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Charbroil wrote:
To Everyone Else: That being said, that tossup makes an awful example for the same reason--it's nonrepresentative of the best efforts of NAQT (and other question writers) to make calculation pyramidal. Sean, do you still have WUHSAC's top 8 round? It had a computation question with an obscure calculation, followed by an easier one (1 + 1/x) as x goes to infinity--which requires knowledge that 1/infinity = 0 but isn't as hard to do, then a really easy way of finding the answer. What would the issue be with that one? (assuming the first calculation is relatively quick to do for a knoledgable individual).

If so, please post it so that we can debate that tossup (which I recall was fairly good) on its merits as to whether it prevents a more knowledgable individual from being beaten out by a less knowledgable one (which I believe we all agree is the major issue with non-pyramidality).
I think this is what you're after - this is an unedited version of it though (I think the question ended up asking only for volume, but the gist of it is here anyway)

Pencil and paper ready. The mathematical shape Gabriel’s horn is created by rotating the function 1/x about the x-axis to create a long, tapered trumpet-like shape. Its volume along the interval from x=1 to x=a is given by the equation pi(1-1/a), and its surface area along the same interval is 2pi*ln(a). If the horn is infinitely long, that is, if we allow a to approach infinity, what values will the horn’s volume and surface area approach? You have ten seconds.

Volume: pi, Surface Area infinity


Tue May 12, 2009 1:51 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
This is almost a non sequitur. Nothing about MSHSAA's bureaucracy affects the realities of good quizbowl. If he actually argued that I would be able quite handily to laugh him down, and I don't think he would ever be so naive as to think that had anything to do with quizbowl arguments. On the flipside though, if he said I don't have real qualification to discuss dealing with bureaucracies because I don't, he might have a point I would agree with, and that would have nothing to do with quizbowl. To present such a nonsensical argument continues to not convince me you have anything enlightened to add to the discourse.


Tue May 12, 2009 1:51 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Quote:
Thus, saying that "I'm a player, not a writer" is a rather poor argument because good players are both.


I'm sorry if I offended anyone with what I said. That being said, that remark wasn't an actual argument in itself. It was poking fun at the ridiculous nature of the original argument of "If Marc likes math calc so much, he should write them!" That isn't really an argument, at least not a valid one. Whether or not I write math calc questions has nothing to with whether or not they are legitimate questions.

And yes, I acknowledge that math calculations may be difficult to write. But no one has made the argument that math calculation isn't worth addressing. The only pseudo-response on this is that it is not "germane to people's lives," which I and others have pointed out as an utterly ridiculous statement.

As far as when I say "I've already addressed this," I understand that people don't want to go back and read, but I also don't feel like repeating myself indefinitely because some people don't feel like actually responding to what I've written.

I actually like the Gabriel's Horn question because it A) Necessitates the "theoretical knowledge" which the pyramidophiles profess to love so much i.e. how to take limits and B) requires a player to apply that theoretical knowledge in a practical manner.

I don't know how to say this any other way, but just because a questions isn't pyramidal doesn't make it a bad question. Pyramidal questions effectively test knowledge of certain subjects, but we've already agreed that math calc is a different type of question and thus necessitates a different format. I just don't see what's so wrong with that.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/3023101/'>PaxHispanica</a>, May 12 2009, 03:03:51 PM.</div>


Tue May 12, 2009 2:03 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
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I don't know how to say this any other way, but just because a questions isn't pyramidal doesn't make it a bad question. Pyramidal questions effectively test knowledge of certain subjects, but we've already agreed that math calc is a different type of question and thus necessitates a different format. I just don't see what's so wrong with that.

It doesn't make for a logically consistent, good quizbowl question. It makes for a good math league question if you are into that sort of thing.


Tue May 12, 2009 2:07 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
How is it a non sequitur? You continue to call for MSHSAA to change how it handles quizbowl, and chastise Mr. Gibbs for not getting it done. If he happened to tell you to shut up because you clearly have no idea how to work with a bureaucracy, how is that not analogous to what you just tried to tell me?


Tue May 12, 2009 2:12 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Upon reading the question, I actually dislike it a bit more--I though the first sentence was uniquely identifying, while in this case it actually wasn't. (No offense, John--and thanks for pulling it up for me)

The question as I would have done it would be (bearing in mind that I've never written computation before):

"Revised Tossup" wrote:
Pencil and paper ready. (1) Find the volume of the mathematical shape Gabriel’s horn if it was infinitely long. (2) Gabriel's horn is created by rotating the function 1/x about the x-axis to create a long, tapered trumpet-like shape. (3) Its volume along the interval from x=1 to x=a is given by the equation pi(1-1/a). (4) Thus, if we allow a to approach infinity, what values will the horn’s volume? You have ten seconds.


The first sentence of my edited tossup gives the whole problem in a nutshell--you know how to do this problem if you know what Gabriel's Horn is and how to find the volume of a function using the washer method. The second reminds you what Gabriel's Horn is (the harder aspect of the first part). The third gives you the formula to solve the volume (in case you forgot both of the facts needed by the first sentence) and the fourth gives you an additional clue to use that formula (in case you don't realize that you should plug infinity into a).

I think this is what computation questions should be like because it's pyramidal in that the answer is uniquely defined from the very beginning and it goes from greatest to least difficulty. The first sentence requires a deep knowledge of calculus and various mathematical figures to answer the question, the second requires the knowledge of calculus but no knowledge of the figures, the third requires basic calculus or pre calculus (limits), and the fourth can be solved by anyone who realizes that 1/infinity equals zero (which is learned early in pre-calculus and some times in algebra).

That being said, Marc & Jack, it's worth noting that Charlie does make a good argument in saying "Many very talented people have tried writing these questions, and they've never figured out a way of doing so." I think that's a fairly strong argument because he's write that you guys simply don't know all of the parameters of the debate you're trying to engage in--so that even if your arguments are sometimes valid, they're essentially shots in the dark. For example, Marc, when you say:

Quote:
I don't know how to say this any other way, but just because a questions isn't pyramidal doesn't make it a bad question.


You don't realize that people want pyramidal questions not out of some neurotic obsession with them, but because they better test deep knowledge of a topic--something I think we all agree should trump basic knowledge in a tossup.

And also, the original argument wasn't "If Marc likes math calc so much, he should write them" in the dismissive sense so much as "If Marc thinks he's found a way of writing a pyramidal math computation tossup (as defined in my last paragraph), he should write some so as to show the rest of us."


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89143/'>Charbroil</a>, May 12 2009, 03:22:26 PM.</div>


Tue May 12, 2009 2:21 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Because your argument is that Gibbs might say I don't have the qualifications to discuss change in quizbowl because I don't have experience with bureaucracies. The two things have nothing to do with each other. I have spent enough time around quizbowl to be able to informatively pass a judgment on good or bad quizbowl. The ability to do that has nothing to do with my experience dealing with bureaucracies. To think that the two are interrelated makes no sense - quizbowl is quizbowl. Unlike that, I am saying that you don't have enough quizbowl experience to pass a judgment on quizbowl.


Tue May 12, 2009 2:21 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Charbroil wrote:
people want pyramidal questions not out of some neurotic obsession with them, but because they better test deep knowledge of a topic--something I think we all agree should trump basic knowledge in a tossup.

That's what I've been saying this entire thread, actually. What no one seems to want to admit is that there just might be other styles of question writing that test knowledge well, especially when you have to accommodate different material, like a math calculation.

My main problem is that no one seems to know why exactly naqt is phasing out math questions. I mean, if Charles can write a question which he thinks A) tests appropriate knowledge of math and B) is pyramidal (!!!!!!!!) in about 5 minutes, I don't see why exactly naqt can't. Maybe there is an actual reason. Maybe quiz bowl players on the whole at the college level suck at math. Who knows? Apparently no one.




<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/3023101/'>PaxHispanica</a>, May 12 2009, 03:32:37 PM.</div>


Tue May 12, 2009 2:31 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Charbroil wrote:
Upon reading the question, I actually dislike it a bit more--I though the first sentence was uniquely identifying, while in this case it actually wasn't. (No offense, John--and thanks for pulling it up for me)
None taken - I wasn't fond of the opening myself. Also, here is (what I believe to be) the final version used in the tournament:

Pencil and paper ready. Erin wants to find the volume inside a particular surface of revolution. The mathematical shape Gabriel’s horn is created by rotating the function 1/x about the x-axis to create a long, tapered trumpet-like shape. Its volume along the interval from x=1 to x=a is given by the integral of the product pi and the square of the function, which gives the equation V= pi(1-1/a). [“pi times the quantity one minus one over a”] If the horn is infinitely long, that is, if we allow a to approach infinity, what value will the horn’s volume approach? You have fifteen seconds.

ANSWER: pi


In this version, it at least identified that it wanted volume, but doesn't specify right away that it wants the volume of an infinitely long Gabriel's Horn until the second to last sentence, which is problematic. Hopefully we can fix things like this for next year's installment (on an unrelated note, we might change the distribution to have less math calc anyway).


Tue May 12, 2009 2:32 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
In any case, Jack, I'm not trying to shut you down with my superior experience (for one thing, it isn't very superior). Thus, would you like to address my argument that the example tossup (find the derivative of 4x^2-6x-ln(x)--or something close) was bad because it was nonpyramidal because it only allowed individuals at one level of knowledge to answer it?

If I'd written the question, it would have at least gone:

Sample Tossup wrote:
Pencil and paper ready. Find the slope of the function 4x^2-6x-ln(x) at 3. To do so, take the first derivative and set x equal to 3. To do that, it's worth noting that the derivative of ln(x) is 1/x, and that the power rule dictates that the derivative can be found by multiplying the coefficient of x by the power of x and reducing the power by one. Thus, find the value of 8x-6-1/x at 3.


Note--I wrote this in two minutes, so forgive me for typos. My point is that this tossup at least allows people at different levels of math to plausibly answer it at different times (the point of pyramidality). It's true that two people who have the same knowledge of math would get it at the same time--however, I don't think that's much different from two people knowing the same fact at the same time and buzzer racing it.

Can you honestly say that there's no advantage to at least this much pyramidality in math tossups? Or that the Questions Galore version does just as good a job of awarding deep knowledge as this tossup does? Also, Marc, if I can write this (with no computational math tossup writing experience whatsoever) in two minutes, don't you think it would be nice if you could give us an example of your theoretical solution to the math computation issue in the form of an actual tossup so that we can stop debating abstractions and discuss a concrete example of your theories?


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89143/'>Charbroil</a>, May 12 2009, 03:37:56 PM.</div>


Tue May 12, 2009 2:35 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Marc, you understand that the reason why you are wrong is that no matter how much you try to argue that the faster player is the more knowledgeable one, or that there are multiple ways to test deep knowledge, every attempt to prove this right has turned into just more demonstration that it doesn't work no matter what kind of question you try to write, no? NAQT tried those kinds of questions, and people playing them agree they still boil down to computation speed. People in Illinois tried the method of ramping up the difficulty, and their fastest computation player by far has come out and said it doesn't work either. We all know that the other method of 3rd grade arithmetic and multiplication doesn't do anything good. To backhandedly claim nonsense about how the reason it is being abandoned is because people are bad at math is insulting. Some of the proponents of replacing computation with theory like Matt Chadbourne, Jeffrey Hill, Mike Sorice, Seth Teitler, Eric Mukherjee, and Jerry Vinokurov have or are about to get Math or engineering degrees that would suggest they are knowledgeable about math. The reason places are abandoning it right and left is just because all of the "solutions" put forward have actually backfired when put into practice, including those you advocate for.


Tue May 12, 2009 2:42 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
PaxHispanica wrote:
I mean, if Charles can write a question which he thinks A) tests appropriate knowledge of math and B) is pyramidal (!!!!!!!!) in about 5 minutes, I don't see why exactly naqt can't.
It's rather difficult to come up with the amount of math calculation that MSHSAA distribution requires and still have the questions be pyramidal. There is a very small number of askable topics that can be done pyramidally. While the derivative question that Charles just posted is in fact basically pyramidal, any competent math player is going to buzz in after the first sentence - heck, probably anyone who has taken calculus and remembers anything about derivatives at all.


Tue May 12, 2009 2:44 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Charbroil wrote:
Can you honestly say that there's no advantage to at least this much pyramidality in math tossups? Or that the Questions Galore version does just as good a job of awarding deep knowledge as this tossup does?
Yes, there is. Which proves that math calc isn't worthless, at least by your own standards. Also, even if QG math calc sucks, QG sucks in general, and thus you can't really bash on QG math calc and use that as a representative example of all math calc.

Quote:
Also, Marc, if I can write this (with no computational math tossup writing experience whatsoever) in two minutes, don't you think it would be nice if you could give us an example of your theoretical solution to the math computation issue in the form of an actual tossup so that we can stop debating abstractions and discuss a concrete example of your theories?


Why? You've just provided a perfect example of what I'm talking about with your modified Gabriel's Horn question.


Tue May 12, 2009 2:44 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
johnboy81918 wrote:
In this version, it at least identified that it wanted volume, but doesn't specify right away that it wants the volume of an infinitely long Gabriel's Horn until the second to last sentence, which is problematic.
I don't know--wouldn't my version have solved that problem? Whereas I understand (if not entirely agree with) reducing math computation for any number of reasons, an inability to specify one unique answer from the beginning doesn't seem to be a good argument.

Quote:
My main problem is that no one seems to know why exactly naqt is phasing out math questions. I mean, if Charles can write a question which he thinks A) tests appropriate knowledge of math and B) is pyramidal (!!!!!!!!) in about 5 minutes, I don't see why exactly naqt can't.


I think they're doing it for the same reasons mentioned on the HSAPQ website Charlie referenced. Also, I didn't write that tossup--I just adapted it. Also, I don't think it's perfect--I'm sure someone will find issues with it.

That being said, like I mentioned, if I can write the other one, could you give us an example of what you think would make a good math computation tossup?


Tue May 12, 2009 2:49 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Quote:
It's rather difficult to come up with the amount of math calculation that MSHSAA distribution requires and still have the questions be pyramidal. There is a very small number of askable topics that can be done pyramidally. While the derivative question that Charles just posted is in fact basically pyramidal, any competent math player is going to buzz in after the first sentence - heck, probably anyone who has taken calculus and remembers anything about derivatives at all.


Sure, then change MSHSAA distribution to include both calculation and theory. I'm not saying that the current system is fine, I'm just saying that there's still a place for math calculation questions. And you can always ask about things other than simple derivatives in the tossups and then maybe use a derivatives question as a bonus. There are just so many possibilities.

To address Charlie, there's nothing wrong with computation speed being the determining factor, in my opinion. The more practiced players, the ones with more experience in math, are going to get them faster, and shouldn't this be what we're rewarding? Competence? Practice?

Quote:
To backhandedly claim nonsense about how the reason it is being abandoned is because people are bad at math is insulting.


Ok, apparently sarcasm doesn't carry over the web. I was not actually suggesting that people are bad at math. I apologize if I gave that impression.


Tue May 12, 2009 2:52 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Charbroil wrote:
johnboy81918 wrote:
In this version, it at least identified that it wanted volume, but doesn't specify right away that it wants the volume of an infinitely long Gabriel's Horn until the second to last sentence, which is problematic.
I don't know--wouldn't my version have solved that problem? Whereas I understand (if not entirely agree with) reducing math computation for any number of reasons, an inability to specify one unique answer from the beginning doesn't seem to be a good argument.
Sorry for the confusion: I was referring to the unedited version of the tossup, and saying that even the edited version that went into the final packet was not executed very well.


Tue May 12, 2009 3:17 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
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To address Charlie, there's nothing wrong with computation speed being the determining factor, in my opinion.

Then you are advocating for bad quizbowl by definition.


Tue May 12, 2009 3:17 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Ugh, are we seriously having another math thread?

ashkenaziCD wrote:
Quote:
To address Charlie, there's nothing wrong with computation speed being the determining factor, in my opinion.

Then you are advocating for bad quizbowl by definition.
Yeah, Marc, this is in fact the problem I have with your entire argument. If computation speed was an accurate indicator of which player actually has better knowledge of the mathematics in question, I and presumably others wouldn't have so much of an issue. See here for a more detailed exposition of my claim that this is not true.

If you disagree with my entire premise, then please expound upon that; if you believe that what I have to say is plausible but don't see a problem with it, then I'm going to have to agree with Charlie that what you are arguing for is in fact bad quizbowl.


Tue May 12, 2009 4:17 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
The Gabriel's Horn problem was nice. But I still think it works better as a non-calc pyramidal tossup.

For example,


"This number is the volume of Gabriel's Horn....(blah blah blah uniquely defining clues for pi)...It is also the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, approximately 3.14."


In this question, no calculation is involved. However, it still tests one's mathematical knowledge. To get the question after that first clue, one would have to know some amount of calculus, not merely how to apply simple differentiation, but rather, a broad base of knowledge in the actual field.


Tue May 12, 2009 5:35 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Hmm, nice idea, Ikshu--I like it.

I'll have to agree with Matt on the math computation speed thing, by the way, Marc. Whereas I think it's tolerable to have a tossup decided on computational speed when both players exhibit the same level of knowledge on the topic (as in two people buzzing in at the same time on a pyramidal computation tossup), it's not good when the tossup is "Factor x^2-6x-9" ((x-3)(x-3)) and someone in Algebra I beats someone past Calculus BC because that person happens to be faster.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89143/'>Charbroil</a>, May 12 2009, 06:52:04 PM.</div>


Tue May 12, 2009 5:46 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
If the issue is that computation speed does not necessarily correlate with math knowledge, why not replace MSHSAA's current like 8/8 computation and 2/2 theory distribution with 10/5 theory, 0/5 computation? This at least solves the problem of buzzer races.

However, how is the hypothetical proposed calculation race between Spencer and Mr. Chadbourne different from, say, if a player had just studied PCR in biology, and was able to get a tossup on it before a biology major?


Tue May 12, 2009 6:41 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Presumably, there would be more to PCR that the biology major should know and not the high schooler?

Your solution is actually harsher than what I was thinking--I'd go for 10/0 theory and 0/10 computation or 8/2 theory and 2/8 computation. Still, I'm glad you're getting the point.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89143/'>Charbroil</a>, May 12 2009, 07:51:40 PM.</div>


Tue May 12, 2009 6:50 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Let's deal in reality here - you aren't going to be able to come up with 70 math theory questions that you would need per tournament, much less a lot more, that are well written. We need to recognize that quizbowl shouldn't be dictated by the curriculum, and instead should be dictated by a mix of how many people you can expect to know different subjects, and how many high quality pyramidal questions you can feasibly write within a subject. We need to severely reduce the current distribution of math for us to meet that criteria, unless you can prove me wrong and come up with a whole MSHSAA tournament's worth of good topics to write on.


Tue May 12, 2009 7:58 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Marc,

Thanks for your arguments concerning the value of math calculations. I certainly support all that you had to say. Congratulations on your state championship, the second of your career! That is quite impressive! I wish we had gotten that last question vs. NKC and had a chance to play you. The question still haunts me in my sleep . . . . Seriously (A Doll’s House)! The other day a girl in my stats class (only three left with the seniors having graduated) had an essay on a quote from the play on her desk. I almost cried. . . . . Too many close losses this year. Good luck with your college studies!

From what I understand the father of Charles Dees is a lawyer. He has certainly picked up many of the necessary skills to be good in that profession. His arguments against math are pretty persuasive and certainly have changed the minds of some of the contributors to this forum. Well done with that!

Why no math in college? I am assuming because you do not want to bother the math majors. When I was in college, the math club started an intramural quiz bowl tournament. We probably had 12 – 16 teams participate each year. That’s pretty good considering this was Culver-Stockton College with about 1000 students. My team finished 3rd the first year (stupid substitution mistake). We didn’t make the same mistake the next year. We just kept our main four in the entire time. We won! Math was involved (which was my area of expertise along with history - double major). I am not sure why you would want a game that limited your possible population, but you can certainly do what you want with this. The college game is certainly not my area of expertise.

I am planning on compiling a long list of good math computational questions. I will probably work on this tomorrow. I need this list by Wednesday when we have our meeting to show the value of math questions (computational and otherwise) to any who may question it.

Why would you not want a game that reflects the curriculum? Those of us who are educators believe in what we do and believe the game should reflect that effort. This allows us to promote the game easily in the school as one of our main cogs. At FZW, the principal had a display of our 2nd place/1st place trophies from tournaments this year. Additionally, he mentioned our state result in his graduation speech. Why would you not want a game that reflects what your teachers are doing on a daily basis?

Charles Dees, I certainly respect you in many things. However, your computational ability is not one of those areas. As a result, it is difficult for me to accept your argument that we would never want to test computational skills in good quizbowl at the high school level. When you and Brandon failed to answer x^2 – 4 = 0 (or it may have asked for the x-intercepts or roots of that function) last year when we played you at Kirksville, your entire argument against the value of math calculations seems somewhat lost on me. I believe good computational ability is quite valuable in many areas of life and is a legitimate subject to be asked in the game.

Of course, we lost the first game to NKC mostly because Grant was more aggressive with the math calculation questions than we were. I can live with that. “Well done” is what I say! I would much rather walk away feeling my opponent out played us than that the game did not really test our full ability.


I hope you had fun at NAQT Nationals. We may want to attend next year. It depends on how strong the team is looking. We will be returning 3 starters from the state team, so I guess anything is possible (Julia will be missed certainly).


Sat May 30, 2009 9:47 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
It can still reflect the curriculum in math theory questions. If you REALLY want quiz bowl to reflect the curriculum in the way you are suggesting, then there ought to be questions like "How do you fix a carburetor?" and "Can you play me a high C on the clarinet without squeaking?", because those are also practical applications of theoretical knowledge that are reflected in the classes that some quiz bowlers take. 'But they're electives,' you say. But so is higher level math when you come down to it, because, for instance, I didn't need Calculus to graduate.

Oh, and your "not bothering the math majors" argument is also not good, because as has been said many times, people like Matt Chadbourne are very involved and also very successful, yet Matt is a math major...


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89051/'>socalcaptain</a>, May 30 2009, 11:30:26 PM.</div>


Sat May 30, 2009 10:28 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Really? This your counterargument?


I will just let it rest. Maybe you know more than me. I mean, you don't need calculus to graduate.


I have come to accept that people complain non-stop about questions no matter what they are or where they are. At ACF nationals, there was non-stop complaining (notably from Illinois). Watching the blog at NAQT nationals, non-stop complaining about math, geography, trash, etc.


To me, it is not respectable. But, that is the nature of the game. You will note that you will not find my team participating in such open complaining. I put a stop to it any time I hear it.


Sun May 31, 2009 10:54 am
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
That's PART of my (and everybody else's) counterargument. There are plenty of reasons that we think math computation isn't part of our idea of good quiz bowl. I was just responding to your point about it reflecting the curriculum. And my point about not needing Calc was intended to reflect the fact that there are even quiz bowl players who haven't taken Calculus, just like there are players who haven't taken band or art, yet we don't ask everyone to play an instrument or paint a picture, so why do we ask them to do math computation?

It's not complaining. Complaining about questions is saying that they're too hard. What we're trying to do is advocate - to come out and say why we think something is wrong and defend our opinion to those who don't agree, and to provide a solution. By not letting your team participate in discussion, you're actually keeping them pretty closed-minded and protecting them from learning about alternatives to the MSHSAA style. Even if they continued to disagree, it would still mean they're hearing what we have to say.

I don't and will never look down on teams who only play MSHSAA quiz bowl - in fact, keep in mind that I NEVER ONCE played anything other than MSHSAA style while I was in high school. I was good at it - really good. I scored less points my entire college season than I did in one game of high school. And then I went back and moderated for districts and sectionals, and was really disappointed in the questions. When you've never experienced something better, I guess what you have seems to work just fine.


Sun May 31, 2009 3:36 pm
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Location: Nashville, TN
Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
FZW Coach wrote:
Marc,

Thanks for your arguments concerning the value of math calculations. I certainly support all that you had to say. Congratulations on your state championship, the second of your career! That is quite impressive! I wish we had gotten that last question vs. NKC and had a chance to play you. The question still haunts me in my sleep . . . . Seriously (A Doll’s House)! The other day a girl in my stats class (only three left with the seniors having graduated) had an essay on a quote from the play on her desk. I almost cried. . . . . Too many close losses this year. Good luck with your college studies!

From what I understand the father of Charles Dees is a lawyer. He has certainly picked up many of the necessary skills to be good in that profession. His arguments against math are pretty persuasive and certainly have changed the minds of some of the contributors to this forum. Well done with that!

Why no math in college? I am assuming because you do not want to bother the math majors. When I was in college, the math club started an intramural quiz bowl tournament. We probably had 12 – 16 teams participate each year. That’s pretty good considering this was Culver-Stockton College with about 1000 students. My team finished 3rd the first year (stupid substitution mistake). We didn’t make the same mistake the next year. We just kept our main four in the entire time. We won! Math was involved (which was my area of expertise along with history - double major). I am not sure why you would want a game that limited your possible population, but you can certainly do what you want with this. The college game is certainly not my area of expertise.

I am planning on compiling a long list of good math computational questions. I will probably work on this tomorrow. I need this list by Wednesday when we have our meeting to show the value of math questions (computational and otherwise) to any who may question it.

Why would you not want a game that reflects the curriculum? Those of us who are educators believe in what we do and believe the game should reflect that effort. This allows us to promote the game easily in the school as one of our main cogs. At FZW, the principal had a display of our 2nd place/1st place trophies from tournaments this year. Additionally, he mentioned our state result in his graduation speech. Why would you not want a game that reflects what your teachers are doing on a daily basis?

Charles Dees, I certainly respect you in many things. However, your computational ability is not one of those areas. As a result, it is difficult for me to accept your argument that we would never want to test computational skills in good quizbowl at the high school level. When you and Brandon failed to answer x^2 – 4 = 0 (or it may have asked for the x-intercepts or roots of that function) last year when we played you at Kirksville, your entire argument against the value of math calculations seems somewhat lost on me. I believe good computational ability is quite valuable in many areas of life and is a legitimate subject to be asked in the game.

Of course, we lost the first game to NKC mostly because Grant was more aggressive with the math calculation questions than we were. I can live with that. “Well done” is what I say! I would much rather walk away feeling my opponent out played us than that the game did not really test our full ability.


I hope you had fun at NAQT Nationals. We may want to attend next year. It depends on how strong the team is looking. We will be returning 3 starters from the state team, so I guess anything is possible (Julia will be missed certainly).


Quote:
Why no math in college? I am assuming because you do not want to bother the math majors.


Excuse me, but as I've said, I'm a math major, and I have no problem with there being no mathcomp questions on the college circuit. I enjoy having math theory questions, and I think theory questions are a fair, knowledge-rewarding way to test math knowledge.

Quote:
I am not sure why you would want a game that limited your possible population, but you can certainly do what you want with this.


As I said, I (one of the best math computation players in Illinois) certainly don't feel limited. And the collegiate circuit, as well as several other state circuits, are perfectly fine without math computation.

Quote:
I am planning on compiling a long list of good math computational questions.


If you do get this list, please post it to the board so that we can see what a good math computation question looks like. If it is true that there is a pyramidal math question that rewards actual math knowledge and satisfies the criteria of good quizbowl-writing that other questions are expected to follow, as opposed to the important higher-level math ability of doing third-grade multiplication fast, I will have nothing more to say.

Quote:
Why would you not want a game that reflects the curriculum?...Why would you not want a game that reflects what your teachers are doing on a daily basis?


Yeah, let's have the students properly use exercise equipment, drive automobiles, and cook a dinner to appease those physical education, driver's education, and home economics teachers that want their curriculum to be represented.

Real quizbowl also doesn't ask science questions that require an experiment to be done, literature questions that ask for an analysis of a literary passage, or social studies questions that require analysis of primary sources. Such topics are very important parts of the curriculum (just look at the format of the Advanced Placement tests in Biology, English Literature, and US History), but there are no such questions in quizbowl because it is impossible to good questions on those subjects. Similarly, good quizbowl doesn't ask computational math questions, even though computation is an important part of high school math.

Why should 20% of the questions have a completely different format so that this ridiculous appeal to the curriculum can occur?

Quote:
Charles Dees, I certainly respect you in many things. However, your computational ability is not one of those areas. As a result, it is difficult for me to accept your argument that we would never want to test computational skills in good quizbowl at the high school level.


Coach Gibbs, please stop using ad hominem attacks. I am one of the best math players in Illinois, and I am arguing the exact same things. Several other members of the quizbowl circuit are math majors, and they also argue against computation.

Quote:
When you and Brandon failed to answer x^2 – 4 = 0 (or it may have asked for the x-intercepts or roots of that function) last year when we played you at Kirksville, your entire argument against the value of math calculations seems somewhat lost on me.


Ah yes, the good old Chewbacca defense. This line of reasoning makes no sense.

Quote:
I believe good computational ability is quite valuable in many areas of life and is a legitimate subject to be asked in the game.


Let me edit this statement for you:

Quote:
I believe sewing is quite valuable in many areas of life and is a legitimate subject to be asked in the game.


Quote:
I believe cooking is quite valuable in many areas of life and is a legitimate subject to be asked in the game.


Quote:
I believe knowledge of auto mechanics is quite valuable in many areas of life and is a legitimate subject to be asked in the game.


Do you still stand by your statement?

Quote:
Of course, we lost the first game to NKC mostly because Grant was more aggressive with the math calculation questions than we were.


If by aggressive, you mean "jumping in before enough information is given," I find this disturbing. Note that pyramidal questions give you all the information you need to uniquely identify the answer by the end of the first clue. Only in math computation is it possible to give the ridiculous argument that someone should wait for the entire question to be finished lest they get hosed.

Quote:
I would much rather walk away feeling my opponent out played us than that the game did not really test our full ability.


"I'm still mad that we lost to Thomas Jefferson at PACE in 2008 because there wasn't a 1/1 Legends of the Hidden Temple distribution to test my full ability!"

As you can see, that argument is utterly ridiculous. If you want to have math team people do math calculations, then HAVE THEM DO A ****ING MATH CONTEST! Don't force the rest of us to play 20% of our questions in a completely different format consisting of "curriculum-based" problems that require no more than a fourth-grade education to solve--provided that you don't get hosed.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/3015385/'>rjaguar3</a>, May 31 2009, 07:05:51 PM.</div>


Sun May 31, 2009 6:03 pm
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008
Posts: 422
Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Dude, I would ACE the Legends of the Hidden Temple Quizbowl! Bummer they didn't have any questions about Olmec at the HSNCT, I would've powered them for sure; no joke, I spent 2 hours on Thursday watching old episodes and feeling sorry for myself that the Purple Parrots won less than anyone else.

Not that this really has anything to do with anything. . . . : D : D : D


Sun May 31, 2009 6:59 pm
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Posts: 501
Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
"When you and Brandon failed to answer x^2 – 4 = 0 (or it may have asked for the x-intercepts or roots of that function) last year when we played you at Kirksville, your entire argument against the value of math calculations seems somewhat lost on me."

Coach Gibbs-
I think you should play Brandon and Charles in a round of quizbowl. If they beat you, should we immediately discount all of your arguments about quizbowl?


Sun May 31, 2009 7:52 pm
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005
Posts: 901
Location: Creve Couer, MO
Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Will, I'm glad you brought up that point. I lived for Purple Parrot victories back in the day ... more than I enjoyed seeing Willie McGee, Ozzie Smith, and that old bunch of Cardinals play on a daily basis....idk ... I guess it was because they are parrots ... and parrots are cool.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89002/'>KentB</a>, Jun 1 2009, 03:00:57 AM.</div>


Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:58 am
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Location: St. Louis, MO
Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
WillHack wrote:
Dude, I would ACE the Legends of the Hidden Temple Quizbowl! Bummer they didn't have any questions about Olmec at the HSNCT, I would've powered them for sure; no joke, I spent 2 hours on Thursday watching old episodes and feeling sorry for myself that the Purple Parrots won less than anyone else.

Not that this really has anything to do with anything. . . . : D : D : D
Actually there was a tu on the Olmecs in the prelims, but you might have been on bye.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:06 am
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Gibbs, I have lost count at how many times you make a post that blissfully ignores important facts our side of the argument presents (like that at ACF Nationals the top scorers on the first and second place teams possess math degrees, and there are countless other decent-to-great quizbowlers who have math or physics degrees that involve doing lots of math learning, and we aren't restricting our population at all in the college game, or that Grant Gates, your example of a player who was aggressive at computation in a way that allowed NKC to beat your team, has posted on this board that he would rather have theory questions). Until you stop making arguments predicated on selective memory, nobody is going to take you seriously.


Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:06 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007
Posts: 101
Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
I'll quit calling MSHSAA quizbowl bad quizbowl as soon as the Ford Edsel takes off. We are trying to get through to you in a kind way and we are feeling ignored. Ignoring our points is frustrating and to a certain degree, rude.


Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:57 pm
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