Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby windu34 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:10 pm

Alex-RCHS wrote:
Unome wrote:After a day to chew on the policy in more depth, I'm beginning to think that increased difficulty in getting a second team combined with a lot of the 11th-20th finishing teams being in tier 4 for the lottery may be a driver in pushing some teams away from MIT. Lack of a good way to handle extremely high demand may be what eventually removes their status as the most competitive invitational (although it's certainly very early to speculate on that, when we haven't even seen how registration is going this year yet).

One possible way to alleviate the difficulty of returning for teams ranked 11th-20th would be to have some way of weighing Tier 4. Perhaps teams that attended MIT or nationals last year get higher chances of being selected based on their results.

I would also like to see Tier 1 extend to the top 10 at nationals, or schools who placed in the top 10 at nationals and attended MIT. It seems odd to limit it to only the top schools attending MIT in the previous year. I understand the goal of rewarding loyalty/attendance, but there are some teams (Enloe this year, Clements last year) that placed top-10 at nationals but not at MIT and therefore will be in Tier 4.

I think Unome points out an important distinction here. You are assuming that MIT WANTS to remain as the most competitive invitational. Based on this new policy, I would argue that its not clear if they wish to continue to build their prestige. They have slotted a large portion of their registration to local teams so they obviously want to have an influence regionally, but this new system seems to point at less of an emphasis to be extremely competitive.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby daydreamer0023 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:49 pm

Alex-RCHS wrote:
Unome wrote:After a day to chew on the policy in more depth, I'm beginning to think that increased difficulty in getting a second team combined with a lot of the 11th-20th finishing teams being in tier 4 for the lottery may be a driver in pushing some teams away from MIT. Lack of a good way to handle extremely high demand may be what eventually removes their status as the most competitive invitational (although it's certainly very early to speculate on that, when we haven't even seen how registration is going this year yet).

One possible way to alleviate the difficulty of returning for teams ranked 11th-20th would be to have some way of weighing Tier 4. Perhaps teams that attended MIT or nationals last year get higher chances of being selected based on their results.

I would also like to see Tier 1 extend to the top 10 at nationals, or schools who placed in the top 10 at nationals and attended MIT. It seems odd to limit it to only the top schools attending MIT in the previous year. I understand the goal of rewarding loyalty/attendance, but there are some teams (Enloe this year, Clements last year) that placed top-10 at nationals but not at MIT and therefore will be in Tier 4.


I would agree with that, though Enloe would be placed in Tier 2, since we were a National Qualifier, so we wouldn't be affected as much (though getting one of 15 spots in Tier 2 is not a guarantee). But I do feel it is extremely unfair for very qualified teams from competitive states (ie. Mentor, Ward Melville, Clements, etc.) who might not have a had a chance to go to Nationals last year just because their state is so competitive. Tournaments like MIT is one of the only places that allows them to get a taste of that level of competition, which in my opinion is one of the biggest draws of MIT, and the current tiering system is biased against them.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Raleway » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:21 pm

Try this poll out then :O See what the community thinks

http://www.strawpoll.me/16421118
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby fizzle » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:27 am

Unome wrote:
EastStroudsburg13 wrote:That's a very interesting policy. I like the emphasis on Massachusetts teams; I do think they could think about expanding that policy to apply to all of New England, but it's definitely a nice move from such an in-demand tournament.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that for the majority of local or semi-local teams, going to MIT isn't worth it (especially with Harvard and Brown right there, and Yale somewhat close by). Based on my experience, very few teams finishing in the bottom half overall get anything useful out of most MIT tests.

Interesting thought - Harvard is clearly intending to focus on local teams. If MIT and Harvard were on the same day, that may help alleviate some of the stress on MIT's capacity.


I think you're right on the money. As useful as the test difficulty must be for Nationals-tier teams, we don't get much out of it as a team competing locally. The timing of the invitational, which is always around our midterms week, combined with the fact that there are now great alternative invitationals in our area, might just be the nail in the coffin for our (non) attendance this year.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:36 am

Regarding the registration tiering system, it's probably worth noting that MIT would have been criticized no matter what they chose to do. Without it, the registration window would likely have fallen to a minute or two, at which point the main determining factors in successful registration are typing speed and internet connection.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby nicholasmaurer » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:15 am

fizzle wrote: As useful as the test difficulty must be for Nationals-tier teams, we don't get much out of it as a team competing locally.


MIT is an amazing tournament, my students' have always enjoyed it, and I have been an ES there for the past three years. With that being said, I honestly have questions about the test value even to Nationals-tier teams. The question difficulty at MIT is unlike anything you see at a State or National tournament, which is both good and bad.

On the one hand, it is an excellent opportunity for "high altitude training." On the other, I think it may be of limited value in practicing what students typically need to know, and may not be as useful for states/nationals preparation as a more typical invitational.

Ultimately, I know my students' love the chance to feel challenged and learn new things - which is why we have chosen to attend in years past.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:23 am

Discussion time,

Regarding the fact that several teams aren't returning to MIT this year, I can think of several possible explanations, which of course may overlap:

1) The date change resulted in conflicts that are more severe than in the past.
2) MIT tests are not as valuable to top teams as is generally believed.
3) Watermarking doesn't work, and tests circulate easily anyway.
4) The uncertainty in bringing two teams is a deterrent for schools who are dependent on being able to bring two teams.

Thoughts? Analysis of these factors' relative importance? Additional explanations?
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby nicholasmaurer » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:35 am

Unome wrote:1) The date change resulted in conflicts that are more severe than in the past.


Major factor for Solon HS - we would still be going if it was on 1/19/19.

Unome wrote:2) MIT tests are not as valuable to top teams as is generally believed.


I think they are less valuable for state/national tournament preparation than is "generally believed" - that is not to say they lack significant value.

Unome wrote:3) Watermarking doesn't work, and tests circulate easily anyway.


As an ES I'm not a fan of the watermarking. In practice, I don't think the tests leaked too widely before the official release date (although I had no reason to look since I had my own copy).

Unome wrote:4) The uncertainty in bringing two teams is a deterrent for schools who are dependent on being able to bring two teams.


Definitely a concern for us and others, but we would certainly attempt to make the trip if it weren't for the conflict. Given that it's uncertain AND conflicts with an excellent tournament much closer to home, we chose Centerville.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:00 am

nicholasmaurer wrote:
Unome wrote:1) The date change resulted in conflicts that are more severe than in the past.


Major factor for Solon HS - we would still be going if it was on 1/19/19.

Unome wrote:2) MIT tests are not as valuable to top teams as is generally believed.


I think they are less valuable for state/national tournament preparation than is "generally believed" - that is not to say they lack significant value.

Unome wrote:3) Watermarking doesn't work, and tests circulate easily anyway.


As an ES I'm not a fan of the watermarking. In practice, I don't think the tests leaked too widely before the official release date (although I had no reason to look since I had my own copy).

Unome wrote:4) The uncertainty in bringing two teams is a deterrent for schools who are dependent on being able to bring two teams.


Definitely a concern for us and others, but we would certainly attempt to make the trip if it weren't for the conflict. Given that it's uncertain AND conflicts with an excellent tournament much closer to home, we chose Centerville.

That turned out to be a pretty short discussion. I agree that conflicts are probably the biggest concern for most teams, and agree exactly with what you said about test quality. Although, unwatermarked tests seem to be somewhat widely available - I'm told they were circulating on Discord pretty soon after the tournament, and have heard rumors of trading MIT for Golden Gate. I'm not sure whether it's that much of a factor regardless.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby sciolyatmit » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:35 am

Hey everyone! For those of you who are interested in some of the internal workings of MIT Science Olympiad, you should check out our new blog on Medium.

We released our first post on our registration policy earlier today.

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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby WhatScience? » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:16 am

Just wondering, is watermarking happening this year?

Because last year I saw that it only generated annoyance towards MIT but didn't stop trading. In fact, it made their test more coveted. It will be interesting to see what they do this year.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:28 am

WhatScience? wrote:but didn't stop trading

I have wondered about this. Unfortunately I haven't had any basis from which to speculate on the frequency of trading watermark-scrubbed tests last year.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby WhatScience? » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:48 pm

Unome wrote:
WhatScience? wrote:but didn't stop trading

I have wondered about this. Unfortunately I haven't had any basis from which to speculate on the frequency of trading watermark-scrubbed tests last year.

As someone who let's say observed this trading, I can tell you that after the watermarking, people wanted to trade for MIT more and were willing to give much more in return. MIT was highly overrated and was requested and traded at a rate far greater than it would have been otherwise.

A benefit of this is that it allowed for people with say only one or two tests (MIT being one) to gain a lot more easily, but on the downside, after the test circulated (which it did) the trading season ended, making it harder for newer people.

I would say MIT was one of the most traded tests, directly because of watermarking.
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby Unome » Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:02 pm

WhatScience? wrote:
Unome wrote:
WhatScience? wrote:but didn't stop trading

I have wondered about this. Unfortunately I haven't had any basis from which to speculate on the frequency of trading watermark-scrubbed tests last year.

As someone who let's say observed this trading, I can tell you that after the watermarking, people wanted to trade for MIT more and were willing to give much more in return. MIT was highly overrated and was requested and traded at a rate far greater than it would have been otherwise.

A benefit of this is that it allowed for people with say only one or two tests (MIT being one) to gain a lot more easily, but on the downside, after the test circulated (which it did) the trading season ended, making it harder for newer people.

I would say MIT was one of the most traded tests, directly because of watermarking.

That's approximately what I thought was the case. So it was in fact common for the watermarks to be removed?
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Re: Science Olympiad at MIT Invitational 2019

Postby WhatScience? » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:27 pm

Unome wrote:
WhatScience? wrote:
Unome wrote:I have wondered about this. Unfortunately I haven't had any basis from which to speculate on the frequency of trading watermark-scrubbed tests last year.

As someone who let's say observed this trading, I can tell you that after the watermarking, people wanted to trade for MIT more and were willing to give much more in return. MIT was highly overrated and was requested and traded at a rate far greater than it would have been otherwise.

A benefit of this is that it allowed for people with say only one or two tests (MIT being one) to gain a lot more easily, but on the downside, after the test circulated (which it did) the trading season ended, making it harder for newer people.

I would say MIT was one of the most traded tests, directly because of watermarking.

That's approximately what I thought was the case. So it was in fact common for the watermarks to be removed?

No it was not. People traded with watermarks and nobody cared. After all, nobody would report to MIT.
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