The National Spelling Bee adjusts its rules to prevent ties
The National Spelling Bee adjusts its rules to prevent ties Nihar Janga, 11, of Austin, Texas, and Jairam Hathwar, 13, of Painted Post, N.Y., hold up the trophy after being named co-champions at the 2016 National Spelling Bee. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
The National Spelling Bee adjusts its rules to prevent ties
Lexile: 910L
Lexile

Assign to Google Classroom

For the past three years, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has ended in a tie. Two whiz kids each claimed a $40,000 prize. They were able to correctly spell a dizzying array of winning words. Those included Feldenkrais and gesellschaft; nunatak and scherenschnitte; feuilleton and stichomythia.
 
As Ian Simpson reports for Reuters, officials have amended the rules of the Bee. The officials are hoping to ensure that only one speller will emerge as champion.
 
According to the new rules, the handful of contestants who make it to the final evening of the competition will be required to take a written tiebreaking test. The test consists of 12 spelling words and "12 multiple choice vocabulary items." This is according to the Bee's website. If it becomes "mathematically impossible" for a single winner to emerge by 25 rounds, officials will reveal the test scores of the remaining competitors.
 
"The speller with the highest Tiebreaker Test score will be declared champion," the site explains. "If, however, there is a tie on the Tiebreaker Test for the highest score, the spellers tying for the highest score will be declared co-champions."
 
There's still a possibility for a tie. But it makes that scenario less likely. The organization revamped its rules in response to a rather pleasant problem. The young competitors are getting too good. Prior to 2014, there was only one Spelling Bee tie. It occurred in 1962. This is according to Ben Nuckols of The Associated Press.
 
But in recent years, kid spellers have been expanding their knowledge of vocabulary and word origins. This has forced officials to plumb the dictionary. They are seeking ever-longer and more difficult words. (The Bee's list of winning words reflects the extent to which the competition has evolved since its inception in 1925. In 1936, for instance, Jean Trowbridge won for correctly spelling the word "interning." However, the word wouldn't have been as common at the time as it is today.)
 
Last year, the Bee decided to switch from 25 "championship words" to 25 "championship rounds." That means judges could hurl as many as 75 words at finalists. Officials were also granted permission to adjust the difficulty of those words during the competition. But 13-year-old Jairam Hathwar and 11-year-old Nihar Janga still tied for the championship prize.
 
Paige Kimble is executive director of the Spelling Bee. She told Nuckols that there "is certainly a point of view that the level of competition has risen to a place where we are likely to see more co-championships." That is, "unless we further raise the bar."
 
This year's Spelling Bee is May 30-June 1. It will be held at a convention center outside Washington. The new test will introduce an additional challenge to the already stressful event. But such is the rigorous world of children's spelling championships, where - theoretically at least - only one speller can rule them all.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/national-spelling-bee-adjusts-its-rules-prevent-ties/

Filed Under:  
Assigned 317 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do the Bee’s organizers want to eliminate ties?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (85)
  • etomia-bur
    4/27/2017 - 10:02 a.m.

    They want eliminate ties because they only want one champion.


    If this happen a long time ago, Akeelah and the Bee would not be a movie.

  • jobg-bur
    4/27/2017 - 10:12 a.m.

    They don't want any ties because they only have two trophies.
    I have been in a spelling bee before at elmentry school.

  • lorennr-bur
    4/27/2017 - 10:16 a.m.

    The Bee's organizer want to eliminate ties because, it says in paragraph one " two whiz kids claimed a 40,000 dollar prize". Then in paragraph three it says" that if there is two winners then they will be required to take a written tie-breaking test". I think that they should't do that because, both of the kids did well and deserve a prize.

  • deriahm-bur
    4/27/2017 - 10:19 a.m.

    I think that they want to eliminate ties so that the kids wont have to share a trophy.My theory to back this up is they have to give each of the kids the amount of money that they were supposed to get. This means that the Bee's organizers end up paying double what they would have to if there was only one winner.The Bee's organizers want to eliminate ties because people are getting smarter and smarter and more people are going to tie in the near future so there will be most likely a tie between the two best spellers or the two most smartest people.A personal connection for this article is my first time watching Akeelah and the Bee. my favorite part from the movie was when she tied with Dylan,so technically they both won.

  • kennethh1-bur
    4/27/2017 - 11:02 a.m.

    The Spelling Bee's organizers want to eliminate ties because they only want one spelling bee champion. In paragraph 2 the author states," officials have amended the rules of the Bee. The officials are hoping to ensure that only one speller will emerge as champion." They have totally changed the Spelling Bee. They have added a written tiebreaker test. But if is "mathematically impossible," then they are just going to have to deal with it. I watch the movie "Akeelah and the Spelling bee" and the end, they Akeelah and "Someone" won the spelling bee (national). I was a good movie and personal think I would a good personal connection.

  • juliam1-bur
    4/27/2017 - 11:03 a.m.


    I'm personaly not good at spelling bees but sometimes someone's got to win.

  • jacksone-bur
    4/27/2017 - 11:08 a.m.

    Bee's organizers want to eliminate ties so that they don't have to give 80,000 dollars away. If they can stop ties from happening then they can save more money. I wouldn't want to give away 80,000 dollars away every time there was a tie in the spelling bee.

  • loganf1-bur
    4/27/2017 - 11:11 a.m.

    The Bee's organizers want to eliminate ties because when they have a tie, they have to give each of the kids the amount of money that they were supposed to get. This means that the Bee's organizers end up paying double what they would have to if there was only one winner. In the article, "The National Spelling Bee adjusts its rules to prevent ties" the author, Brigit Katz states, "For the past three years, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has ended in a tie. Two whiz kids each claimed a $40,000 prize" (paragraph 1). This quote proves that everytime their is a tie, the Bee's organization has to pay a lot more money.

  • brianac-bur
    4/27/2017 - 11:16 a.m.

    They want to eliminate ties because, the whole purpose is for there to be one very good speller which would be the winner but with two winners it wont be a competition.

  • melissag-bur
    4/27/2017 - 11:21 a.m.

    The organizers want to eliminate ties because they only want one spelling bee champion. It may also be because they don't want to pay as much money. I would like to be in a spelling bee.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT