Alliance selections, hold that thought for a minute…
This discussion started with a proposal for separate divisions based on how a team qualified for Worlds. The assumption being that teams that qualified via a judged award were much weaker than those that qualified by winning teamwork or skills. I wanted to see if the data really supported that assumption and here’s what I found:
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Top 50 Skills
Teamwork Runner Up
The weighted average is essentially the number of points that the teams that qualified by winning the award have averaged in matches and skills runs throughout the year. The weighted averages by team came from Steve Hassenplug’s New World Order spreadsheet. So the teams that got into Worlds because they were in the Top 50 in skills averaged 60.45 points in matches and skills runs throughout the season.
Although there is a huge difference between the top 50 skills teams and the “Other” teams, the difference between Teamwork champs and STEM winners is less significant (~7 points). There are plenty of exceptions too… One of the World Champs qualified by winning STEM (although their skills score was 130, they didn’t win skills). On the other end of the spectrum, three teams that were Teamwork Champions in their state had a average of less than 10.
Where a team came from is a better indicator of what to expect from them as a partner. There are few states and countries that had averages close to 50 or above, and just as many that were at or below 20. I’m not suggesting that we have separate divisions based on how competitive your state is. But the data does support the notion that in locales where Vex IQ is just getting started the scores are lower.
I don’t think that having a couple partners that are beginners is a problem either, even for the most competitive teams. What is a problem is that some teams get a schedule stacked with very capable partners (averaging +48 points on the high end) and other teams get the opposite schedule (partners averaging 23 on the low end). Generating random match schedules seems fair, but at very large events the randomness can make or break a team’s chances, and then that team’s ticket to Worlds is like a lottery ticket.
One possible solution that I want to throw out there is to have alliance selections for the finals. For those that have only done Vex IQ, alliance selections are where the top ranked teams get to choose their partner for the finals. Teams that are better than their ranking indicates would still have a chance at getting into the finals. Alliance captains would also be able to choose a partner that complements them. Having alliance selections would require scouting, but I think that would be good. Scouting forces the kids to study the designs of other robots. Plus the alliance selection process adds some suspense too.