This year there will be two important changes to the rules of the Putnam competition.
- Previously I had to select the University of Maryland Team before the day of the competition. This has changed now. Our team will now consist of the top three scorers from our school.
- Previously the ranking for our school was determined by the total ranking of the three members of our team. This will change in 2019. The ranking of our team will be determined by adding the scores of the top scorers from our school.
I am not sure how these changes will affect our school’s performance in Putnam. Since the Putnam Committee is very opaque about the scores and rankings of schools I am not able to tell whether this change will help or hurt our standing in the future based on the past data.
I personally do not like the first change. In comparable competitions (such as the IMO and IMC) teams are always selected in advance. Selecting the team in advance creates a competitive atmosphere in the school for students to try and get into the school team.
As for the second change, I think the new scoring system might be more “fair”, but I am more agnostic about this change.
These changes will make it difficult to compare the performance of each school with its historical performance.