Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

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Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

Post by Rêveur » January 13th, 2018, 2:53 pm

Hi all,

I just wanted to ask if it was common practice for regionals and states to return graded test papers and build scores. My regionals have historically never done this, and many teams have found it frustrating as it doesn't allow for any accountability to ensure that scoring was fair and free of mistakes.

Thanks for any replies that I might get

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Re: Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

Post by Anomaly » January 13th, 2018, 2:57 pm

I’ve never had any regional or state paper given back to us. For regionals, I suppose there’s a legitimate reason because they’re using the same tests for every regionals in our state (PA) so I suppose if they gave it back, the tests would be leaked out and everyone would know the answers to all the questions, eliminating the purpose of SciOly.
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Re: Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

Post by Pettywap » January 13th, 2018, 3:24 pm

They should have different tests to challenge competitors. It's just wrong that some tests are similar. This defeats the purpose of science olympiad as well.
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Re: Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

Post by Unome » January 13th, 2018, 3:29 pm

There's a reason. If no one else comes by, I'll explain when I'm back on a computer.
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Re: Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

Post by pikachu4919 » January 13th, 2018, 4:22 pm

Anomaly wrote:I’ve never had any regional or state paper given back to us. For regionals, I suppose there’s a legitimate reason because they’re using the same tests for every regionals in our state (PA) so I suppose if they gave it back, the tests would be leaked out and everyone would know the answers to all the questions, eliminating the purpose of SciOly.
That's the correct reason why sometimes regionals/state tests aren't returned or published. Read further.
Pettywap wrote:They should have different tests to challenge competitors. It's just wrong that some tests are similar. This defeats the purpose of science olympiad as well.
We can all agree that that's just wrong, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Unfortunately, in reality, not every competition can have top-notch event supervisors who will always write new tests for every competition they do. There are several out there that are too lazy to write their own, and they just steal full existing tests off the internet and reuse them for other competitions, or just reuse the same exam they may have written and/or administered last year. Most state organizations are wary of this and don't release their tests at either the regional or state level for, like Anomaly said, the teams already knowing all the answers in the case that the previous year's test is reused. Indiana has had several unpleasant snafus with such matters at the State level, and those have had severe repercussions on the scoring in some cases. Unfortunately, a large portion of event supervisors are bad ones that do these kinds of things, and, as such, sometimes state scioly organizations react accordingly in order to prevent unfair competition due to exam leaks and such.
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Re: Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

Post by Pettywap » January 13th, 2018, 4:26 pm

pikachu4919 wrote:
Anomaly wrote:I’ve never had any regional or state paper given back to us. For regionals, I suppose there’s a legitimate reason because they’re using the same tests for every regionals in our state (PA) so I suppose if they gave it back, the tests would be leaked out and everyone would know the answers to all the questions, eliminating the purpose of SciOly.
That's the correct reason why sometimes regionals/state tests aren't returned or published. Read further.
Pettywap wrote:They should have different tests to challenge competitors. It's just wrong that some tests are similar. This defeats the purpose of science olympiad as well.
We can all agree that that's just wrong, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Unfortunately, in reality, not every competition can have top-notch event supervisors who will always write new tests for every competition they do. There are several out there that are too lazy to write their own, and they just steal full existing tests off the internet and reuse them for other competitions, or just reuse the same exam they may have written and/or administered last year. Most state organizations are wary of this and don't release their tests at either the regional or state level for, like Anomaly said, the teams already knowing all the answers in the case that the previous year's test is reused. Indiana has had several unpleasant snafus with such matters at the State level, and those have had severe repercussions on the scoring in some cases. Unfortunately, a large portion of event supervisors are bad ones that do these kinds of things, and, as such, sometimes state scioly organizations react accordingly in order to prevent unfair competition due to exam leaks and such.
I know it doesn't work that way but it would be nice if it did though...
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Re: Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

Post by knottingpurple » January 14th, 2018, 5:49 am

Pettywap wrote:
pikachu4919 wrote:
Anomaly wrote:I’ve never had any regional or state paper given back to us. For regionals, I suppose there’s a legitimate reason because they’re using the same tests for every regionals in our state (PA) so I suppose if they gave it back, the tests would be leaked out and everyone would know the answers to all the questions, eliminating the purpose of SciOly.
That's the correct reason why sometimes regionals/state tests aren't returned or published. Read further.
Pettywap wrote:They should have different tests to challenge competitors. It's just wrong that some tests are similar. This defeats the purpose of science olympiad as well.
We can all agree that that's just wrong, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Unfortunately, in reality, not every competition can have top-notch event supervisors who will always write new tests for every competition they do. There are several out there that are too lazy to write their own, and they just steal full existing tests off the internet and reuse them for other competitions, or just reuse the same exam they may have written and/or administered last year. Most state organizations are wary of this and don't release their tests at either the regional or state level for, like Anomaly said, the teams already knowing all the answers in the case that the previous year's test is reused. Indiana has had several unpleasant snafus with such matters at the State level, and those have had severe repercussions on the scoring in some cases. Unfortunately, a large portion of event supervisors are bad ones that do these kinds of things, and, as such, sometimes state scioly organizations react accordingly in order to prevent unfair competition due to exam leaks and such.
I know it doesn't work that way but it would be nice if it did though...
I have definitely had States tests which were just printed off the test exchange before, for a binder event, when I actually had the answer key with me, and I guess reused tests between competitions is better than that...
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Re: Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » January 14th, 2018, 8:22 am

Anomaly wrote:I’ve never had any regional or state paper given back to us. For regionals, I suppose there’s a legitimate reason because they’re using the same tests for every regionals in our state (PA) so I suppose if they gave it back, the tests would be leaked out and everyone would know the answers to all the questions, eliminating the purpose of SciOly.
In fairness, the PA policy of using similar tests at every regionals is a pretty new policy, as each region used to have a different test writer. As far as I can tell, this policy was generally done in order to standardize test quality and difficulty levels a little bit better. I would hope that the option for supervisors to change questions for each test is there, so that the general feel/difficulty of the tests remain similar, but the content shifts. However, I cannot say for sure if any supervisors do that.

Releasing states/regionals tests just opens up a big can of worms in terms of appeals. You just know that if teams got tests back, every team would study over every single test and see which specific questions they can appeal, especially if it affects qualification places. Then the state office would get flooded with such appeals and have to go through each test and decide which appeals to honor, and if they do decide to honor any, then change the grades of every single test based on that. It's way more trouble than it's worth, and so rather than release the tests and have every team upset that they can't appeal anything in general, it's better to just do internal reviews and release the scores as they are. That's kind of the way it's always been, and I don't see that changing (nor do I see a need for that changing).

Invitationals, of course, don't really count for anything, so there's no harm in releasing those test materials. I personally believe that more invitationals should release test materials publicly, but that's a much different debate and I don't want this conversation derailed.
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Re: Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

Post by Skink » January 15th, 2018, 10:05 am

Illinois: when the Regional tournaments all coincide, they prepare an emergency test bank for proctors to use while trying to slot in competent ESes wherever possible. It's a nice compromise.

Another consideration: not releasing tests protects ESes from challenges (especially if the motivation for the challenge is to influence State bid earning). This is especially critical for more subjectively-scored events like Experimental.

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Re: Releasing graded tests at Regionals and States

Post by drcubbin » March 30th, 2018, 1:31 pm

Skink wrote:Illinois: when the Regional tournaments all coincide, they prepare an emergency test bank for proctors to use while trying to slot in competent ESes wherever possible. It's a nice compromise.

Another consideration: not releasing tests protects ESes from challenges (especially if the motivation for the challenge is to influence State bid earning). This is especially critical for more subjectively-scored events like Experimental.
I completely understand not wanting to have to deal with students balking about either the minutiae or the subjectivity of resulting grades (especially from events like ExpD), but how lazy can an event supervisor be to just use an exam they pull off the internet "en toto"? My students have told me about this at many of the Invitationals and Regionals we have attended. In fact at one of the invitationals two years ago, one of our teams said the other team (one of our own teams!) cheated because they had the entire test key in their binder. I explained that while it may not have been fair for all, it just showed that team was "prepared" not cheating. I also understand having a "bank" of ready-to-go tests in case someone drops the ball when time comes to submit the test, but ESs are (from my experience) given ample time to put any test together. I have written four this season. Yes, it is time-consuming and yes, I have given up many weekends working instead of taking my family to the movies or hiking, but there is a great satisfaction when students leave the room and say they really "enjoyed" taking your test. (Show me a "regular" student say that after taking a test you make at school!) :D

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