After reading Bill Barnwell’s article on Riverboat Ron, I became interested in quantifying the benefit of going for it on 4th & 1. I took two approaches: change in win probability and additional points scored.
Using the win probability graphs at Advanced NFL Stats, I compared the win probability of the Panthers before and after going for it on fourth down. On average, each conversion play increased Carolina’s chance of winning by 6%. On aggregate for the season, the Panthers increased their win probability 51 percentage points. While not equivalent, attempting fourth down conversions increased the Panther’s win total by half a game.
Examining the change in points, going for it on 4th & 1 led to 24 more points than they’d have otherwise scored. In particular, this strategy likely led to the Panther’s win in week 12 against Miami. The final score was 24-20. Converting on fourth down on their side of the field continued a drive that ended in a touchdown, +7 points compared to punting.
What’s interesting about how Rivera has implemented this strategy is how seemingly low-risk situations. Other than the Miami and second Tampa Bay games. the attempts came in the first half, with the scores level or Carolina ahead. Even if they failed to convert and the other team scored on the ensuing drive, Carolina would have had time to recoup.
Another way to view this strategy is that building early leads causes their opponents to change their play calling. While being up seven rather than three is not significant in the moment, combining those extra four or seven points with additional scores puts the opponents in situations when mistakes are more likely.
Every study of fourth down conversions shows that it’s a sound strategy. In the case of the Panthers, it’s led to quantifiable results.
Today, we received the results of the April ACT. While I was personally excited by our juniors’ performance on the science section, the results raised a number of questions. Our principal noted that the students who scored above a 30 were exclusively male. After a quick analysis, a teacher pointed out that females dominant the high GPAs. Why aren’t our girls scoring higher on the ACT, and why do our boys receive lower GPAs? In the discussion over email, it was noted that the high ACT males exhibit a lack of effort during class, but always do well on assessments. This raised the question, should the end result, the assessment, be weighted more than daily tasks, such as homework? Below was my contribution to the discussion.
Perhaps the answer is to provide a greater challenge for the students that excel in typical classrooms. While there are certainly classes in college that can be passed by only showing up to class two or three times, there are also classes that push a student extremely hard. I think of the student who earns straight A’s in high school but becomes a B student in college. It’s not that the student is incapable, it is that the student never put in the effort in high school, so he or she does not know how to put in the effort in college.
Providing two grades is an interesting idea. In addition to an academic report card, KIPP also provides a character report card. Effort, grit, etc., are all important character traits that correlate with future success. Developing character/drive in “naturally gifted” students creates men and women capable of even greater success in life. A 30 on the ACT may indicate a student will be hired by a Fortune 500 company, a 30 + character may indicate a student is capable of starting a Fortune 500 company.
Some colleges and educators use GPA as a rough measure of character. When thinking about the gender divide, I am curious whether ACT or GPA correlates better with college persistence. When examining students who attend schools with similar selectivity, is the student who was admitted with a higher ACT more likely to persist or is it the student with the higher GPA? Is there a gender divide in college persistence as well?
I think it’s worthwhile to consider the type of assessments. While tests are very important (ACT, GRE, Bar, etc), tests aren’t how you are evaluated in the workplace. Reflecting on my years in biotechnology, results were important, but so was my day-to-day work (designing, executing, and reporting experiments) and how I interacted with my co-workers. Perhaps within science, lab reports, the application of knowledge, should weigh more than exams, the mastery of knowledge.
Why don't guys cry? This is why we live longer.
Well, sometimes we just need to get away.
Whoever spray painted KONY on the cherry and spoon in Mpls. You are
my hero defacing a work of art to promote an extremely problematic and questionable campaign. This should not be tolerated, let alone lauded.