Binder Events

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JoeyC
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Binder Events

Post by JoeyC » September 4th, 2019, 11:08 am

How do we feel about the slow increase in binder events?
On the ID events I completely understand, and this isn't about those events;
It's about events like Machines, and Sounds, as well as Dynamic Planet.

I feel that events like Machines really don't need binders in that most of their test are basic physics; no history at all. Maybe at best they need a formula sheet, but not a binder.
Same to an extent with Sounds.
Here I feel binders aren't a problem to the event as much as just being redundancies.

For events like Dynamic Planet I feel like a binder will give more credibility to testers who ask completely random questions, due to the fact that with such a large mass of information available, competitors should be "expected" to be able to find the answer.

What do you guys think?
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Re: Binder Events

Post by Unome » September 4th, 2019, 11:57 am

It takes a lot of time to check for the correct number of sheets, no hidden sheets, etc. It's very easy to check a binder (because there isn't really anything to check). You aren't obligated to stuff your binder full of info.

The situation you apply to Dynamic Planet could equally apply to ID events.
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Re: Binder Events

Post by TheCrazyChemist » September 4th, 2019, 12:02 pm

JoeyC wrote:
September 4th, 2019, 11:08 am
For events like Dynamic Planet I feel like a binder will give more credibility to testers who ask completely random questions, due to the fact that with such a large mass of information available, competitors should be "expected" to be able to find the answer.
I was also getting this feeling, although I don't do DP. I feel like the purpose of DP was that it was supposed to be a pure knowledge event. I feel like now you need less of that pure knowledge and more of binder preparation and the knowledge of what's in your binder and where. I also feel like there is now going to be a huge variance in DP tests, kind of like Thermo had, just because now DP has a binder.

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Re: Binder Events

Post by jaspattack » September 4th, 2019, 12:51 pm

I do prefer the challenge of note sheet events, since they are more limited in what they let you include and force you to put a lot more effort into your event instead of just like, copying some stuff off the internet and putting it in a binder the day of the event. I don't do DP, but didn't it have five note sheets already? Sure, it is totally going to change the way tests are written but you're already gathering a lot of information and such. With any binder event, there's going to be a lot of people who don't care about the learning and care more about binder prep. With Fossils, I spent more time memorizing and had a smaller binder while there was a team with a full 2 inch binder in there. It's always going to be about the competitors, ultimately.
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Re: Binder Events

Post by EastStroudsburg13 » September 4th, 2019, 1:12 pm

This has been a pretty consistent trend. When I competed in Division B, Dynamic Planet was limited to one note sheet, and Disease Detectives did not allow any note sheets at all. Given my age, it is generally my position that there are now too many binder events, but people more qualified in the realm of education than me decide on the event rules, I suppose.
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Re: Binder Events

Post by JoeyC » September 4th, 2019, 1:34 pm

I do feel like events like Dynamic Planet are supposed to be conceptual rather than just pulling out notes and answering everything. For example back in Glaciers you had to know what formations looked like. Now you can just pull up a ton of pics. More than that, certain diagrams and past tests can take away the spirit of the competition (cause those are sometimes reused)
I really feel like binders lower the skill cap, detract from the spirit of the event, and will cause tests to be less focused on the actual content of the event and more on trivia.
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Re: Binder Events

Post by NSCDS3RdCaptain » September 4th, 2019, 5:11 pm

Density doesn't really need a binder either. However, DP and SoM writers could respond by making tests longer, giving an advantage to teams that know the material cold.
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Re: Binder Events

Post by Unome » September 4th, 2019, 5:34 pm

JoeyC wrote: I do feel like events like Dynamic Planet are supposed to be conceptual rather than just pulling out notes and answering everything. For example back in Glaciers you had to know what formations looked like. Now you can just pull up a ton of pics. More than that, certain diagrams and past tests can take away the spirit of the competition (cause those are sometimes reused)
I really feel like binders lower the skill cap, detract from the spirit of the event, and will cause tests to be less focused on the actual content of the event and more on trivia.
One could also say that binders allow the event to focus more on content because trivia becomes, well, trivial.
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Re: Binder Events

Post by JoeyC » September 4th, 2019, 5:45 pm

Perhaps, but it'd be much easier to restrict the amount of notes to a few pages (if not one) in order to better fulfill the intents of the event; learning about oceanography - instead of some weird fringe knowledge.
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Re: Binder Events

Post by chalker » September 4th, 2019, 5:54 pm

As one of the key people behind the scenes pushing for more 'binders', I can tell you that there are several key reasons:

1. Any type of binder / page limitation puts a significant burden on the event supervisor to check ever team's resource. And no matter what language we use, it seems there are always ambiguities / confusion. For example, we used to say in certain events, something like "1 page of double sided notes" And then we started having issues with teams without easy access to a printer capable of printing in duplex printing 2 single-sided sheets and gluing them back to back - that meets the spirit but does it meet the letter of the rules? And what if the team laminates their single sheet of notes? Is that allowable? What about if they cut out small sections of notes from other sheets and glue that to a single sheet instead of writing directly on it? etc. etc.

2. Likewise, any type of binder / page limitation puts certain teams at a disadvantage. For example, what if a participant has poor eyesight? They can't read <5 point fonts like many kids can, meaning they are able to squeeze less information on the same sheet of paper. Ditto for teams that have easy access to scanners / desktop publishing software, that could potentially scan in a lot of info and lay it out in an optimal fashion, vs. teams that might need to physically cut and paste notes. Or what about teams that might be able to afford super lightweight and thin paper, that would allow them to squeeze more sheets of paper into a 2" binder than those using normal paper? etc. etc.

3. Allowing large binders generally forces supervisors to create better written exams. Far too many supervisors in the past reused questions or exams from year to year, again, putting certain competitors who had seen them in the past at an advantage. But, by knowing that teams are likely to bring copies of old tests and answer keys in their binders, event supervisors should realize they need to craft new questions and exams each year.

Hence, does Density Lab or Sounds of Music really need a large binder? Probably not. But do the reasons for permitting them far outweigh the reasons for prohibiting them? Probably so.

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