Test Set Exchange Update

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lumosityfan
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby lumosityfan » February 21st, 2019, 2:20 pm

That's very nice and all (and sincerely great to hear; I'm a big supporter of letting new teams have a discount for being a new team) but it's unrealistic to just expect teams to always make tournaments independent of registration fee even. I guess that's true that at least the teams attending a tournament get the tests back but at the same time lots of teams do not have the ability to do so. It's not like we can assume that a team can just sign up all of a sudden and expect to always be able to go. That's highly unrealistic for the vast majority of teams.
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby nicholasmaurer » February 21st, 2019, 2:42 pm

That's very nice and all (and sincerely great to hear; I'm a big supporter of letting new teams have a discount for being a new team) but it's unrealistic to just expect teams to always make tournaments independent of registration fee even. I guess that's true that at least the teams attending a tournament get the tests back but at the same time lots of teams do not have the ability to do so. It's not like we can assume that a team can just sign up all of a sudden and expect to always be able to go. That's highly unrealistic for the vast majority of teams.
Because it is a competition, there is often an inherent tension between doing what is best for the program and doing what is best for your team. As an alumnus and regional tournament director, my goal is to benefit Science Olympiad - hence why I publicly and privately urged MIT to switch their test release policy last year, when I was a supervisor. As a coach and invitational tournament director, having tests from our invitational posted publicly has no upside. Indeed, if anything, doing so imposes potential costs on my team and tournament, especially if the tests strengthen the practice of our competitors.

I know that new/small teams face many barriers before attending invitational tournaments, especially in states which (unlike Ohio) do not have invitationals throughout the state on many dates. We do what we can to assist these teams, as I hope other established teams do across the nation. But I would argue that releasing tests publicly is more likely to benefit other established teams (who go looking for practice material) than it is a new team. It's the Solon-like teams who go collecting for as many test sets as we can find...
Assistant Coach and Alumnus ('14) - Solon High School Science Olympiad
Tournament Director - Northeast Ohio Regional Tournament
Tournament Director - Solon High School Science Olympiad Invitational

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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby lumosityfan » February 21st, 2019, 2:47 pm

That's very nice and all (and sincerely great to hear; I'm a big supporter of letting new teams have a discount for being a new team) but it's unrealistic to just expect teams to always make tournaments independent of registration fee even. I guess that's true that at least the teams attending a tournament get the tests back but at the same time lots of teams do not have the ability to do so. It's not like we can assume that a team can just sign up all of a sudden and expect to always be able to go. That's highly unrealistic for the vast majority of teams.
Because it is a competition, there is often an inherent tension between doing what is best for the program and doing what is best for your team. As an alumnus and regional tournament director, my goal is to benefit Science Olympiad - hence why I publicly and privately urged MIT to switch their test release policy last year, when I was a supervisor. As a coach and invitational tournament director, having tests from our invitational posted publicly has no upside. Indeed, if anything, doing so imposes potential costs on my team and tournament, especially if the tests strengthen the practice of our competitors.

I know that new/small teams face many barriers before attending invitational tournaments, especially in states which (unlike Ohio) do not have invitationals throughout the state on many dates. We do what we can to assist these teams, as I hope other established teams do across the nation. But I would argue that releasing tests publicly is more likely to benefit other established teams (who go looking for practice material) than it is a new team. It's the Solon-like teams who go collecting for as many test sets as we can find...
And those established teams will always go test-hunting. (Look at the pattern that's happening now!) While the new teams will go to regionals, realize what has hit them, and more likely than not be demoralized. While if we give these practice tests they will at least have some idea of what's going on so that they don't go in totally blind. (Now they may still decide to drop out but that's their own volition; we can do our best as you've mentioned to ease their transition.) In addition, your reasoning for not wanting tests to published online should really not be "strengthen the practice of our competitors" or "benefit other established teams". That immediately questions the whole notion of a tournament director being unbiased towards a team. Tournament directors should aim to show as little bias as possible and thus our reasoning for not publishing test sets should really not be because publishing test sets will help the established teams more. (Which is arguable at best; those established will (and have) find ways to find test sets. The new teams can't.)
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby nicholasmaurer » February 21st, 2019, 2:50 pm

That's very nice and all (and sincerely great to hear; I'm a big supporter of letting new teams have a discount for being a new team) but it's unrealistic to just expect teams to always make tournaments independent of registration fee even. I guess that's true that at least the teams attending a tournament get the tests back but at the same time lots of teams do not have the ability to do so. It's not like we can assume that a team can just sign up all of a sudden and expect to always be able to go. That's highly unrealistic for the vast majority of teams.
Because it is a competition, there is often an inherent tension between doing what is best for the program and doing what is best for your team. As an alumnus and regional tournament director, my goal is to benefit Science Olympiad - hence why I publicly and privately urged MIT to switch their test release policy last year, when I was a supervisor. As a coach and invitational tournament director, having tests from our invitational posted publicly has no upside. Indeed, if anything, doing so imposes potential costs on my team and tournament, especially if the tests strengthen the practice of our competitors.

I know that new/small teams face many barriers before attending invitational tournaments, especially in states which (unlike Ohio) do not have invitationals throughout the state on many dates. We do what we can to assist these teams, as I hope other established teams do across the nation. But I would argue that releasing tests publicly is more likely to benefit other established teams (who go looking for practice material) than it is a new team. It's the Solon-like teams who go collecting for as many test sets as we can find...
And those established teams will always go test-hunting. (Look at the pattern that's happening now!) While the new teams will go to regionals, realize what has hit them, and more likely than not be demoralized. While if we give these practice tests they will at least have some idea of what's going on so that they don't go in totally blind. (Now they may still decide to drop out but that's their own volition; we can do our best as you've mentioned to ease their transition.) In addition, your reasoning for not wanting tests to published online should really not be "strengthen the practice of our competitors" or "benefit other established teams". That immediately questions the whole notion of a tournament director being unbiased towards a team. Tournament directors should aim to show as little bias as possible and thus our reasoning for not publishing test sets should really not be because publishing test sets will help the established teams more. (Which is arguable at best; those established will (and have) find ways to find test sets. The new teams can't.)
As an invitational tournament director, my job is to be unbiased to the teams competing at the tournament. All of them do receive the test sets. I don't have an obligation to bestow that benefit on the teams who don't attend...
Assistant Coach and Alumnus ('14) - Solon High School Science Olympiad
Tournament Director - Northeast Ohio Regional Tournament
Tournament Director - Solon High School Science Olympiad Invitational

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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby lumosityfan » February 21st, 2019, 2:51 pm

And also to any potential team that could theoretically go as well.
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby nicholasmaurer » February 21st, 2019, 3:01 pm

And also to any potential team that could theoretically go as well.
I'm afraid I don't follow your logic. We welcome any team who wishes to register for our invitational. We often waive fees, and offer guidance/assistance, to new teams who wish to attend our invitational. But invitational tournament directors don't sign up to help every team in the country simply by hosting a tournament - they agree to host the teams who register and provide a fair, fun tournament to those teams. I firmly believe we have done so for the past 25 years of hosting a tournament.

Yes, small/new teams need access to test sets. Invitationals are the best way in my opinion, but admittedly have barriers to entry. However, there are numerous opportunities here on Scioly and elsewhere to acquire test sets. As an alumnus, I'm happy to advise new teams on how to successfully find them. If I write a test for an alumni-run tournament, my preference is that it is released publicly. I didn't supervise at MIT to benefit MIT - I did it to benefit Science Olympiad.

But I do coach Solon HS to benefit Solon HS, and I direct our invitational to benefit our team and the other participating teams. Releasing our invitational tests publicly doesn't serve those goals.
Assistant Coach and Alumnus ('14) - Solon High School Science Olympiad
Tournament Director - Northeast Ohio Regional Tournament
Tournament Director - Solon High School Science Olympiad Invitational

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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby lumosityfan » February 21st, 2019, 3:20 pm

While I totally get why you would think that releasing test sets from the Solon Invitational wouldn't serve your purpose of running a good tournament for the teams that attend, at the same time that's assuming that your role as the Solon HS tournament director is in a vacuum. It's not, however, and so we should do whatever we can to help those teams that cannot make it for whatever reason because they technically had that opportunity as well. Also the Solon HS tournament also ostensibly exists for the other teams as well since as I mentioned earlier they had that opportunity and for whatever reason or another couldn't make it.
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby lumosityfan » February 21st, 2019, 3:21 pm

(For the record, I'm happy that you're willing to assist new teams; I'm not bashing that part and think that we should do more in that regard to ease their transition. Releasing tests simply happens to be one of those methods and we should not feel that just because your tournament is for the registered teams doesn't mean you can't feel an obligation to provide a greater service to the national Science Olympiad community.)
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby AlbatrossTree » February 21st, 2019, 3:25 pm

And also to any potential team that could theoretically go as well.
I'm afraid I don't follow your logic. We welcome any team who wishes to register for our invitational. We often waive fees, and offer guidance/assistance, to new teams who wish to attend our invitational. But invitational tournament directors don't sign up to help every team in the country simply by hosting a tournament - they agree to host the teams who register and provide a fair, fun tournament to those teams. I firmly believe we have done so for the past 25 years of hosting a tournament.

Yes, small/new teams need access to test sets. Invitationals are the best way in my opinion, but admittedly have barriers to entry. However, there are numerous opportunities here on Scioly and elsewhere to acquire test sets. As an alumnus, I'm happy to advise new teams on how to successfully find them. If I write a test for an alumni-run tournament, my preference is that it is released publicly. I didn't supervise at MIT to benefit MIT - I did it to benefit Science Olympiad.

But I do coach Solon HS to benefit Solon HS, and I direct our invitational to benefit our team and the other participating teams. Releasing our invitational tests publicly doesn't serve those goals.
I'm also missing why an invitational tournament is obligated to share with every team who could potentially come. It's nice and in a perfect world every team would have access to equal resources (tests, money, invitationals, build materials and equipment, etc.), and performance would simply be a measure of talent and hardwork. This, however, is not the case. It would be quixotic to expect that all tests be available to all teams. Imagine if your team is not from an affluent region and the students and coaches worked hard to find sponsors and advocate for money, resources, etc. in order to go to invitationals and all another team has to do is look for a test online and they are just as well off for the effort it took to type into their search bar? While I agree it is not fair that there are barriers to entry for invitationals and tests, I believe it would be unfair to those teams actively paying and working in order to attend competitions. There are also a plethora of resources online that new teams can use without taking tests from schools who paid for them.

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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby lumosityfan » February 21st, 2019, 3:34 pm

And also to any potential team that could theoretically go as well.
I'm afraid I don't follow your logic. We welcome any team who wishes to register for our invitational. We often waive fees, and offer guidance/assistance, to new teams who wish to attend our invitational. But invitational tournament directors don't sign up to help every team in the country simply by hosting a tournament - they agree to host the teams who register and provide a fair, fun tournament to those teams. I firmly believe we have done so for the past 25 years of hosting a tournament.

Yes, small/new teams need access to test sets. Invitationals are the best way in my opinion, but admittedly have barriers to entry. However, there are numerous opportunities here on Scioly and elsewhere to acquire test sets. As an alumnus, I'm happy to advise new teams on how to successfully find them. If I write a test for an alumni-run tournament, my preference is that it is released publicly. I didn't supervise at MIT to benefit MIT - I did it to benefit Science Olympiad.

But I do coach Solon HS to benefit Solon HS, and I direct our invitational to benefit our team and the other participating teams. Releasing our invitational tests publicly doesn't serve those goals.
I'm also missing why an invitational tournament is obligated to share with every team who could potentially come. It's nice and in a perfect world every team would have access to equal resources (tests, money, invitationals, build materials and equipment, etc.), and performance would simply be a measure of talent and hardwork. This, however, is not the case. It would be quixotic to expect that all tests be available to all teams. Imagine if your team is not from an affluent region and the students and coaches worked hard to find sponsors and advocate for money, resources, etc. in order to go to invitationals and all another team has to do is look for a test online and they are just as well off for the effort it took to type into their search bar? While I agree it is not fair that there are barriers to entry for invitationals and tests, I believe it would be unfair to those teams actively paying and working in order to attend competitions. There are also a plethora of resources online that new teams can use without taking tests from schools who paid for them.
As I mentioned earlier, teams don't go to invitationals for the tests. They go there for the experience. The tests simply happen to be a good practice platform that the teams can use for further analysis and reference. Also just because it's unrealistic for every tournament to release tests doesn't mean that we can't do our part. It will hopefully start a precedent that will eventually reach us to that point. And those teams that couldn't attend tournaments would love to pay for those teams. However, they simply can't because they're so new that they realistically can't reach that point in which they can go to invies constantly until maybe Year 3 or 4. Until then those tests will give them a nice starting point so that they don't go into regionals and states totally unprepared.
John P. Stevens Class of 2015 (Go Hawks!)
Columbia University Class of 2019 (Go Lions!)
2016-19 UCC Regs Astronomy ES, 2018 NJ States Astronomy ES, 2017 Princeton Helicopters ES, 2018 Princeton WGYN ES


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