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  #31   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 12-06-2017, 12:19 PM
Andrew Schreiber Andrew Schreiber is offline
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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Originally Posted by Doug Frisk View Post
You may think that, but one of the issues that school districts continually run into is that efforts to reduce the "achievement gap" will often widen it instead. Any improvement low achieving students receive from any specific intervention is often less than the improvement already high achievement students receive from the same intervention.

I suspect that exactly the same would happen if you removed the bag requirements, it would help low resource teams, but the benefits high resource teams received would be greater yet.

While a team with a $7000 budget may have more time to iterate and build mechanisms, a team with a $70,000 budget will have the resources to build multiple mechanisms and tweak them, a team with a $700,000 budget will have time to iterate and build whole new robots.

Unfortunately, while the intention is admirable, I'm pretty sure the result of removing the bag and tag wouldn't be a leveling of the playing field, but a more extreme tipping of it.
I'm sorry, have you LOOKED at the achievement gap in FRC? It's comical. The difference between random rookie team and 254 is about the difference between an estes model rocket and spaceX. Do you REALLY think it can get worse? Because i don't. There's not a whole lot we can do with rules to limit the top (nor should we) and there's very little we can do with rules to impact the bottom. So instead we should be doing our best to have a positive impact on the middle teams for whom bag day is a serious limitation in their iterative process.



Full disclosure - I'm a firm believer that those bottom tier teams do not belong in FRC and the program and, more importantly, the teams would be better served with other options. This colors my view of what level of weighting I give impact on them for potential rules changes.
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Unread 12-06-2017, 12:35 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

I think bag day isn't great, especially for low resource teams, but there still needs to be some sort of withholding allowance ish rule to prevent blatant copying. I would hate to see the day where my team, in order to be competitive, has to abandon any ideas we have of our own and wait to see what the best teams have thought of, and replicate them as fast as we can. Additionally, instead of top tier teams being proud of their designs, releasing reveal videos or even talking about it to those trying to learn at competitions, they will feel like they have to guard every secret about their robot to maintain their competitive advantage.

I hope FIRST can find a balance between these two issues.
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Unread 12-06-2017, 12:40 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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Additionally, instead of top tier teams being proud of their designs, releasing reveal videos or even talking about it to those trying to learn at competitions, they will feel like they have to guard every secret about their robot to maintain their competitive advantage.
What evidence is there of this, given that bag day is already not an impediment to elite teams (or to teams that are competitive with elite teams)? To whatever degree this would be the case with no bag day, it already is the case.
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Unread 12-06-2017, 12:41 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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Unread 12-06-2017, 12:48 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
I'm sorry, have you LOOKED at the achievement gap in FRC? It's comical. The difference between random rookie team and 254 is about the difference between an estes model rocket and spaceX. Do you REALLY think it can get worse? Because i don't. There's not a whole lot we can do with rules to limit the top (nor should we) and there's very little we can do with rules to impact the bottom. So instead we should be doing our best to have a positive impact on the middle teams for whom bag day is a serious limitation in their iterative process.



Full disclosure - I'm a firm believer that those bottom tier teams do not belong in FRC and the program and, more importantly, the teams would be better served with other options. This colors my view of what level of weighting I give impact on them for potential rules changes.
The outliers aren't the achievement gap any more than a gifted child is the achievement gap. If the top quartile benefits more than the bottom quartile by removing the bag, then all it does is increase the already wide gap between the top and bottom.
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Unread 12-06-2017, 12:51 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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Originally Posted by Doug Frisk View Post
The outliers aren't the achievement gap any more than a gifted child is the achievement gap. If the top quartile benefits more than the bottom quartile by removing the bag, then all it does is increase the already wide gap between the top and bottom.
Your comment as to quartiles raised me to think about the whole dataset, and i think it begs the question. What *is* the median FRC team? is it something we can actually quantify with numbers, and analyze? I know I'd like to know where my team lies, being what I feel is pushing towards the higher end of the middle, but may in fact be way off.

I think overall the effort and thought process put into the topic of bag is admirable, but I'd like to hear informed opinions at all levels, not just those on CD. And getting that, is difficult.
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Unread 12-06-2017, 12:56 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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Is it worth holding back the vast majority of teams because a few of them don't want to put in the effort to improve?
If the team I am currently working with is in the minority, so be it. But is it?
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Unread 12-06-2017, 12:58 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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The outliers aren't the achievement gap any more than a gifted child is the achievement gap. If the top quartile benefits more than the bottom quartile by removing the bag, then all it does is increase the already wide gap between the top and bottom.
It's really hard to provide any convincing reason why this would be the case given that the policy as it stands does not effectively limit the top quartile. Removing it won't benefit them, because they're already doing what the policy is supposed to prevent.

Also, this is mildly off-topic but I feel like (perhaps unadvisedly) venting a bit: as a grad student in education, it drives me crazy that people see this sort of thing as a problem. Unlike FRC, education is not a competition; if a policy can benefit everyone, would you really deny people the benefit simply because it increases the achievement gap? Logically, this is equivalent to advocating on behalf of policies that cause everyone to achieve less, so long as they hurt the high-achievers more than the low-achievers and thus shrink the achievement gap.

In FRC, we do have reasons to care about competitive parity, qua itself. In education, it is different: the goal ostensibly should be to teach every student as much as possible. If an intervention strictly improves learning outcomes for all students, then its impact on the achievement gap should be immaterial.
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Unread 12-06-2017, 01:03 PM
Andrew Schreiber Andrew Schreiber is offline
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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Originally Posted by Doug Frisk View Post
The outliers aren't the achievement gap any more than a gifted child is the achievement gap. If the top quartile benefits more than the bottom quartile by removing the bag, then all it does is increase the already wide gap between the top and bottom.
"These teams I pointed out don't support my narrative so let's shift the goal posts."

Fine, let's just talk about the middle 80%. Do you believe the bag helps these teams inspire more students? Do you think it helps them be more competitive? Do you believe it saves teams money?

- Inspiration of students is done by students working hand in hand with mentors. By providing more time to enable this partnership students get to work more closely with mentors in a lower stress environment.

- Iteration and drive time are the two biggest contributors to competitive improvement (outside of effective mentors)

- Think about how many parts you overnight so you can meet deadlines or how often you choose a COTS part over designing it yourself (hand in hand with a student) to save time?

The achievement gap between the middle 80% is (by definition) smaller than between the full range of teams but it's not nearly as flat a curve as you'd like to think. I haven't dug into the data recently but I have a hunch even this 80% number includes teams that have only made eliminations a few times in their history on one end and teams that consistently captain alliances at the other. THAT is a huge range. But overall the goals of this program are no longer being effectively served by bag day. Rapid manufacturing processes have seen to the fact that building 2 or more robots is viable for a large number of teams making it far harder for teams without those resources to compete.

If we want to keep the bag there's 2 real reasons - we keep it for narrative sake (the 6 weeks thing is a GREAT story even if it's mostly bullocks) or we keep it because we as mentors are unwilling to put in the extra time (which isn't meant as a knock, it's a valid concern). In either case, something needs to change to narrow the gap between teams because it's becoming a HUGE problem... (becoming here meaning, is a problem, has been a problem, and will continue being a problem)
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Unread 12-06-2017, 01:08 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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What evidence is there of this, given that bag day is already not an impediment to elite teams (or to teams that are competitive with elite teams)? To whatever degree this would be the case with no bag day, it already is the case.
Bag day might not be an impediment, but the withholding allowance might be. Anecdotally, our team has never attempted a major rebuild because it would require more than the withholding allowance gives us. I can't speak to whether this is common among other teams, so it's possible that other teams might not find the withholding allowance so limiting for rebuilds.
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Unread 12-06-2017, 01:14 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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Bag day might not be an impediment, but the withholding allowance might be. Anecdotally, our team has never attempted a major rebuild because it would require more than the withholding allowance gives us. I can't speak to whether this is common among other teams, so it's possible that other teams might not find the withholding allowance so limiting for rebuilds.
The withholding allowance is extremely generous, especially as it exempts COTS parts; I've seen many teams do (legal) total rebuilds with it.

Besides, FIRST could remove bag day and retain the withholding allowance (allow access to the robot after stop build day, but limit the weight of parts that can be added to it), if they really felt they needed to discourage total rebuilds; this really wouldn't be any less-enforceable than the current policy.
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Unread 12-06-2017, 01:37 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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Bag day might not be an impediment, but the withholding allowance might be. Anecdotally, our team has never attempted a major rebuild because it would require more than the withholding allowance gives us. I can't speak to whether this is common among other teams, so it's possible that other teams might not find the withholding allowance so limiting for rebuilds.
1678 already does full rebuilds based off other team's reveals. 2013, 2015 and 2017 all come to mind. Look us up.

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The outliers aren't the achievement gap any more than a gifted child is the achievement gap. If the top quartile benefits more than the bottom quartile by removing the bag, then all it does is increase the already wide gap between the top and bottom.
If I were more interested in winning than seeing the FRC program improve, I would advocate for keeping bag day. 1678 will continue to lap other teams in our development cycle by building two practice robots and a comp bot.

We have started three other local FRC teams in the last four years, we work with them in our own shop and build their robots with them. They would all benefit from no bag. Only one of them is able to cobble together half of a practice robot to continue with driver practice.

It's crazy that people who don't know what it's like to be on a top team insist on knowing what would benefit top teams

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Unread 12-06-2017, 01:48 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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Originally Posted by Oblarg View Post
In FRC, we do have reasons to care about competitive parity, qua itself. In education, it is different: the goal ostensibly should be to teach every student as much as possible. If an intervention strictly improves learning outcomes for all students, then its impact on the achievement gap should be immaterial.
This is an excellent point and something that I wanted to make sure didn't get missed.

Hypothetical example with bag day: I'm a controls team member of a very-low resource team and we only have one (somewhat disengaged) teacher-coach. We were able to get the robot to drive and do our actuation thing RIGHT before it went into the bag, but didn't get a functioning autonomous. The robot goes into a bag and I spend another 4 weeks waiting to get to competition to try to hack together a working autonomous. Never quite get there, don't feel particularly inspired. However, my teacher-coach gets to restore some balance in his/her life, spend some more time with the family, get caught up on grading, and maybe put the rest of the travel plans together for the competition. [It is worth noting here that I am a teacher-coach and am extremely sympathetic to these desires...I do really start to miss hanging out with my wife when late February rolls around and we're still going at it full-steam]

Same example, no bag: The teacher-coach tells us that we can still only work the 6 weeks, but at the end of the 6 weeks, we still don't have a working autonomous. I beg the teacher for 1 hour a day, a couple days a week, right after school to hack on the robot and try to get that auton together while he/she catches up on grading, works on travel plans, etc. Teacher-coach still gets home at a very reasonable hour, I accrue 8 more hours of time with the robot before competition, have a chance to try out that example code someone on CD gave me, and now I have delivered a basic auton for my team. And hey, maybe I get it done a little early and give my drivers a chance to drive the robot a bit before we get to competition. OR, maybe I don't create a working auton, but I at least had a few trials and failures before we get into the pits where a more experienced team can help me out.

Doesn't that feel like a total win-win? Effectively ZERO extra effort on the part of the teacher-coach nets big improvements in student learning...and teaching and inspiring students is kind of the whole point.

Or, to put a finer point on it: Bad robots are uninspiring. Bad robots don't get better sitting in a bag.
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Unread 12-06-2017, 01:57 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

Huh. I feel like I've heard all of these arguments before.

I don't mean to dissuade discussion; my opinion on Stop Build Day has absolutely been altered by some of what I've read on Chief and there's likely some new readers each time we have this dance-off.* But since we're posting in a thread that highlights a conversation among some very qualified members of the community on the benefits and detriments of eliminating Stop Build Day, can we focus on, or at least acknowledge the points brought up during Candidly Speaking? Because otherwise, we have to realise that we're just chasing and arguing with our tails at this point.


*Yes, I really typed dance-off, for those of you who also enjoy substitutions.


By the way, kick-off is in a month.
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Unread 12-06-2017, 02:16 PM
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Re: Candidly Speaking 12/5 8:30pm EST: Supplier Ethics, CAW and more!

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I would say that there's considerable debate on that, but the debate I've seen has mostly been upper-resource teams debating about how it'll affect lower-resource teams.

And the scary part is, that both points of view are valid...
I rest my case. Just a few not-so-upper-resource teams speaking up now...
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