Nationals Event Discussion

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby windu34 » June 6th, 2019, 7:47 am

Out of curiosity, how many points was the test out of and how did the top teams score? Were scores close between top teams or were they more spread out? What was a bigger factor differentiating teams -- the multiple choice, free response, or lab?
Thank you for the feedback! I am not allowed to give away too many raw score statistics, but I can say the test was out of 300 points, 1st and 2nd were very well spaced out (~25 points) from each other, with another 10 or so points separating 2 and 3 as well as 3 and 4. 4-6 were a bit closer, with only a few points separating them, and there was a 10 pt difference between 6 and 7. Looking at the score distributions for all the events, I think the spread among the top 10 in Circuit Lab C was one of the best and among Forensics in that regard. The free response and the lab were definitely the differentiating factors, but most teams got about the same number of points on the lab (30-40), so I think the free response was more important in the end. I think since your team prepared using college level resources, you were much more prepared than other teams for some of the free response calculations. Alot of teams really struggled with it. I would not have made the exam any harder if I were to redo it, but I think I would have introduced a bit more written response since that is something the test was lacking in.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Raven » June 6th, 2019, 11:22 am

Herp Div C (8): -1/10.

After all the flak this event/supervisor got last year for nationals, it was really disappointing to come back and take a test that was just as easy, if not easier. The test was simply nowhere near the standard that a national, state, or honestly even regional-level test should meet. The stations consisted of solely one specimen identification and then a simple follow up question on habitat, diet, reproduction, etc, making it difficult for teams to differentiate themselves thanks to the lack of complexity of the test (as evidenced by the scoring distributions).

As people who love Herpetology and were looking to be challenged at Nationals, this test was ridiculously easy, and is an insult to the hard work and time that competitors put into the event. It’s clear that the supervisor was out of touch with students’ level of knowledge as well as the expectations of the event. Most teams were left standing around doing nothing after they finished the two extremely easy questions at a station. This should never be the case. In the end, it left a bitter taste that the last competition this event would run in for several years would result in such a tragic fate.

Moreover, it’s concerning and disappointing to us that there was seemingly no oversight of the event’s flaws - we’re sure that if any higher-up in the Science Olympiad organization or even another event supervisor reviewed the test, they would have immediately understood that it was far too simplistic and basic for a Nationals test. (We’d also bet that almost every competitor was more challenged by their state test than this one, which to us is unfair and a direct contradiction to Science Olympiad’s general rule of increasing difficulty from states to nats.)

We’re frustrated, disappointed, and sad that herp competitors had to experience this test/supervisor again, and we hope that SOINC actually (!) looks at our feedback this year and tries to change things for the better. Again, at a nationals level competition, it is unacceptable to have such a poor quality test. When the test only has 34 IDs and each only has one, simple question (with no open-ended at all), it is not sufficient to determine who really is the best in an event.

I agree with SOnerd’s ideas (see page one of this thread) on setting guidelines for tests or even having one person check over them. At least something to show the event supervisor that high schoolers are capable. A nationals tournament is different from regionals and states in that it should not have supervisor shortages and other complications may result in poor event quality.

The same complaints surface year after year after year. After 35 years of Science Olympiad you would expect these issues to be resolved and for Nationals to truly be a top tier competition that fairly tests all teams on their abilities. As we read last year’s event discussion forums, the same concerns are brought up by dozens of people for various events. No change has happened, and this leaves us in a powerless position. What can we do except complain on the forums?

As for the rest of the tournament, Cornell’s campus was beautiful and most other events were run quite well.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby krasabnk » June 6th, 2019, 12:10 pm

Herp Div C (8): -1/10.

After all the flak this event/supervisor got last year for nationals, it was really disappointing to come back and take a test that was just as easy, if not easier. The test was simply nowhere near the standard that a national, state, or honestly even regional-level test should meet. The stations consisted of solely one specimen identification and then a simple follow up question on habitat, diet, reproduction, etc, making it difficult for teams to differentiate themselves thanks to the lack of complexity of the test (as evidenced by the scoring distributions).
May I ask about whether you had any questions on frog calls or other vocalizations? I did not make it to nationals, but it was definitely disappointed in the fact that my state competition, although it was expected to include them, did not include any herp vocalizations and was just about as easy as the regionals.

I agree, although again I did not attend nationals, that the SOINC should listen to the students' concerns about these types of events. Generally, there is a severe underestimation in binder events as students are able to study and research as much information as possible and place that information in a binder. At my state competition, my partner and I felt disappointed that we did not have to use our binder that much at all to answer questions and place highly. Most of the questions included stuff about reproduction, simple anatomy, diet, and identification. My partner and I would finish a station a minute before the time was up, causing us, like you guys, to stand around and fiddle our fingertips, waiting for the stations to switch. If anyone from the Enloe or NCSSM Herpetology team reads this, I congratulate you on your best efforts at state (I placed 3rd behind you two) and especially Enloe's effort at nationals. Thanks for representing NC well!

As a rising Division D student who spent much of his homeschool time anxiously studying for this event, it is disheartening to see the state of the less popular events stay consistently weakened. I hope that when the national tournament comes to my university next year, I can aid in making sure that events such as ornithology or fossils can be tough and fair for everyone. When and if herpetology returns, I hope to see it come back with better standards. It is not a popular event and is regarded as one of the easier events, but to those who continually study the event generally are the ones who are fascinated by the topic and wish to be challenged.
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[b]2019: [/b]
regionals/states
 <3 Herpetology: 1/3
 :evil: Circuit Lab 5/15
 :?: Experimental Design -/19

[b]2018: [/b]
regionals/ states
<3 Herpetology: 1/4
 :?: Disease Detectives: 4/19

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby ys6810 » June 6th, 2019, 1:15 pm

Herp Div C (8): -1/10.

After all the flak this event/supervisor got last year for nationals, it was really disappointing to come back and take a test that was just as easy, if not easier. The test was simply nowhere near the standard that a national, state, or honestly even regional-level test should meet. The stations consisted of solely one specimen identification and then a simple follow up question on habitat, diet, reproduction, etc, making it difficult for teams to differentiate themselves thanks to the lack of complexity of the test (as evidenced by the scoring distributions).
May I ask about whether you had any questions on frog calls or other vocalizations? I did not make it to nationals, but it was definitely disappointed in the fact that my state competition, although it was expected to include them, did not include any herp vocalizations and was just about as easy as the regionals.

I agree, although again I did not attend nationals, that the SOINC should listen to the students' concerns about these types of events. Generally, there is a severe underestimation in binder events as students are able to study and research as much information as possible and place that information in a binder. At my state competition, my partner and I felt disappointed that we did not have to use our binder that much at all to answer questions and place highly. Most of the questions included stuff about reproduction, simple anatomy, diet, and identification. My partner and I would finish a station a minute before the time was up, causing us, like you guys, to stand around and fiddle our fingertips, waiting for the stations to switch. If anyone from the Enloe or NCSSM Herpetology team reads this, I congratulate you on your best efforts at state (I placed 3rd behind you two) and especially Enloe's effort at nationals. Thanks for representing NC well!

As a rising Division D student who spent much of his homeschool time anxiously studying for this event, it is disheartening to see the state of the less popular events stay consistently weakened. I hope that when the national tournament comes to my university next year, I can aid in making sure that events such as ornithology or fossils can be tough and fair for everyone. When and if herpetology returns, I hope to see it come back with better standards. It is not a popular event and is regarded as one of the easier events, but to those who continually study the event generally are the ones who are fascinated by the topic and wish to be challenged.
Hi, Enloe team here. Thank you! I actually found herp at States this year quite difficult, much more so than nats or regionals. Regarding vocalizations, there was none (I'm a bit disappointed I was never tested on a single call my whole time doing herp :'( ). If you're making an ornithology test next year, I'll be looking forward to it!

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby krasabnk » June 6th, 2019, 1:57 pm

Hi, Enloe team here. Thank you! I actually found herp at States this year quite difficult, much more so than nats or regionals. Regarding vocalizations, there was none (I'm a bit disappointed I was never tested on a single call my whole time doing herp :'( ). If you're making an ornithology test next year, I'll be looking forward to it!
No vocalizations during my time doing herp either (then again, it was only two years...) ... I do not plan on making any tests (unless something interesting happens) but I would be more than willing to help with the set-up or organization of the test if possible. It just surprises me more that you said that the nationals test appeared to be more difficult. How did you feel about the nationals test for Herpetology in comparison to tests at Duke, MIT, and states?
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[b]2019: [/b]
regionals/states
 <3 Herpetology: 1/3
 :evil: Circuit Lab 5/15
 :?: Experimental Design -/19

[b]2018: [/b]
regionals/ states
<3 Herpetology: 1/4
 :?: Disease Detectives: 4/19

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby gz839918 » June 6th, 2019, 2:50 pm

Water Quality
This test had the caliber of a nationals test which last year's ecology test lacked. I also liked that we had to choose all that applied on the multiple choice, so we could prove the true degree of our know-how. However, I am a bit curious as to why the test did not appear to follow the rules manual. There was no hint of alderflies as an indicator species on the rules manual, so why was it being tested? Conversely, is it typical to see absolutely nothing about the "state and nationals only" topics, which were, well, reserved for state and nationals? Certain questions also required merely luck to answer as they were vague on what content they really wanted us to demonstrate. The question asking for the "form" of pollution involved in river acidification could elicit a spectrum of answers, like pH pollution, non-point pollution, mine drainage pollution, acidity pollution, SO2 pollution, and so forth. All such responses would be scientifically sound, but may have been off-target for what the test writer was looking for. A solid test in the end though.

Sounds of Music
The physics section of this test was primarily usage of formulas, with only basic algebra required. I wish there was more content concerning concepts in physics, so that it would be less about who could plug and chug fastest. There are many fascinating subtleties about acoustics that I spent much time on, and I would have preferred to see a test oriented towards physics as physicists see it, rather than calculator exercises for students. Nevertheless, this was not too bad; the section on musical instruments, however, is my biggest complaint. By zooming in on uncommon instruments, teams with an understanding of the big ideas in organology were at a disadvantage in comparison to teams who happened to have the correct obscure knowledge in their binders (although I suppose this is the purpose of the binder). The coverage of music theory was just right, neither too obscure nor too trivial. The pitch score test went slightly awry, as the tuning app couldn't even pick up our instrument correctly at first(!), although after some fiddling things worked. The event supervisors were very nice (except for a volunteer who acted rudely to my partner :( )—and it was exciting to talk to Colin Barber in person! A well-run event, but it was good and not great.

Circuit lab
The test portion of circuit lab was excellent. The problems challenged me and my partner to exert our reasoning skills with full force, while pacing our work against the ticking time. It was difficult, but I found the problems very intriguing. The lab portion seemed easy at first, but it was dismaying to me that the main objective of the lab portion hinged so tightly upon sifting and sorting through the jumble of resistors given to us in a plastic bag. I am sure that as with me, a great many teams knew how to do the lab, but by chance started by pulling the "wrong" resistors from the bag—the ones with resistance values that I wouldn't end up using on the lab—and so they couldn't finish within the allotted 15 minute crunch time. I also enjoyed that one of the volunteers told silly jokes before we entered the testing room :D. Definitely a brilliant test, although the lab was more lacking.

Overall
Although this was my first national tournament, I've discovered the experience to be thoroughly exciting and fulfilling. The dorms were good, the food excellent, the tests challenging, and all event rooms walkable. Violin music during awards seemed perhaps incompatible with the spirited vivacity of the crowd, and the opening ceremony could have been better executed, but these were minor in detracting from the tournament. I am very happy to have been a part of SONT 2019, and my team of the most hilarious bricks, bananas, bonobos, and best friends made the entire journey to, in, and out of Cornell a worthwhile part of my path through SciOly and high school. And it was fun to meet and compete with teams across the nation!
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby E.gorgonis » June 6th, 2019, 3:09 pm

Anatomy (19): um guys I think I died. So this test was really hard. Firstly the stations were not allocated very well I feel. All of the test's labeling was done in 2 stations which was difficult to say the least. We didn't finish parts of the labeling stations which I feel contributed the most to out score. Beyond that the test seemed to be split between the stations pretty evenly so that was nice. Tbh I got carried around 60,000 miles of blood vessels by my partner who wants to stop doing the event so :shock: (9/10)
Disease Detectives (6): Whew! this test was definitely very different from the regular format. The test was short and the multiple choice format felt limiting. I ended up doing a whole slate of questions on R0 with information in a test box that we had left untouched on our cheatsheet for 2 years which was surprising. Overall, the test was definitely well written but just not in the format of a regular DD test which tbh helped us since me and my partner were bad at coming up with multiple answers on the fly. The only thing I remember about it that was very weird was that one of the "identify the type of study to be used" questions were worded very weirdly. When I asked the proctor what it meant, he stared at it (while I was having a mini panic attack fearing I would run out of time) and then was like "what did I mean". He then had to go to his answer key to determine the meaning of the question... He was really nice about it though which helped me feel a lot better. (7/10)
Water Quality (2): so this.... was an experience. We got hecking bamboozled so much with this test. First, they set us up in a lad that was very similar to anatomy with tests spread all around and 1 answer key so me and my partner thought it was stations. Then we didn't realize you were supposed to use the lake Erie food web to answer questions until 15 minutes in so we were re-bubbling. Select all that apply is illegal, it's dumb, it makes babies cry and guess what this test was all about???? Beyond that, the test was easier than states (we have an amazing WQ proctor at states) but not to the point of insanity (since we were constantly second guessing ourselves over multiple select). I would have liked live specimens but I saw stoneflies by myself later so I'm not worried #wOnDErcHALLengE (6/10)
Overall:
food: amazing, my mom loved the fresh squeezed orange juice and collegetown had good boba (and sushi, and mediocre dim sum)
rooms: They sucked. The bathroom situation was abhorrent as well with me and my roommates having to wake up at weird times to shower. We were lucky however in that no one had claimed a first floor lounge (we were in Dolon) so that became our headquarters.
School: While I see many people talking about how it felt like an invitational, I spent the entirety of the trip googling over Cornell's campus. SO MUCH BOSTON IVY, there was Dame's Rocket, teasel, tons of Yellow flag and ragged robin as wildflowers (all introduced from Europe lol). The landscaping was also quality with delectable viburnums and even redbuds!! Also, it has to be said but their purple beech trees KICKED BUTT, HAHAHAHAHAH THEY WERE SO PRETTY. Anyways, I liked the place and didn't get the sense that it was like an invitational.
Ceremonies: opening was bad, I would have melted int the floor out of boredom except that I was dehydrated. Too many speeches. I was really looking forward to the swap meet but it was so late after that I had to go to bed to wake up alive on competition day (since I do DD). Closing was fine except for the music. Music was a meme, unclean pop opening and CLASSICAL closing. not my style, thank u, next :roll:
Summary: It was obviously really fun. Cornell was beautiful and This is my best year yet (8/10)
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Unome » June 6th, 2019, 3:55 pm

unclean pop opening
I wasn't paying attention during opening, did we actually get more of Nebraska?
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby GoldenKnight1 » June 7th, 2019, 3:03 am

unclean pop opening
I wasn't paying attention during opening, did we actually get more of Nebraska?
Not even close. Nebraska's music for the Parade of States was so much worse. And at Cornell there also were teams in the seats to cheer them on which helped with the energy.

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Raven » June 7th, 2019, 5:40 am

Herp Div C (8): -1/10.

After all the flak this event/supervisor got last year for nationals, it was really disappointing to come back and take a test that was just as easy, if not easier. The test was simply nowhere near the standard that a national, state, or honestly even regional-level test should meet. The stations consisted of solely one specimen identification and then a simple follow up question on habitat, diet, reproduction, etc, making it difficult for teams to differentiate themselves thanks to the lack of complexity of the test (as evidenced by the scoring distributions).
May I ask about whether you had any questions on frog calls or other vocalizations? I did not make it to nationals, but it was definitely disappointed in the fact that my state competition, although it was expected to include them, did not include any herp vocalizations and was just about as easy as the regionals.

As a rising Division D student who spent much of his homeschool time anxiously studying for this event, it is disheartening to see the state of the less popular events stay consistently weakened. I hope that when the national tournament comes to my university next year, I can aid in making sure that events such as ornithology or fossils can be tough and fair for everyone. When and if herpetology returns, I hope to see it come back with better standards. It is not a popular event and is regarded as one of the easier events, but to those who continually study the event generally are the ones who are fascinated by the topic and wish to be challenged.
As ys6810 said, there were no herp calls on the nationals test, however we did get tested on these during the states test.
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