Aug 8, 2008, 11:15:09 AM8/8/08
to Academic Decathlon Coaches
I don't think that you can predetermine "good teams" and give them
some kind of priority - that does a huge disservice to teams that are
coming on for whatever reason.
However, the disparity from room to room is huge, as is the disparity
over the course of a day.
I've always thought that there should be some kind of a qualifying
round--where top students from each room are sent on to a scoring
round. In that room, judges would know that they have to rank order
the kids, and the best one truly would win. I know it would take a
little longer, but that seems only fair considering the hours and
hours and hours these kids put into the competition.
The quality of judges also is important. I know getting volunteers is
difficult, but pulling people off the street results is such wide
variation. What about some sort of partnership with the CSU system?
Why can't we use grad students and professors in communications and
English to judge their areas of expertise? It seems as though that
would be valuable experience for future educators and professionals.
Whoever judges, we need more formal calibration. Videos of past medal
winners could be used to show the difference between a gold and a
silver, for example, or a medalist versus a non-medalist.
This is a big deal for our kids. They know, since we always get a
morning slot, that chances of high scores are rare. They know the
rooms reserve the big scores for the afternoon. That's just not right.