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School Champs Grades. Remit from NWOC for AGM2016

Show Profile  MikeB Posted: 28 February 2016, 6:27 AM  
Taupoite we're very fortunate to have a number of people in Auckland who keep a close eye on school students results grade entries. So if we see someone obviously entered out of their depth we will inform the school and ask them to change the entry. If that can't be done we will do it ourselves.

Show Profile  Martin Posted: 28 February 2016, 8:40 PM  
Whilst there are many strong connections between schools and clubs, it's not just club orienteers that go to school events. Has there been any feedback received from schools and NZSSSC on the proposed changes?

Show Profile  hughff Posted: 29 February 2016, 6:50 AM  
I think we need to consider how many people are affected by the increased difficulty of standard grade. Jane suggested it might be as few as five boys and five girls.

In fact last year Napier Boys' alone brought 11 first year orienteers to NZSS. I can't remember the Napier Girls' number but it was similar. And I'd be astonished if that made half the total of new runners.

In addition, many more of our number were part-timers who, as Martin alluded, don't do club events.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 3 March 2016, 1:44 PM  
Martin: The O parents who supported Mike with this idea originally basically ARE the schools. So the short answer is yes, at least those schools have been consulted and are supportive. North West hasn't spoken to NZSSSC yet because we considered it a bit premature - after all, what were we going to say? "Umm, our club wants to change the grades. Is that OK?" What can they possibly say except "What about the other clubs? What about ONZ?" We figured we needed a mandate from O before going to NZSSSC. And in any case, I think they will be open to rule changes which promote the integrity of the competition. It's our sport. If we all think adjusting the grades will improve the competition, I expect NZSSSC will be cool with it.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 3 March 2016, 1:56 PM  
Hughff: so, you think that standard grade is set too hard? I agree that if someone makes the effort to attend, there should (within reason) be a course that suits their level. People being on courses too hard is as much a problem as courses too easy (maybe even worse). Having entry criteria for championship grade is a good start towards preventing that, but it's not enough if the standard grade is too hard as well. Interested to hear what others think on this point. Is standard too hard?

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 4 March 2016, 4:19 AM  
I refered to the Constitution of NZSSSC after reading nick's comments above. Their first objective is about Participation and Co-ordination:
"To coordinate quality sport provision, ensuring opportunities and positive experiences that will increase the participation level of all secondary school students in sport."

I believe this remit, without an amendment, breaches their objective. So I would like to know the NZSSSC's response to the remit before our club votes.
Yes NZSSSC has preliminary selection in other codes. I believe it is done mainly reduce stress on competitions because of numbers wanting to attend. Have we got up to the entry numbers that justifies needing to force the numbers attending down?

If we have then there is some justification for ditching a white course for new-comers but I haven't heard anyone suggesting yet we have reached a maximum or difficult number attending NISS.

Show Profile  NSmith Posted: 4 March 2016, 8:04 AM  
The main purpose of the remit is to increase the difficulty for the top runners, so what do we have to gain through a parallel increase in difficulty for the standard grade?

If the course is unused then that would make it one course less to plan, however as several people have said that in their experience this course is still in demand, indeed at NZSS 2015 there were 17 competitors in Junior Boys/Girls Standard, not a huge number but it certainly indicates there is some desire for this level of difficulty.

Alternatively, requiring people to run at a Yellow grade could force them to 'up their game' and run the harder courses sooner than they would have. However I believe that this would actually have a detrimental impact, as there is a group for which White is the best level of difficulty (eg. those who have just started orienteering at Year 9). There hasn't been any research (beyond largely anecdotal evidence from one specific region) looking at spread of ability across different age groups, and what is therefore appropriate at a national level.

It's also arguable whether running a Yellow course at an earlier age is going to have a long-term impact, as it's more than likely that if juniors have a positive experience at a young age they will continue with orienteering and 'catch up' with their peers (in terms of ability).

Weighing it up there seems very little reason to discontinue with the White level standard grade at schools events.

Show Profile  MikeB Posted: 4 March 2016, 10:46 AM  
Isn't one of the factors in all this the need for clubs to encourage, through schools events, more younger people participating in the sport. To that end isn't then up to the clubs to provide that pathway. You can't expect the schools to do it.

Surely with only two major schools events through out the year we shouldn't be trying to blood these kids in those events, it should have already happened at club level.

Jane I know you said you don't start your club events at this time because the weather is unfavourably hot but honestly how many white courses does it require for someone to grasp the sport and be ready to move on. We're asking 10 and 11 year olds at Standard level to run white I don't think we should be asking the 12/13 year olds at junior level to be doing do the same.

Re the older standard grades, particularly seniors with maybe some experience, my biggest concern is the fact we're asking them to compete on the same championship course as the grade below where these top kids are quite experienced. These two senior standard courses should be stand alone running a distance and difficulty that fits their ability.
Last year in Nelson the IB and IG champ courses were too short and they ran well under the specified time guide line and it made the senior standard times look reasonable. Had the champ course been the correct length and time the standards would have been well outside what's required.

A second point that most people fail to consider is that 10/15 years ago when the numbers were way less than they are now, it didn't take a huge amount of time to get everyone started and the prize giving could be held at a reasonable hour with everyone there. These days with the numbers involved often around the 350-400 mark with grades doubled up on the same course it can take forever to get everyone out on their course. Prize giving ends up getting delayed as the standard grade runners are still out there and people are drifting away because it getting late.

By increasing the numbers of courses you shorten the whole event down, everyone's back and the prize giving is held at a reasonable time. This allows the organisers, especially smaller clubs, to pull the event centre down and bring in all the controls because they still have to prepare for the relays next day.

This was one of the reasons why I went to the Auckland Schools to seek a mandate for change as I had a similar experience two years ago where at the AKSS Individuals. We adhered to the guidelines that are set with champs running before Standards. We ended up with no prize giving as it took over three and a half hours to get everyone started and the schools wanted to ferry their students home as it was getting later and later. That day we had something well in excess of 300 entries and it was the combining of the two grades on the one course that caused the grief.

Nationally the numbers are there and will probably continue to increase as more schools come on board. In Auckland we now have close to fifty schools involved in our sprint series. What's going to happen if a percentage of those become involved at these major school events. The numbers could hit 500. so we need to move on from where we were 10/15 years ago.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 4 March 2016, 11:25 AM  
Thanks for that feedback. I've found the discussion here very useful. North West's remit may not be perfect, but rest assured it is well-intentioned. We'll have a talk about what amendments we might make to improve the remit. If any clubs have already been working on an amendments, feel free to get in touch with me to discuss.

JaneH: thanks for bringing up NZSSSC constitution because it IS relevant. With respect, I don't agree with your interpretation, nor the conclusion that *clubs* should be consulting NZSSSC on a rule change internal to *ONZ*. We figured that it is ONZ's role to approach NZSSSC, and ONZ shouldn't do it without a mandate from its clubs... eg: through a remit at an AGM. Anything else is cart before horse.

That aside, the important thing about the NZSSSC constitution is that there is nothing in there that suggests ONZ can't adjust grade/difficulty if we think its better for our sport. Now, if I understand you correctly Jane you're not saying we should retain status quo, only that a new grade structure needs to accommodate white level orienteers. As I noted above, that point is taken onboard.

To put Jane's snippet in context, here are a few other relevant sections from the constitution, under Policies & Guidelines:

1.Sanctioning of Events
Sanctioning of an event will ensure that it meets all the requirements set down by the NZSSSC.
(a) To provide a safe environment in which students can participate.
(b) To ensure that secondary school sporting event administrators provide a fair and equitable opportunity for schools teams to be selected to compete at a competitive level that is appropriate to their performance in that year.
(b) To ensure that all schools have the opportunity to participate in all events whether regional or national.
(c) To ensure that the event is held under the rules of the sport and is organised to a high standard.

3. Relationships with National and Regional Sporting Organisations
Co-operation between NZSSSC and NSOs or RSOs*(see Note 1) is essential to foster healthy participation and achievement in secondary
school sport.
(a) To ensure understanding between NZSSSC and NSOs to enable identification and resolution of the issues facing secondary school
(e) To assist NSOs and RSOs to establish a policy of developing their sport within secondary schools.
(a) NSOs and RSOs should demonstrate a broad base of participation by secondary school students

4. Safety
All sports should be performed in an environment that is designed to maximise aspects of safety and minimise the potential risks to those
(a) To ensure safe and healthy environments in which students play and compete.

And, for completeness, a link to NZSSSC Constitution:

Show Profile  Dwayne Posted: 7 March 2016, 8:03 PM  
I'm a bit late to this discussion, but for everyone's information at AKSS champs last year AOC ran them with champ grades equal to club difficulty eg Senior and intermediate both ran red courses. See the document here (Page 3)

It worked well and I had thought after all our group discussions that the remit was going to be along those lines, but instead there is a watered down version being put forward. A lost opportunity in the opinion of AOC.

The Program and Entry Form stressed the need for careful selection of grades for all athletes and we ended up with no one entered in an inappropriate grade. Wording from the program is
"Please be responsible when choosing which competition grade to enter. Orienteering is difficult and not much fun when you can’t complete a course because it is too hard. If a student has not completed a course at the championship level for their age group, then they should enter the standard grade.
This is the Auckland Champs and the championship courses are set as difficult as possible within the guidelines to test the most able orienteers in each age group. The standard grade courses still provide a good level of technical and physical challenge.
We estimate that roughly half of the competitors should be running in the championship grade, with the rest running standard or novice grade.
The Novice grade is available for Senior and Intermediate students who are new to orienteering. The Yellow courses set for the Novice grade visit the best parts of the map and are both interesting and fun – the course setter has done an excellent job with the easier courses. "

AOC's position is that school championship grades should be equal in difficulty and length to the courses they would run in a club championship event. For others less capable, there is the standard and novice grades.

Show Profile  KevO Posted: 7 March 2016, 10:04 PM  
For info, at the Otago Schools' Champs the championship grades run the same difficulty as they would in a 'normal' O champs. i.e. senior boys and girls run red. All grades have the option of running a Standard grade.

Competitors running SI schools find themselves running an easier course...

Show Profile  NSmith Posted: 8 March 2016, 12:37 AM  
Kev, correct me if I'm wrong but it looks like you guys run the Otago Schools Champs using a Junior (Yr9/10) and Senior Grade (Yr11-13), with Junior running yellow and Seniors running Red.

This does mean that when when competitors go on to SISS/NZSS, where the grading system is Junior/Intermediate/Senior, they may be running an easier course (depending on birth date, school year etc) as there is some overlap between the two structures. It would be nice if we could look at changing the grading levels at a national level, but unfortunately we are bound by the NZSS Sports Council rules stipulating the Junior/Intermediate/Senior format.

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 8 March 2016, 4:18 AM  
Also for info for comparison: HBOC had 20x Junior/Yr 9s run White at the HB Champs last year. Only 5x High Schools did not field teams, and we had our prize-giving wrapped up by 1.30pm.

And as added interest to note: 3x of those white runners went to NZSSC, came to our local camp and will be running orange in the HBOC team at Katoa Po this weekend.

Show Profile  NSmith Posted: 8 March 2016, 6:13 AM  
Correction, that should be Juniors running Orange at the Otago Schools Champs

Show Profile  Martin Posted: 8 March 2016, 6:13 PM  
the Junior/Intermediate/Senior format is consistent across many sports at secondary school level

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