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Grades in Sec School Champs

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 5 August 2014, 9:38 AM  
In the selections thread, Mikeb wrote; "Lyn it doesn't mean that juniors they couldn't run up though as in the case of Tegan. Better to run well at the higher level on a more challenging course and prove she was good enough, which she did. Yellow courses can really suit those who can scamper along and you don't have to possess true orienteering skills at that level. I'm not saying that those successful at yellow shouldn't be considered for selection but there needs to be pretty compelling evidence over those with the proven experience at the level required."

Mike, I agree. Tegan and Marisol showed their chops on orange and good on them. But it only underlines that orange should be the JGC grade! Otherwise there is a big conflict between the NZSS functioning as a school comprtition, individual competition and selection trial.

Applying the "but what if everyone did that" test - How satisfying or worthwhile would it be to "win" JGC if say the top 10 Junior girls had ALL run up to IG for trialing purposes? And what would the "medium-good" IGC competitors think as they got pushed out of contention by what would effectively become a de facto U15 elite race at the top of IGC?

If the championship (esp junior) grades were more appropriate so that then IMHO they would act as a better selection criterion and a better competition on the day as well.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 5 August 2014, 10:37 AM  
The grades are relevant - to NZs grading system, and since it is the NZ champs, the point is to find the best orienteers in New Zealand. They are not just a trial for selecting a team for Oz and should not be changed just to fit into one.

I've lost count of how many Oz vs NZ schools challenges we have won without defeat, we have just had our most successful JWOC, and with our juniors going from strength to strength there cant be too much wrong with our current system (especially when Oz have made little to no improvement). It is all just people getting their knickers in a twist over team selections, which just about always happens regardless

Show Profile  comatose Posted: 5 August 2014, 1:02 PM  
Is that NZ versus AUS school teams, or NZ versus Australian STATE school teams?

I don't think M/W14 should be running yellow level at a NZSS championship event, I'm not sure who set the grade/level combinations for the SS level, but maybe it stems from before the advent of the year 7/8 category when the majority of Yr 9 competitors were novices. It should be rectified now, with Junior SS running orange for championship grade and yellow for standard grade. This would bring it into line with club levels, and encourage excellence in the sport (emphasizing the prestige of winning due to skill in navigation and good fitness, not just fitness/speed). I think if you want schools to back orienteering more in their sporting programmes, they have to see it as a competitive sport, not just a healthy recreational activity for large numbers of their pupils (although it can be both, but events should cater properly for both categories, not just participation)

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 5 August 2014, 1:55 PM  
@comatose: yes exactly.
I think Greg maybe didn't appreciate the issue is the use of lower grades in school champs than are used in club events and nationals. our current juniors didnt get so good as a result of dumbed down school events they got good by running NZgrades at club events. They should be able to compete for their schools against their age peers at the same level. In my experience working with a school team the inconsistency has bad spinoffs just as comatose ssuggests.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 5 August 2014, 2:14 PM  
I stand by what I said - this is NZ's school champs, and the grades in are in line with what is specified for them.

Changing the grade to be in line with club grades is a different argument to changing them to be in line with a different country, so they can be used as a trial for said country (which is where this whole argument has stemmed from - because someones knickers are in a twist over selections).

The school grades and club grades are different things for different purposes, and one point put forward here for changing them is that the top few % are above the school level. Yet we have over 300 kids turning up to Schools nationals and less than 100 turning up to Club nationals. So which one is doing a better job? Changing something for the few top % (who normally win regardless and are therefore less affected) or changing so that 95% of participants are more strongly affected and more likely to struggle and give up.

Show Profile  comatose Posted: 5 August 2014, 2:45 PM  
Greg, "this is NZ's school champs, and the grades in are in line with what is specified for them" is a tautological argument. Who set the school level? Why are these grades the school level? Why should the school level be less than the club level?

Do you see this on other sports? Do 13 year olds play touch rugby because full rugby would injure too many of them? Do year 9 hockey teams play with soft rubber balls to be more friendly for everyone? Do soccer games at that level have a "no tackling" rule for everyone because some players are scared of tackling? Get real.

Isn't that what the Standard grade is for at NZSS and other schools competitions, to give less confidant orienteers a meaningful race at a suitable level?

And this topic was shifted to a separate discussion to get away from the selection debate, please don't drag it back to that.

Show Profile  comatose Posted: 5 August 2014, 3:38 PM  
*I realise selection was mentioned in the original post, but I mean the current selection debate about individuals selected ("because someones knickers are in a twist over selections").

If there is a Schools O re-evaluation; then there will still be elements of trials/selection that would need to be considered as part of that.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 5 August 2014, 3:42 PM  
@comatose: yes exactly.
I think Greg maybe didn't appreciate the issue is the use of lower grades in school champs than are used in club events and nationals. our current juniors didnt get so good as a result of dumbed down school events they got good by running NZgrades at club events. They should be able to compete for their schools against their age peers at the same level. In my experience working with a school team the inconsistency has bad spinoffs just as comatose ssuggests.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 5 August 2014, 3:44 PM  
Oops double post remote device weirdness sorry

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 5 August 2014, 3:59 PM  
Someone (or people) at some point in time set these levels, and then they were updated at some point in time after that, that is how most things get set.

And yes in a board sense, some sports do have different levels. (I can think of squash, cricket and boxing off the top of my head - but that was when I was at school and touch and rugby are different sports.)

I'm not saying that the schools grades shouldn't be looked at to determine the best for the current state of play, which in my view is doing bloody well - what I am saying is the current arguments put forward for change are rubbish and narrow minded (and driven by twisted knickers)

No I dont think the trails/selection issues should be taken into consideration at all when setting the School level. Surely the point of a National Champs is to find the National Champion(s), not to be used as a sole selection race. Its the selectors job to select a team, and one would think that looking at the race that determines the National Champ would be used in some form of calculation that can quantify different results from different races and grades against different people etc. If it was purely based off 1 race, we wouldn't need a selection panel.


Show Profile  lyns Posted: 5 August 2014, 5:15 PM  
<pauses to quickly check knickers - all OK - thanks for caring! :-) >

I think Greg's comment/question "So which one [school Nationals or club Nationals] is doing a better job?" and also "school grades and club grades are different things for different purposes" give us some guidance as to where this debate needs to go.

What is the job? (that we want the school nationals to do)
and
What are the different purposes? (that school grades fulfil)

I think the answers to these questions will clarify where different people are coming from.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 5 August 2014, 5:31 PM  
Here are some ideas that occur to me - not that I necessarily support, but which could be advanced:

What is the job? (that we want the school nationals to do)
Could be:
To give the maximum number of school students, regardless of skill or experience, the chance to participate in a big orienteering event
To add credibility to the sport /raise its profile
To showcase the top junior performers in the sport (profile raising again, models for the aspiring)
For the challenge,enjoyment and satisfaction of the very best juniors
For the enjoyment and satisfaction of all those juniors who are reasonably able to compete in orienteering at an age appropriate level
To promote the sport/ encourage the sport to be taken seriously as a competitive sport not just a leisure activity
To provide a bridge between small school events and club orienteering
To encourage schools to take the sport seriously by providing the opportunity for school glory
To get the greatest possible number of top level juniors from around the country to compete against each other to assist selectors of travelling teams

More?


Show Profile  lyns Posted: 5 August 2014, 5:41 PM  
Once I/you/we have decided where we sit on question 1, then question 2 comes into focus.

To re-express - what is the intended purpose of having different grades for school championships than are used in OYs, club regional and club national championships? Is that purpose actually achieved? Is it current, or has it changed since the system was introduced? And, is it what we said we thought was important in question 1?

Question 3: are there any unintended and unwished consequences of the current differential?

(feel free to play along at home - but do watch out for those knickers!) (yes I am determined that the word knickers will be used in at least every 2nd post on this thread - take that, you search algorithms!)

Show Profile  Taupoite Posted: 5 August 2014, 6:17 PM  
Addressing what lyns said (but without mentioning knickers), I would be very wary of hardening the grades at the SS Champs. It is run for different purposes to the Nationals. One only has to look at the results to see many can't cope with the current grades. Schools will enrol the children in the top grades, no matter what the entry form says. Who benefits by having kids out for over two hours on a course, especially if they are DNFs?

As the events are held in the middle of winter, making Intermediates run Red as the Championship grade will result in searches in the dark. That is not what the organisers and NZOF would want.

If one wants to ensure the selectors have the best available pool of competitors, then maybe the selection criteria need to be widened to take into account the results in OYs and the Nationals. Hanging it all on the results of one race is always risky. In the school age competitions, Danielle, Tim and Ross always dominated their grade and often the ones above it. What do the selectors do if their one failure is the selection race?

I do not envy the selectors' task. No matter what the rules, and how closely they are followed, there is always some controversy. Whatever one thinks, I believe we should support their choices.



Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 5 August 2014, 6:23 PM  
Lyn, thank you for spending the time to prepare the above list of possible reasons for holding the NZSS. I am surprised at my own reaction to the list and how hard it is for me to rank the options in order of importance ... I keep changing my mind. Maybe that is because somehow all are important reasons for holding the event. But which are priority? Hmmmmm....First I am going to consult the NZ Secondary School Sport Council's website to see if their aims would influence my choices, then I will go to the International Schools Sports Federation website. Will get back to you all on my verdict. J

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 5 August 2014, 7:44 PM  
Good idea Jane, that will add some useful perspectives.

I hope others add to the list for consideration.

On the issue of competing (possibly unreconcilable) objectives/priorities, perhaps Qn 4: could (should?) any of these objectives be met in another way? For example, encouraging beginner participation and showcasing high competition standards are both first rate objectives for the sport. If it is concluded the NZSS Champs cannot do a good job of both at once, can/should one of these goals be addressed somewhere else? It doesn't mean either goal is unimportant, to say that it should not be the job of this particular event.


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