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> DDT-Wide Scrimmage, Ideas from a car ride
Scholastic Under...
post Jan 3 2016, 04:21 AM
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Hey all! So, just as a short introduction, if you don't know me, I'm a Senior in my third year of Decathlon, super hyped, kinda obsessed. All right, that's enough about me!

So, I had an idea while I was thinking about scores in my car (because, y'know, what else would I be thinking about?). We have the coaches across DDT administer some set of tests to their kids (Maybe a Demidec test?) and we have everybody post scores on here how they did.

Granted, I do realize that this sounds EXACTLY like how we handle all of the other competitions throughout the year. However, the whole concept I'm looking at is one that allows for all of us, no matter the distance, to compete with one another and collaborate on what we think is the best direction for our teams, which tests were crazy hard or crazy easy, which kids we suspect are on some Decathlon drug, and whatever else we may think of.

I've noticed that the board keeps hitting these dead spots where there's not really much to say, and I think that something like this would serve to revive the board, while also allowing for us to incorporate more schools into Scrimmages that would normally struggle because of transportation, scheduling, etc. I think this would be really cool to do, and if anyone has any ideas of how to do it (or just wants to say I'm a dingus for even considering such an idea), I'd love to hear from you!

I have an idea of how I want to handle this, but I think the experienced coaches and administrators on here would have a far better idea than me. Thank you for your time! smile.gif


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Herohito
post Jan 3 2016, 04:04 PM
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I've always thought that a more continuous sort of competition in the downtime between tests would be sorta neat, though it's never materialized. Specifically, the USAD Testing Center seemed to be a promising source for that kind of competitive environment, were it to be expanded to accommodate that kind of head-to-head testing. It would work the best if we had real USAD questions, simply because DemiDec has never really managed to effectively mimic the style of USAD questions. I know from experience that USAD-style questions are much tougher to write than anyone really gives them credit for; there is a reason why they get actual experts in their own fields to put the tests together.

If USAD would be on board with cooperating to make something like this, that would be fantastic. If they donated questions, that would be almost as good (we'd just have to make our own test software which in this case would not be all that hard). Otherwise it would need its own base of questions, and that would be the really hard part.

We have done something similar to this on a local level before, and we had some success but it was also increasingly difficult to do as the AD scene dwindled and the logistics remained difficult. I'd really like to see this happen on a larger scale and I have suggested it before to USAD (as if they listen).
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Scholastic Under...
post Jan 3 2016, 06:21 PM
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QUOTE (Herohito @ Jan 3 2016, 10:04 AM) *
I've always thought that a more continuous sort of competition in the downtime between tests would be sorta neat, though it's never materialized. Specifically, the USAD Testing Center seemed to be a promising source for that kind of competitive environment, were it to be expanded to accommodate that kind of head-to-head testing. It would work the best if we had real USAD questions, simply because DemiDec has never really managed to effectively mimic the style of USAD questions. I know from experience that USAD-style questions are much tougher to write than anyone really gives them credit for; there is a reason why they get actual experts in their own fields to put the tests together.

If USAD would be on board with cooperating to make something like this, that would be fantastic. If they donated questions, that would be almost as good (we'd just have to make our own test software which in this case would not be all that hard). Otherwise it would need its own base of questions, and that would be the really hard part.

We have done something similar to this on a local level before, and we had some success but it was also increasingly difficult to do as the AD scene dwindled and the logistics remained difficult. I'd really like to see this happen on a larger scale and I have suggested it before to USAD (as if they listen).

Coaches that have access to the Training Center (and us students to an extent) are able to access the testing banks for the questions on there. That would help gather questions more quickly and effectively smile.gif

Also, while Demidec questions certainly aren't perfect, I'd say they're probably about equal to the TC's questions in terms of accuracy. TC questions have popped up quite a bit on the real USAD tests, but many of the questions are also error-ridden, which could be quite annoying. Demidec has errors as well, but I would say that they're less frequent than USAD's questions (though I am saying that with limited experience, of course)

This post has been edited by Scholastic Underdog: Jan 3 2016, 06:28 PM


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Herohito
post Jan 3 2016, 08:50 PM
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You simply cannot do that. Without USAD's blessing, using their questions is a form of IP infringement. You would get sued for that, or at least given a C&D letter, rather quickly. Same goes for DemiDec of course, but we're assuming DD's cooperation for the sake of this project.

I've noticed micro-level (on the questions themselves) errors within both USAD and DemiDec tests, and in truth I don't think I spent enough time evaluating them to determine which one had more errors. However, I have seen more significant macro-level failures on the part of DemiDec tests, in the sense that I was left with an impression of "that was a very poorly designed test" more often than I was comfortable with. TC questions are probably worse than USAD Round X questions - there is a quality check process for competition exams, after all - but they are still USAD.

On a related note, our school had its own practice essay testing center that we used to write competition-style essays for practice. It would also help to have something like that if there were volunteers who would grade them.
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The Evil Dr. Cal...
post Jan 4 2016, 12:34 AM
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How about Decademy? I could ask Stephen, Nick, or Marin for their permission to use some of their materials.


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Scholastic Under...
post Jan 4 2016, 12:51 AM
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QUOTE (The Evil Dr. Calculus @ Jan 3 2016, 06:34 PM) *
How about Decademy? I could ask Stephen, Nick, or Marin for their permission to use some of their materials.

That would work! Though I don't think Marin is involved anymore, Nick would probably be really open to the idea


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Scholastic Under...
post Jan 4 2016, 02:19 PM
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Does anyone on here have a pretty good idea of TC vs. Demidec vs. Decademy in terms of material quality? I only know from my limited experience, so I'm sure some of you coaches might be able to shed some light


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Scholastic Under...
post Jan 5 2016, 02:36 AM
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Nick has given us permission to use the Decademy tests for this mega-scrimmage! My email from Nick:
QUOTE
Hey Nick,

Thanks for reaching out. That would be fine with me--sounds like a fun idea! The only concern that comes to mind is making sure that students involved do not take the exams without their coaches' permission. So, if you do end up using our tests, it might be a good idea to have some sort of form that the coach and/or student could sign to make sure they're okay with the fact that these tests are being used. A number of our customers use the tests for in-class exams, so for their sake I would just like to make sure this doesn't affect that.

Also, if you're doing this online, we could probably provide the Excel files for the exams, if you wanted to upload them into Google Forms (I'm not sure how that would work, but it sounds cool) or something similar.

Anyway, if this materializes into an actual event or series of events, just keep me in the loop, or at least forward me whatever form(s) you come up with.

Have a good night!

There are certainly individuals on this board that will better plan this than I can, so I suppose we now move onto the logistics of the scrimmage. When do we do it, do we take the tests online or on paper, do we score ourselves (as teams) or do it online somehow, etc. etc.?


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Herohito
post Jan 5 2016, 05:13 AM
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My recommendations.

- 8 events, 7 academics and essay. Basically just like online scrimmage. 7 events if volunteers for essay grading isn't a realistic goal.
- Have the tests online. Nick had the right idea in uploading them to something similar to Google Forms, though it'd need some custom features (registration etc).
- Allow a certain window of time (perhaps 1 week, with time constraints on delay between exams) and give registration to the coaches. Each test is timed and proctoring is preferred.
- Essays performed the same way. If you want I could ask the person who created our essay testing center if he still has the code to it somewhere.

My idea is something with minimal logistical requirements so that schools that may not necessarily have the means to do a full paper scrimmage could still participate.
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TinDefacto
post Jan 6 2016, 02:27 AM
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I really really really wanna make this happen. Nick, I freaking love you for this. (And many other things, but my point stands. tongue.gif)

ALL INTERESTED PLEASE FILL OUT THIS QUICK GOOGLE FORM. <-- For coaches only; if you're a student, pass on the link to your coach! smile.gif You won't need a DDT account to participate!

QUOTE (Herohito @ Jan 5 2016, 12:13 AM) *
7 events if volunteers for essay grading isn't a realistic goal.

I like the way you think, but alas, I don't think that would be possible. Maybe next year, but for now, this late into the game, I'm thinking we just stick to the seven.



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Herohito
post Jan 6 2016, 06:19 AM
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I honestly think it's way too late to do anything this academic year in general. Regionals is in a month, and State a month after that. This sort of scrimmage is best saved for earlier in the year when there is a definitive lack of competitive motivation; right now is when everyone is already putting their all into studying and doesn't really need to be pushed more than they are already being pushed. This also takes a while both to implement in any meaningful way and to organize (teams have to be ready).

There are two major benefits I see from implementing something like this:
1. To give students a motivation during the giant period of downtime before the Regionals competition.
2. To help students and teams see where they rank relative to others, how good they are in their state and in the country, and what subjects they as individuals and teams could improve in (e.g. to see if the tests were hard or if they are just particularly weak at a given topic).

In both cases it's a little too late in the year for either of those.

Would be really cool if we could actually make this happen, but probably not going to be something we can just instantly put together.
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The Evil Dr. Cal...
post Jan 6 2016, 12:59 PM
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You would really need to let the coaches know at the beginning of the season so that they can put it into their schedule.


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Scholastic Under...
post Jan 6 2016, 01:34 PM
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QUOTE (The Evil Dr. Calculus @ Jan 6 2016, 06:59 AM) *
You would really need to let the coaches know at the beginning of the season so that they can put it into their schedule.

I completely agree. I don't expect this to go off without a hitch, nor do I expect a large number of coaches to participate. However, I hope that by doing it this year, we can fix some logistical problems so that next year runs much smoother. I'm thinking of this as essentially a test run of sorts, with as many coaches participating as possible, while also understanding that many simply won't be able to do so.


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Stanley Tree
post Jan 7 2016, 12:52 AM
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For me as a coach, I don't find value in scrimmages at this point, or really any more scrimmages than we already do. We have 4 meets a years, and each of those meets is several hours that could be spent studying- plus, no one is going to want to study the rest of that day. I don't see a whole lot of value in overloading scrimmages, especially this time of year.


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Scholastic Under...
post Jan 7 2016, 01:20 AM
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QUOTE (Stanley Tree @ Jan 6 2016, 06:52 PM) *
For me as a coach, I don't find value in scrimmages at this point, or really any more scrimmages than we already do. We have 4 meets a years, and each of those meets is several hours that could be spent studying- plus, no one is going to want to study the rest of that day. I don't see a whole lot of value in overloading scrimmages, especially this time of year.

I understand where you're coming from, and this is in no way an insistence on this occurring now. I meant this to be more of an idea to be implemented in the future if at all possible. Also, while I get that you believe you have more than enough scrimmage time, it's a simple fact that a lot of schools don't. I'd love for this to be a means of reaching out across the country (especially since USAD is sucking at that) and having schools participate that could never even dream of being a part of a real scrimmage. Scrimmages can be expensive, and travel to them can create a lot of barriers. I'm by no means an expert in Decathlon and I know that a lot of what I'm saying is wishful thinking at best, but I still want to see this happen. I'm sick and tired of everything being Texas-and-Cali-centric, with a few scattered posts from Arizona, Pennsylvania, and a couple other states. I'm tired of the "LOLstates" being that-- effort brings success, and easy accessibility to things like this could help to facilitate greater participation and enthusiasm for Decathlon in those states that historically are practically non-existent. If you and the others admins of the board don't find worth in this occurring, I fully understand that. I just want more camaraderie and accessibility in the world of Decathlon. That's all. This is what I could come up with. Flawed? Heck yeah. But maybe the idea will help to push us in the right direction, towards something that most everyone can get behind.

Tl;dr I want some way to give everybody access to that which many of us in the powerhouse states take for granted.


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Herohito
post Jan 7 2016, 03:56 AM
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I'd also see the merit in making it a less official scrimmage and more of a means to test yourself. Testing is much less unpleasant if you can do one test a day from home and take breaks as you want, and it's not much less effective as a means of doing what scrimmages are supposed to do. The biggest problem is cheating, but no one really cares about that when there's nothing at stake.
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TinDefacto
post Jan 8 2016, 07:04 AM
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Yeah, given that only four coaches have filled out the interest form, I don't think it'll fly at this point. (If you're an interested coach and haven't filled it out yet, seriously, do it!!)

Nonetheless, I think it's an awesome idea for the future, and I'm glad we got the idea now so we can jump into it next year!! biggrin.gif


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Herohito
post Jan 8 2016, 04:12 PM
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I wouldn't expect much interest until maybe 3 years have passed. It always takes a while.
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Allan21996
post Jan 8 2016, 07:40 PM
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My team won't be participating because our January is very busy with scrimmages and prepping for regionals already. 4 teams is a lot though! Any scrimmage over here that is more than 3 teams is always a lot. Keep it small from the smart, make sure it's strong. More teams means the more needs that have to be tended to.


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Stanley Tree
post Jan 9 2016, 02:48 AM
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I think this can be really fun, but there are definitely some things that need to be done.

1. We need a portal of sorts that can ensure they get the tests done in 30 minutes and minimize the chance for cheating.
2. One of the awesome things about meets is getting medals- how are we going to do something equivalent?
3. We need a third-party person to administer all the scores- Nick that may actually be you next year, or Sebastian or someone like you guys.

I'm excited that a bunch of teams want to participate already, that's huge. This is legit a great idea, just not in the middle of the year for us.


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