National Test Discussion

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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby Ionizer » Thu May 25, 2017 3:37 am

superpenguin666 wrote:How were you guys able to get ahold of the list of event supervisors before the competition? I looked on the national tournament page, and I can't seem to find it.

Unome wrote:Tournament program has been posted, which also includes the National Event Supervisors list! Lots of interesting stuff on there. Glad to finally confirm that Quartini is doing Dynamic Planet C, that should be fun.

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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby sciolyFTW_aku » Thu May 25, 2017 4:05 am

varunscs11 wrote:Anatomy and Physiology (9) - This test was hard. The BAC formula did not work and that was annoying. The treatments portion of the test was very hard and was probably what determined event placements. I didn’t like how this test was almost all nervous system because that defeats the purpose of having the other two systems. The random trivia number questions were just plain out stupid because they didn’t actually test any understanding of the human body. Better than the last 10 years of Anatomy tests. Overall 7/10


Hi,

Could you please explain the BAC formulas not working part? Also, if you didn't see my previous post, I believe the whole test was geared towards NS due to the publication of the book "Brain Facts" by the SfN, which sponsors the event. Regardless, there should have been more sense organs and ES questions. (Throw out the BAC part and you have like 15 open questions for other legitimate stuff :o!)

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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby varunscs11 » Thu May 25, 2017 4:23 am

sciolyFTW_aku wrote:
varunscs11 wrote:Anatomy and Physiology (9) - This test was hard. The BAC formula did not work and that was annoying. The treatments portion of the test was very hard and was probably what determined event placements. I didn’t like how this test was almost all nervous system because that defeats the purpose of having the other two systems. The random trivia number questions were just plain out stupid because they didn’t actually test any understanding of the human body. Better than the last 10 years of Anatomy tests. Overall 7/10


Hi,

Could you please explain the BAC formulas not working part? Also, if you didn't see my previous post, I believe the whole test was geared towards NS due to the publication of the book "Brain Facts" by the SfN, which sponsors the event. Regardless, there should have been more sense organs and ES questions. (Throw out the BAC part and you have like 15 open questions for other legitimate stuff :o!)

Thanks,
sciolyFTW_aku


Well the SfN sponsors the event but that doesn't mean that they actually have control over what goes on the exam - that is up to the proctor, which until this year was Patty Palmietto. Unlike the Disease, the proctor of Anat isn't someone from SfN and if there was then, Patty wouldn't be the one handing out the 1st trophy since as far as I know she isn't associated with the SfN. What I meant by the BAC formula not working is the last question on the BAC set asked about if that guy who drank 48 oz of 5.2% beer was legally allowed to drive and when we plugged all the numbers in, we got a ridiculous number which made no sense.
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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby sciolyFTW_aku » Thu May 25, 2017 4:45 am

@above I'm merely suggesting it could have influenced it.

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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby Skink » Thu May 25, 2017 11:48 am

nicholasmaurer wrote:However, I also know from feedback from team members that WIDI scoring can often be arbitrary or on a very small scale which doesn't allow effective separation between teams. I think there might be opportunities to improve/standardize the scoring process or offer additional guidance to ES that would improve the event quality.

This is a general feature of the inquiry and nature events, though, certainly not a WIDI problem. The difference may be that the rubric for WIDI has to be crafted to the particular model, but it's more cut-and-dry than something like Experimental or Game On.

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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby nicholasmaurer » Thu May 25, 2017 1:00 pm

Skink wrote:
nicholasmaurer wrote:However, I also know from feedback from team members that WIDI scoring can often be arbitrary or on a very small scale which doesn't allow effective separation between teams. I think there might be opportunities to improve/standardize the scoring process or offer additional guidance to ES that would improve the event quality.

This is a general feature of the inquiry and nature events, though, certainly not a WIDI problem. The difference may be that the rubric for WIDI has to be crafted to the particular model, but it's more cut-and-dry than something like Experimental or Game On.


Yes, it is a common issue across the inquiry events. However there were some notable improvements in Game On grading from last year to this year. Part of that may be greater familiarity, but they also formalized aspects of the scoring. Perhaps similar steps could be taken for WIDI.
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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby HinkieDiedForOurWins » Fri May 26, 2017 2:30 am

Super late reply on this, but since Saturday was my last tournament ever, I figured I might as well post about the tests:

- Dynamic Planet (4): Ohhhhhhhh man. I did not feel good coming out of this test and, with the way it turned out, I can't imagine many other teams did either. It was certainly a difficult test, although not particularly time-pressed (considering we left guesses all over the paper). As other people have mentioned, it was super heavy on gravity and magnetic anomalies, which was a little disappointing because it was such a small part of the rules and the test really didn't cover a lot of the rest of the event (beside the obligatory Hawaii hotspot question lol). However, it was well-written like most Enrica Quartini tests, with very few (if any) of the easy gimme questions that DP is accustomed to having. At the end of the day, well-written and difficult enough to stratify the teams that know what they are doing and those that don't is enough for me in a Nationals test. 7/10

- Ecology (7): This has been talked about ad nauseam in this forum, so I'll keep this brief. One of the most disappointing tests I have ever taken, with questions that were either too easy or extremely vague. I hate to beat a dead horse, but I'm sure it came down to minute differences on questions that were either really random (not that there shouldn't be some random things on a test; it’s Nats after all, but they should never decide the difference between a bomb and a good placement), had spelling errors (hello "wing-chill"), or were just super vague on exactly what the ES wanted. It was clear that not a whole lot of time and effort was placed into the test, which was a shame since the same ES has shown she can write some pretty intricate and time-crunched tests (she wrote the last two GG tests). Ultimately it was a shame that my favorite event (I combine it with green gen., since a lot of those tests ended up being ecology-heavy anyways lol) of the past three years had to end on that test. I hope there are more safety-valves in place in the future to assure that this doesn't happen again (perhaps ask alumni for help writing or screening it; there's a lot that I'm sure would love to help). Huh, I guess I wasn't brief at all lol. 2/10

- Hydrogeology (8): Ah, a merciful end to this event. Recently my partner said that he had “a love-hate relationship with all of his events, except hydro which was an all hate relationship.” It’s such a shame that this event turned into the copy and pasted questions that every test turned out to be, since no one really cared enough to write actually thought-provoking questions about groundwater (except for MIT the past two years and a few others). Nats was pretty much the same, which wasn’t particularly surprising. If this event ever comes back, someone please tell me because I would love to write a test to try to do the subject justice, since it’s so prevalent to modern human life and there are some really interesting things you can ask if you move beyond the simple diagrams and Groundwater Foundation glossary. I’m not going to fault the ES for continuing the trend of the inherent flaws of this event. 4/10

- Remote Sensing (1): I’m so glad my Science Olympiad career ended with this being my final test. Not even the placing particularly mattered coming out of the test, it was just the clear time and effort the two event supervisors put into making that test as fun and interesting as any I have ever taken. Full of real-life application questions, and a really nice balance of physics and image interpretation. It’s a shame that Earth science events don’t usually have many critical thinking questions, but this test had it all. Not too short, not too long; not too easy, but definitely not overly obscure in any way. I’d like to thank all that were involved in the making of this test because they really outdid themselves with it. 10/10

I’d like to thank everyone that was involved with Science Olympiad all year, especially those who helped run this past tournament. This organization is really special and I know some of the things I said above are harsh, but that’s only because I think there are some definite ways to make it even better. The teamwork that goes into this club is something incredibly unique and rewarding, and I’m sad to walk away from it now. Thanks again to everyone who volunteered and helped make it a success again this year!

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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby alleycat03 » Fri May 26, 2017 2:43 am

I also took the ecology test, and found it extremely disappointing. The tests I took at random invitationals were much better written. I wonder how many points my partner and I missed to get our 27th place finish.

On that note, I saw a few pages back that there was a 7 way tie for first in Ecology. Where did everyone get that information? That's honestly not super shocking, it makes sense considering how stupid and easy the test was.
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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby alleycat03 » Fri May 26, 2017 2:52 am

Ecology (27th)- this test was EXTREMELY frustrating. It was super easy and mostly guessing what words the proctor wanted us to use. Honestly one of the worst SciO tests I have ever taken, and the fact that it was at nationals makes that even more disappointing. 0/10

Invasives (54th)- what a joke. I got a new partner about 2 weeks before nats, but he and I had both done the event before. We never did any practice tests or anything together (too busy focusing on our other events), but I wasn't expecting that low of a score. The test was mainly ID with scientific names, and we were completely unprepared for that. With more prep, we probably would've done better, but hindsight is 20/20. I'm really hoping that herpetology next year will not be a binder event. 7/10

Forensics (8th)- this was my best finish at nationals, and also the highest that my team placed at nationals. Shout out to my partner (KSSOISLIT) for his significant preparations. It was a normal test run by the Woz. It was extremely difficult, but all of her tests are that way. I definitely felt much more prepared for that test than I did when I took the forensics test my freshman year (at UNL) and we placed much higher. Overall, it was a super difficult test, but was expected. The Woz is always pretty harsh, but her tests are always well written. 9/10

*Edited to change my scores out of 10 since apparently people think they should be based solely on the quality of the test, not our performance/experience with the test.
Last edited by alleycat03 on Fri May 26, 2017 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby John Richardsim » Fri May 26, 2017 3:02 am

alli_burnett wrote:Invasives (54th)- what a joke. I got a new partner about 2 weeks before nats, but he and I had both done the event before. We never did any practice tests or anything together (too busy focusing on our other events), but I wasn't expecting that low of a score. The test was mainly ID with scientific names, and we were completely unprepared for that. With more prep, we probably would've done better, but hindsight is 20/20. I'm really hoping that herpetology next year will not be a binder event. 4/10.

Uhhh, so wait, the test was bad because you weren't prepared for it?
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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby Ashernoel » Fri May 26, 2017 3:04 am

John Richardsim wrote:
alli_burnett wrote:Invasives (54th)- what a joke. I got a new partner about 2 weeks before nats, but he and I had both done the event before. We never did any practice tests or anything together (too busy focusing on our other events), but I wasn't expecting that low of a score. The test was mainly ID with scientific names, and we were completely unprepared for that. With more prep, we probably would've done better, but hindsight is 20/20. I'm really hoping that herpetology next year will not be a binder event. 4/10.

Uhhh, so wait, the test was bad because you weren't prepared for it?

not going to like I use this argument in my head to justify my failures sometimes. or at least I want to before I realize I'm dumb and should have done something else to get ready xD
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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby alleycat03 » Fri May 26, 2017 3:21 am

Ashernoel wrote:
John Richardsim wrote:
alli_burnett wrote:Invasives (54th)- what a joke. I got a new partner about 2 weeks before nats, but he and I had both done the event before. We never did any practice tests or anything together (too busy focusing on our other events), but I wasn't expecting that low of a score. The test was mainly ID with scientific names, and we were completely unprepared for that. With more prep, we probably would've done better, but hindsight is 20/20. I'm really hoping that herpetology next year will not be a binder event. 4/10.

Uhhh, so wait, the test was bad because you weren't prepared for it?

not going to like I use this argument in my head to justify my failures sometimes. or at least I want to before I realize I'm dumb and should have done something else to get ready xD


I never said that it was a bad test. In fact, it was a really difficult test, in my opinion. I would also say it wasn't like anything I had ever seen before. I've experienced PowerPoint invasives tests before but never anything that was that fast paced. Honestly, we should've done more preparation, especially with identifying all of the species by only their scientific names. However, expecting us to identify the biological controls for ~10 different species in 1.5 minutes was pretty extreme. We definitely could've prepared more, and with this knowledge I'll focus on doing well in herpetology next year. My score out of 10 was based on my experience with the event and the test, not just the questions. The test itself wasn't bad or poorly written, but I thought the test was difficult for everyone, not just my team. Clearly that wasn't the case.
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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby chalker » Fri May 26, 2017 12:30 pm

alli_burnett wrote:On that note, I saw a few pages back that there was a 7 way tie for first in Ecology. Where did everyone get that information? That's honestly not super shocking, it makes sense considering how stupid and easy the test was.


This is not true.

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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby Flavorflav » Fri May 26, 2017 12:45 pm

chalker wrote:
nicholasmaurer wrote:Chalker, is there ever any discussion of removing or refining events if they consistently show a poor correlation with team scores? If WIDI is so variable and a poor predictor of team outcome, why has its grading/scope not been better standardized or controlled?


No there isn't. There are bigger factors that come into play, like corporate sponsorships, ease of running / participating, and committee foci. We can't standardize / control too much, or else we'll cause all kinda of work and problems at the ~400 tournaments that occur each year around the country.

WIDI is a signature event, that goes back almost to the beginning of SO. We've tweaked it a little bit over the years, but it's so integral to the organization I doubt we'll change it significantly anytime soon.

As a side note (and I readily admit this is a bit of a humblebrag), I can personally attest to the fact that it's possible to perform consistently in WIDI. Way back when I was a competitor, I got 1st place in the event at Nationals in 1992 and then again in 1993. In 1994 I got 5th place.

Just to add a view from below - if you guys ever did decide to give WIDI a well-earned rest for a few years, I suspect that you would hear a chorus of Hosannahs ringing out across the country. WIDI certainly has its fans, but it is in my experience it is far and away the most dreaded of all SciO events from a coach's perspective.

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Re: National Test Discussion

Postby efeng » Fri May 26, 2017 3:32 pm

Flavorflav wrote:
chalker wrote:
nicholasmaurer wrote:Chalker, is there ever any discussion of removing or refining events if they consistently show a poor correlation with team scores? If WIDI is so variable and a poor predictor of team outcome, why has its grading/scope not been better standardized or controlled?


No there isn't. There are bigger factors that come into play, like corporate sponsorships, ease of running / participating, and committee foci. We can't standardize / control too much, or else we'll cause all kinda of work and problems at the ~400 tournaments that occur each year around the country.

WIDI is a signature event, that goes back almost to the beginning of SO. We've tweaked it a little bit over the years, but it's so integral to the organization I doubt we'll change it significantly anytime soon.

As a side note (and I readily admit this is a bit of a humblebrag), I can personally attest to the fact that it's possible to perform consistently in WIDI. Way back when I was a competitor, I got 1st place in the event at Nationals in 1992 and then again in 1993. In 1994 I got 5th place.

Just to add a view from below - if you guys ever did decide to give WIDI a well-earned rest for a few years, I suspect that you would hear a chorus of Hosannahs ringing out across the country. WIDI certainly has its fans, but it is in my experience it is far and away the most dreaded of all SciO events from a coach's perspective.


As somebody who has never done WIDI, I do have an opinion on this. Personally, I think that the low correlation coefficient for WIDI may be due to the fact that some schools just don't focus on it. Instead of focusing on the inquiry events, many schools focus on the more "sciencey" events. For example, my school has the same set of partners for Anatomy and Physiology. From what I observed, they did not work on WIDI nearly as much as they focused on A&P. The results are clearly visible, as the got 28th in WIDI and 2nd in A&P. Coincidentally, we roomed on the same floor with the people from the Fulton Science Academy (GA), and they had somebody who also did A&P and WIDI. They, however, have an excellent WIDI coach, as mentioned earlier by Unome's Userpage. Fulton ended up receiving 1st in WIDI, as they have for the past couple years, and got 39th in A&P. This may not prove much, but just comes to show that WIDI can be consistent, and that there are strategies and methods to the event. It also shows that many teams may underperform due to the lack of effort and preparation, rather than that the event itself is inconsistent, though I'm sure it is still one of the more inconsistent events.
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