Worlds slots Question

So I’m looking at various events and seeing large (planned for 80 teams) events being listed as only sending Excellence winners to Worlds. What gives?

I know of one event that already has 34 teams signed up, with a month to go, that should be a Level 3 event by the criteria. But it is only “Level 1”.

If the posted qualifying criteria is not going to be followed as posted what objective criteria is being used?

Stan

Did you bother to actually read the posted criteria? The answer to your question is in the second paragraph (emphasis mine).

Yes I did, and I was still confused.

The numbers of slots allotted this year to veteran events are very different than in previous years as the program continues to grow, and I think it will take some time for the teams to catch up as they try to plan.

I am a new Event Partner and learning a lot. On Aug. 31 we received the official list of the slots available in Maryland and the allocation, along with a letter from the Regional Support Manager.

I was confused when I saw some of the official designations and language on robotevents.com because the numbers didn’t match the information I had received. Instead of designating an event as qualifying 4 or 5 or 6 slots, but removing some slots if the anticipated number of teams didn’t register, it appears the slots do not become “official” until the expected numbers of teams are actually registered. This makes the event appear to be a “Level 1” event, with 80 anticipated teams. I get what RECF is doing now, but I had to ask another Event Partner to make sure my guessing was correct.

So even though the official Qualifying Criteria language says “what particular events qualify” and “will be displayed on robotevents.com” the information displayed can be confusing.

Perhaps more explanation could be added on the listings on robotevents.com to help the teams. Please advise me if I have missed this.

I am aware the landscape is changing, there are limited numbers of slots, and this will continue to be a balancing act, with competing interests. I am sympathetic to those who have to figure out the master plan. But I see there are no events here in Maryland which matches the language re: number of slots based on event size listed in the official criteria. This is not a criticism, but an observation. The “Level” doesn’t match the number of teams and doesn’t reflect the number of slots actually being awarded. What is listed in the official criteria is really a best case scenario and kudos to the events which actually were awarded that number of slots. The key word in the official language is “may”, not “will.”

I’ve experienced some of these issues before in other STEM programs. It eventually gets worked out, but clear communication and a helpful attitude can benefit all involved.

Thank you.

I did. However the second page of the criteria seems to place size of the event as the PRIME criteria. And I see the magic word “may” in each line.

As a coach that makes it harder for me to justify, to administration, travel costs to an event where we have zero chance of qualifying for Worlds just because my team is not yet an Excellence Award level team.

All I’m saying is that the criteria is confusing. What is the criteria for selecting additional teams from a region if the same team wins Excellence Award at multiple events? That’s not spelled out anywhere.

I’m just looking for clarity so I can best allocate resources. As the criteria breaks now it is heavily weighted toward large multiple team programs who have the resources to be an Excellence Level Team. I’m not saying its impossible for a small team. It is just a LOT harder.

Stan

Hi smtoney,

Try not to focus too much on the Worlds and qualifying for them. In New Zealand we have a multitude of events that have enough teams in them to ‘meet the criteria’ but we realise that only a certain number of teams from NZ can go to the Worlds. This works in our favour as, if we qualified teams from some of the large events, those teams would not stand a chance at the Worlds.

Our teams have to find $5,000 per person to compete at the Worlds so they make sure it will not be a wasted trip. If you are a rookie team, pick a good team and work with them to become the best.

What our teams do is to try to beat certain rival teams/schools in NZ and let the ‘qualifying’ sort itself out at our National event. We saw this same effect at the Olympics where we did not stand a chance of getting more gold medals than the USA/China but we really wanted more than Australia. It is all about how you look at what is around you that counts.

In addition the NZ team that was in the winning alliance did not qualify for the Worlds by winning, they qualified through Robot Skills! So go to the event and focus on Robot Skills. If you are good enough you will qualify that way and stand a really good chance at doing well at the Worlds.

Good luck and above all, have fun.

Those things may work for a smaller country like NZ, but in the US even Nationals is hard to qualify for. Plus, Nationals is even harder to win, and once you’ve paid for the travel costs to Omaha, you may not have enough money to fly out to Anaheim.

In Michigan, event partners solve the 1-team-winning-all-the-excellence problem by disqualifying teams from the Excellence Award judging if they have already qualified for Worlds.

This makes a lot of sense.

First off, the original question was “If the posted qualifying criteria is not going to be followed as posted what objective criteria is being used?”. This is incorrect and inflammatory, implying that RECF/VEX is somehow not following their own criteria, when in fact the criteria specifically says that there are many factors taken into account. But let’s move on…

I think the reason things might seem vague is because of this:

Basically, RECF and VEX are leaving the details of the allocation up to each regional manager (who is expected to work with the EPs). Thus, there’s not a simple formula that can be laid out. While this does make it a little more confusing, I think this is actually a benefit as it gives more autonomy to each region to run their events as they see fit rather than having it dictated from on high.

I think VEX and RECF are doing a good job of trying to make the best of a hard decision. There can only be so many teams invited to the World Championship and they seem to be trying hard to allocate those spots as fairly as possible, and are adjusting things year to year based on experience. Given the rapidly increasing participation in VEX it’s logical that it will get more difficult to qualify to attend the World Championship each year, and thus there will be fewer spots available at many events.

This appears to be a classic Tragedy of the Commons situation. While I have no first-hand knowledge of how spots are allocated to events and regions, it is reasonable to assume that the RECF assumes a certain percentage of allocated spots will go unused because either 1) the team already qualified using a different spot or 2) the team chooses not to go to the World Championship (effectively removing that spot from the pool). Thus, the number of qualifying spots given to each region is likely larger than the number of teams that can actually be accommodated at the Championship to account for the spots that will go unused. When Michigan (or any other region) “games the system” by increasing the odds that each spot will actually get used, they’re effectively consuming more of a limited resource (spots at the WC) than they’re supposed to. Taken further, if the RECF is trying to keep a certain balance of representation at Worlds from each region, they may respond by allocating even fewer spots to Michigan next year to re-balance the system.

Perhaps more importantly, if Michigan events really are disqualifying teams that have already qualified from winning the Excellence award, then in my personal opinion any event which does so should be stripped of their designation as an “Official Qualifying” VRC event and therefore not be allowed to qualify any teams at all. To be an “Official Qualifying” VRC event, the event must meet a number of criteria including:

Events that disqualify teams from winning the Excellence Award are not following the Official Rules. The Official Rules say that the Excellence Award is given to the “Top All Around Team (Robot Performance & Judged)”. If the team that deserved the award the most doesn’t get it because the event “disqualified” them because they already qualified, then they are not giving the award to the “Top All Around Team” and are not following the rules. That’s just my take, however, and it’s only worth the paper it’s printed on :wink:

While this may be the case in nz in the US qualify is the hard part because we have tournaments were only one team qualifies and it is based excellence award which in many regions has strayed from its original meaning.
There are good teams not qualifing for worlds but still having the money just because for us it is a lot cheaper. Last year my team drove to worlds and stayed at a kids beach house and the only team expenses was the registration fee.

I have been recently debating with my self wiether to start a thread on this subject and I strongly believe that the RECF should at least make public the amount of qualifying spots each event will be given so teams don’t go to tournaments that say 60 teams should be level 5 but only qualify one team.

Ah yes, Omaha is a wonderful city isn’t it? If I might just say that even the Michigan-Omaha fare + the Michigan-Anaheim fare might not even add up to the total cost of Auckland-Anaheim fare.

Honestly, I know this has been discussed, but I am not a huge fan of this. To be honest if you do not have the best, most well-rounded team/robot, then you shouldn’t get it. However, thats just my opinion, take or leave.

Actually, in most of the cases, the teams who are already qualified for Worlds asked to be disqualified from the Excellence judging, to give more teams a chance. It wasn’t actually the managers’ idea.

And not all of Michigan’s spots were used last year. There were still 3 dual-qualifiers (teams who qualified via excellence award and then ate the Tournament Champion Spots at larger tournaments) and 5+ teams who did not attend due to lack of time or funding.

I admit my initial question might have been phrased a bit inflammatory. But I still contend the advancement criteria is confusing from a TEAM perspective. It may, or may not, be clear to partners but most teams do not see that layer. They just see events.

Without a more clear description about how slots are allocated and how teams that do not win excellence can advance, what I worry is teams may look at an event early in registration cycle and see it says “Only Excellence Award will advance” without any unambiguous clarification that additional slots (and which ones) will be added to the event at such and such a registration level; then the team may say, “we have no shot at Excellence, so we are not going” and the event suffers.

With a clear secondary advancement criteria as well that is alleviated. for example even something like: “If all slots in a region are not filled teams who have not qualified but were Excellence finalists or Winning Alliance Members will be put in a random drawing for available slots. Teams will get one entry per event and event level. Level 5 event teams will get 5 entries and so on.” would be clearer.

With extreme growth comes challenges. But more info is always better than less.

stan

p.s. @ChrisHam we are a 4 year veteran team. Team goal: we want to go to Worlds.

Cool you have experience.
My advice is to get your team to focus on Robot skills. That is the surest way to qualify.
If you cannot qualify through Robot skills then you may be leaving things to chance.
Robot skills are held and count for rankings at most official events even those that only qualify excellence.

I agree with Chris here. Qualifying off skills is a brilliant way to qualify, as it proves to others (and yourself) that your robot is very efficient and quick, assets which usually translate over to a great robot for the actual competition. Also, unlike the excellence award, skills isn’t judged by people, and in fact, doesn’t even compare you to other teams in your region. This means if you are in a particularly tough region cough you can still easily qualify off skills if you have an efficient robot.

A bonus to practising skills lots is that your drivers get better and better, which helps for actual matches. It also helps you iron out efficiency problems with your robot.

Personally I think Vex should actually INCREASE the number of teams that qualify off driver skills scores, because it would ensure more fast and efficient robots would be at worlds, which would only raise the level of competition.

Seeing that you feel that you are a veteran team, you must have realized that qualifying for the World Championships is a very ambitious goal to have.

Their are many ways to get qualification like skills, which was previously mentioned. This gets you in without having to deal with judging opinions or alliance partners, so if you are having difficulty this is the sure fire way I would do it because its either you scored the points or not.
Second, try for all the Online Challenges, this is also an excellent opportunity to
get qualification.
Lastly (this is the one that is about how much your team wants it) just do everything you can as a team, and if that is achieved then it is likely you will be honored an excellence award.

The 3rd option worked for our team.

The number of teams attending an event is only one criteria in determining the number of world qualifying slots at that event. For instance, in British Columbia, we are likely to host four events of >40 teams, one of which is likely to exceed 80 teams.

Unfortunately the World Championships isn’t big enough to offer up that many qualifying spaces, so we have had to “de-rate” some of our early season tournaments so that fewer teams qualify early on in the season. Thus regardless of how many teams actually sign up for some of our early season tournaments, only the Excellence winner will qualify for worlds.

It’s not, perhaps, the perfect solution, but the fabulous growth of VEX around the world has required RECF to develop some kind of criteria to keep worlds manageable. I’m pretty sure that the current solution is also not the final solution, and that over the next few years RECF will keep working to optimize the situation.

Good luck in your quest to qualify for worlds. It gets harder and harder every year… and that is, by and large, a good thing.

Jason

This is a response to the comment/post:

Originally Posted by The VEX Raptors
In Michigan, event partners solve the 1-team-winning-all-the-excellence problem by disqualifying teams from the Excellence Award judging if they have already qualified for Worlds.

My Official RECF Response:
The VRC Sack Attack judging guide states the following about the
Excellence Award:

This is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics Competition.
The recipient of this award is a team that exemplifies overall
excellence in building a well-rounded VEX robotics program. This team
excels in many areas and is a shining example of dedication, devotion,
hard work and teamwork. As a strong contender in numerous award
categories, this team deserves to be recognized for building a quality
robot and a “team” committed to quality in everything that they do.
The REC Foundation encourages local events to award the Excellence
Award to the best overall team at each event. The following
description is a suggested method that event partners and Judge
Advisors may choose to employ.

Teams are given points towards the Excellence Award in the following categories:
 Tournament Qualification Round Ranking
 Programming Skills Challenge Ranking
 Robot Skills Challenge Ranking
 Judged performance in all other award categories

The purpose of the Excellence Award is to celebrate the best overall
team at a event. The Sack Attack judges guide also provides an
Excellence Award rubric that should be used to determine the recipient
of the Excellence Award.

During the process of selecting the Excellence Award winner, it is not
appropriate to disqualify a team because the team has already
qualified for the World Championship
. All teams at the event must be
considered for all awards at the event, including the Excellence
Award.

Additionally, allowing a team to withdraw from an event because they
want another team to win an award after the event has started :ie the
top seed withdraws their team because they want others to win is not a
true competitive event. The Event Partner should discourage this sort
of behavior.

If there are additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact
the Michigan regional support manager, Mike Martus,
mike_martus@roboticseducation.org.

Is their a reason recf doesn’t just post the amount of spots allocated to each event and each reason to fix all of these issues.

The VRC Sack Attack judging guide states the following about the
Excellence Award:

This is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics Competition.
The recipient of this award is a team that exemplifies overall
excellence in building a well-rounded VEX robotics program. This team
excels in many areas and is a shining example of dedication, devotion,
hard work and teamwork. As a strong contender in numerous award
categories, this team deserves to be recognized for building a quality
robot and a “team” committed to quality in everything that they do.
The REC Foundation encourages local events to award the Excellence
Award to the best overall team at each event. The following
description is a suggested method that event partners and Judge
Advisors may choose to employ.

Teams are given points towards the Excellence Award in the following categories:
 Tournament Qualification Round Ranking
 Programming Skills Challenge Ranking
 Robot Skills Challenge Ranking
 Judged performance in all other award categories

The purpose of the Excellence Award is to celebrate the best overall
team at a event. The Sack Attack judges guide also provides an
Excellence Award rubric that should be used to determine the recipient
of the Excellence Award.

During the process of selecting the Excellence Award winner, it is not
appropriate to disqualify a team because the team has already
qualified for the World Championship
. All teams at the event must be
considered for all awards at the event, including the Excellence
Award.

Additionally, allowing a team to withdraw from an event because they
want another team to win an award after the event has started :ie the
top seed withdraws their team because they want others to win is not a
true competitive event. The Event Partner should discourage this sort
of behavior.

If there are additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact
the Michigan regional support manager, Mike Martus,
mike_martus@roboticseducation.org.

As I said in an earlier post, the teams who were not considered asked not to be considered. These teams, however, competed vigorously in the competition aspect of the tournament (3 of them were in the finals of one tournament, including our team).

I want to see this is well, while I understand that organizing a competition is a lot of work, it would be nice to have all of the qualifying tournaments posted on robotevents by the end of August. Additionally, I would like to find some consistency in when competitions open for registrations, which would not be immediately upon posting. So for example:
[LIST]
*]Aug 1: Event posted to RobotEvents, including qualifying information
*]Aug 21: Registration opened to teams
*]Sept 30: Registration closes
*]Sept 10: Competition
[/LIST]

The idea here is that all teams have a chance to see that a tournament will happen and can make a decision to go without the time pressure of getting blocked out. Additionally, creating a sort of waiting list for local events would be nice, because it bothers me when I go to a 50 team tournament and only 38 teams went. I know there are plenty of teams who would have liked to compete in those spots, but couldn’t because a team no showed. A way to handle this would be for RobotEvents to send an automated email out a week prior to the event requesting confirmation of attendance. Additionally, I don’t know how this would work, but perhaps some sort of ‘punishment’ for teams who repeatedly no-show.

Overall, I think RECF is heading in the right direction, but that direction needs to include complete and open communication.