2014 National Trial Events C

patil215
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Re: 2014 National Trial Events C

Postby patil215 » March 31st, 2014, 8:48 am

I would like to offer some feedback about the tentative national trial event Game On.

I am glad to see that Science Olympiad is finally in the process of creating a computer science event. As someone who regularly programs, creates and distributes products in my free time, a computer science event seems like a great step forward into making Science Olympiad keep up with future areas of science.

However, I have some criticism of and alternate suggestions for how I feel Game On should be run. I and nearly every other programmer I have talked to agrees that Game On is not a correct way to run a computer science event.

I do not think that the creation of a computer game via Scratch is an accurate and objective evaluation of a person's computer science knowledge and ability. While Scratch is an excellent tool for introduction and teaching of basic Computer Science concepts, it is in my opinion certainly not the tool to use for competition due to its drag and drop, pseudo-but-not-completely-programming nature. Algorithmic challenges cannot be run well with scratch (see below). Instead, a classical programming language should be used (I recommend Python - it is commonly used and is very powerful, yet is one of the easiest languages to pick up). In addition, designing the event to use what I feel is a commercially and scientifically used programming language would be right in step closer to the goal of Science Olympiad - to prepare students for a future of science.

In addition (and what I consider more important), the greatest flaw is that the very objective of the event is to create a game. I do not think that this is a good way to evaluate programming ability. I foresee difficulty in distinguishing between two subjective products (especially at the national level). I also think that 50 minutes is not enough time to create a game that will meet the requirements enough to differentiate between teams. The true science of computer science is solving problems. In my opinion, what differentiates between how programmers can "think" is their ability to solve algorithmic problems. I would suggest looking at USACO (http://usaco.org/) and Hackerrank (https://www.hackerrank.com/) as examples of and inspiration for some of these problems.

My proposal for improving the event is to model it after a UIL Computer Science or USACO competition. The basics are as follows:

-Use a classical programming language like Python or Java

-Instead of a game, give teams 50 minutes to solve a collection of problems like these (http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~scottm/uil/20 ... s_2014.pdf). Each problem has multiple test cases. Teams would be ranked by how many problems they can solve that work with the test cases

-There can also be a written test in addition to the hands on programming. The written test would be similar to this: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~scottm/uil/20 ... ritten.pdf.

In short, I do not feel that the current implementation of Game On is the correct way to implement a computer science event. Instead, I would recommend a USACO or UIL type programming competition of objective algorithmic nature. A written test could also be added.

I speak for nearly all of my fellow Science Olympiad competitors who program when I say that we think this would be the ideal way to run a computer science event in Science Olympiad.

patil215
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Re: 2014 National Trial Events C

Postby patil215 » March 31st, 2014, 9:06 am

Another suggestion - the event should be run as a three person event, similar to how Experimental Design is run. Programming contests work well with teams of three sharing a computer. One person programs while the other team members write pseudo code on paper until they get to type up their solutions. This is how UIL Computer Science is run and it works quite well.

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Re: 2014 National Trial Events C

Postby chinesesushi » April 7th, 2014, 11:02 pm

I think you're missing the point of the event, which is NOT to test programming ability. There's Codes and Algorithms for that.
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Re: 2014 National Trial Events C

Postby Astroknight » April 8th, 2014, 5:52 am

I think you're missing the point of the event, which is NOT to test programming ability. There's Codes and Algorithms for that.
Well than what is the point of the event?
TSA's pretty cool... i guess

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patil215
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Re: 2014 National Trial Events C

Postby patil215 » April 8th, 2014, 8:41 am

I think you're missing the point of the event, which is NOT to test programming ability. There's Codes and Algorithms for that.
I do not think that the point of the event is to test a student's ability to create a game if that is what you are implying. In the description for the rules of the event, the creator specifically states that the event is intended to be a computing event. I would think that because the event is part of Science Olympiad, the event should test a student's ability to "do science" in the computing category. Algorithms are usually considered the "science" of Computer Science and would more truly separate the better programmers from the worse programmers.

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Re: 2014 National Trial Events C

Postby Astroknight » April 8th, 2014, 8:54 am

I think you're missing the point of the event, which is NOT to test programming ability. There's Codes and Algorithms for that.
I do not think that the point of the event is to test a student's ability to create a game if that is what you are implying. In the description for the rules of the event, the creator specifically states that the event is intended to be a computing event. I would think that because the event is part of Science Olympiad, the event should test a student's ability to "do science" in the computing category. Algorithms are usually considered the "science" of Computer Science and would more truly separate the better programmers from the worse programmers.

Maybe there could be a double the point bonus for using Java or more advanced programs.
TSA's pretty cool... i guess

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Re: 2014 National Trial Events C

Postby ParkourNinja » May 5th, 2014, 1:43 pm

I'm just curious (this is my first post on scioly by the way), the official rules for GAME ON don't seem like official rules but are written like a proposal for an event. Are the rules actually going to be just like they are described in the proposal, because at the bottom, it mentions several variations.

Also, are these events still competitive if I plan on preparing in advance?

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Re: 2014 National Trial Events C

Postby Astroknight » May 5th, 2014, 5:09 pm

As Game On is a trial event, the rules aren't up to the same level of officiality (that's not a word) of the real events. Those are the official rules, and while there may be some minor revisions, they are the rules Nationals will go by. If you prepare in advance, you will have a better chance of winning. It carries the same principle as any other event. However, most teams send alternates and don't try as hard for those events, so it is easier to medal (speaking from personal experience). It is still competitive, just not as much as the real events.
TSA's pretty cool... i guess

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Essays on Technology, Tech Bowl, Water Infrastructure, Website Design


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