Though the regional supervisor may have framed it that way, I believe the real reason is because they don't want teams questioning the final scores of events. At invitationals, often you can find mistakes in grading tests and whatnot. Though you may get angry and maybe even cheated out of a medal, you don't move on to states as a result of an invitational. That's why it doesn't matter too much at invitationals. At a regional, however, the stakes are high - one arbitration could make the difference between a team making it and not. If they gave the tests back to each team, what would happen is every team that didn't make states who was close to making it would try to arbitrate to get their scores lower. Not returning the tests in a sense keeps the integrity of the regional.
I had a hardy debate after regionals last year with one of the Directors at our regional (won't mention which one). Though he agreed that he, as a student particiapant, learned a great deal from mistakes made at invitationals, he said the upper level directors "believe that returning the tests is antithetical to the learning process -- in that if you are studying to ace a test, you are not learning the subject as well as you should be." The problems and flaws with that position are many.
1. You're never taking the same test, this isn't the PSAT (which by the way at least tell you which sections you did better or worse on)
2. Anyone every heard of learning from your mistakes?
3. How infrequently, through our entire educational process, K thru college, do "educators" not return tests and/or graded work? Answer, other than standardize tests, NEVER! Why is that? Because it provides feedback and helps redirect your energies toward weak areas as well as validating what you thought to be correct.
4 Though I have yet to enter, I believe it is common practice in the business world to perform perfomance appraisals. I don't think they just say, "well Bob, your the 12th best guy on the assemble line, you need to do better" and then walk you to the door. Bob thought he was doing a good job, and wants to get better. If the boss told Bob, "Bob, your really solid on the nuts and bolts, but moving the widgit from A to B needs some work" then Bob has a better chance at performing better, DO YA THINK! Give it some thought. If you can honestly say, you have never found value in reviewing an exam, then you are a better man or woman than me. OUT