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Official Q&A: VIQC 2019-2020: Squared Away

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Is the ‘loophole’ Student-Centered?


The ‘loophole’ of mention is linked in Q&A 518 as a video Per REC Foundation Student-Centered Policy “Due to the competitive nature of these programs, teams may be tempted to prioritize winning over learning”

  • If the ‘loophole’ is Student-Centered, then should we add it to the curriculum in our classrooms? Fictitious example of topics in curriculum that includes the ‘loophole’:
  1. What is a Loophole? 1a How to find them? 1b How to exploit them? Fictitious example discussion with students: Look through the game manual for potential loopholes? If you see a potential loophole, share the loophole with your classmates. If these students agree that the loophole appears ‘legal’ in the manual, then you can use it and if questioned site <G3>(Use common sense). If there are others that disagree and stressful discussion ensues then the students will have in their back pocket <G1> (Treat everyone with respect) whereby “a violation of <G1> and can result in Disqualification ”

The reason for this fictitious example is to ask the Game Design Committee (GDC) to pause as we travel down the ‘loophole’ road and everyone to acknowledge that the manual can be interpreted in a variety of ways.

Therefore we return to the question: Is the ‘loophole’ Student-Centered? As my wife likes to remind me, my opinion does not matter but rather the GDC is in the driver seat. The students are in the passenger seat and us adults are along for the ride in the back seat and separated into 3 groups: Loopholers, Pragmatists who adopted the ‘loophole’ to keep up, Non-loopholers.

The GDC will have the opportunity to clarify and share their current thinking on the ‘loophole’ in the planned April 10th, 2020 update to the Game Manual before Worlds.

But what can the GDC consider now to bring a bit more equity to students involved in the upcoming State Championships (e.g. 41 US competitions through this Sunday 3/8/20 and 30 more the following week)?

  1. The GDC could send out a clarification email to all active teams regarding where Strategic Movement of Game Elements is allowable (e.g. Programming Skills) aka the ‘loophole’? a. The reason for this communication is to place all teams on a level playing field as not every team may be following the Q&A and current GDC interpretation. b. This is a time sensitive request because teams who would wish to adjust their strategy, need to be informed as well as they will need time to make any adjustments

  2. We’d ask the GDC to consider adding more teams (e.g. 5%) to the VEX IQ Indiana State championships, to be more inclusive, because the data (presented 2/25/20 in Q&A #574) indicate an unintended impact and potential lack of equity associated with the ‘loophole’,? a. The data show, in the final 2 weeks of the season, a sharp 50% increase in Programming Skills scores > 60 points in Indiana in both the Middle School and Elementary school Divisions, which is TWICE AS LARGE AS THE REST OF THE US. i. One interpretation of this data, that may be favored in parts of Indiana, is that the fraction of teams competing the final 2 weeks are twice as good at programming the rest of US and Indiana teams that didn’t compete the final 2 weeks. ii. The alternative interpretation of this data is that the ‘loophole’ clarification on 2/12 (518, 530, 543, 566) was noted by more Indiana mentors, who encouraged their teams to adopt and implementing the loophole in the final 2 weeks of the season. iii. The reason why this data is particularly relevant and timely is that there still remains a few days to include a few more deserving teams which were excluded from the Indiana State Championships as an unintended consequence of ‘loophole’.

PS. This request to add more teams is not unique to our teams or spur of the moment as previously, on 1/16/20, I asked state and local reps to consider adding 35% more MS teams to the Indiana MS State Championships as participation grew and World gave Indiana 35% more MS World Qualification spots. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration of these data and associated requests. Kevin Sheehan

Answered by Game Design Committee

Thank you for taking the time to write out this feedback; we will be sure to take it into consideration for future seasons.

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