China Debate Education Network Judging Worlds-Style Debate
Judging Worlds-Style Debate Judge as teacher-educator Practical elements of judging the debate Criteria for judging a worlds-style debate
1. Judge as Educator A good judge is a good teacher, not necessarily a good or experienced debater Transitioning from debater to judge involves changing priorities. A judge’s role in a debate is to help students improve. A judge also has the responsibility to encourage students – especially new debaters.
Judging as Reasonable and Impartial Judge with respect to the topic at hand Do not judge what was NOT presented if another team also did not present these issues or arguments. Do not judge on preconceived views of the arguments or motion – even if you believe the arguments to be incorrect. Judge as a “Reasonable and impartial observer” based on the arguments made in the debate.
2. Practical Elements of Judging Conducting the debate Keeping good notes Reaching a decision Responsibilities of the chair Completing the ballot Providing oral feedback Good and bad judging habits
Conducting the Debate Do not start the debate until all debaters and judges are present. Introduce the debate and each speaker. Be prepared to keep time. After the debate, temporarily dismiss the debaters. After the decision is reached, reconvene the debaters, announce the rankings and provide oral feedback.
Keeping Good Notes Good notes are necessary in order to keep track of arguments constructed by all debaters. A variety of methods of taking notes are possible. There is no single “right” method. Examine your notes in order to reach a decision and to discuss the decision with other judges on your judging panel.
Reaching a Decision Most tournaments will use a form of judging called “consensus judging” In consensus judging, all judges will have to agree on one set of team rankings and speaker points for individual students and teams. In the rare instances where consensus is not possible, the decisions about final rankings are put to a vote with the chair’s vote serving as the tiebreaker
Responsibilities of the Chair Provide all the adjudicators a few minutes to look over their notes and independently decide their initial rankings. NOT to bully the other judges into accepting the chair’s rankings. Lead the post-debate discussion. Explain the rankings and give constructive suggestions to each debater.
Completing the Ballot Rank the teams 1st to 4th (1st is the best, 4th is the lowest). Assign speaker points – Technically the point range is from 0-100. – 75 points is generally considered the average. – To rank a speaker 85 points or higher the debater should have strong points, be well organized, and be very persuasive. – To receive points lower than 65 the debater should be totally disorganized or demonstrates poor argumentation skills.
Providing Oral Feedback Does the feedback encourage debaters, especially beginners, to improve? Does it clearly provide suggestions for improvement to each debater? Does it clearly explain the reasons the panel reached its decision?
Good and Bad Observation Habits Listen carefully and avoid things that will distract your focus. Use non-verbal communication in a supportive manner. Avoid behaviors that might unintentionally suggest bias toward one or more teams. Approach the debate with good humor.
Criteria Role fulfillment Argument construction Refutation and rebuttal Points of information Agenda setting Delivery
Judging Role Fulfillment Fulfillment of a role is secondary – Role fulfillment should be considered after judging how well arguments were constructed and after engaging in sound refutation – Sometimes debaters should be rewarded for creatively departing from their role when circumstances dictate. Debaters roles are presented in the lesson entitled “Introduction to Worlds-Style Debate”
Judging Argument Construction Perhaps the most important criterion Evaluate the argument for both reasoning and its impact on the debate. How well do debaters argue their positions? – Who does the best job on key issues? – Who explains not only the claims but the reasons and evidence supporting the claim? – Who best crafts their arguments? – Who maintains logical consistency? – How relevant are the arguments to the debate and motion? Do they advance the debate in fruitful ways?
Judging Refutation and Rebuttal Next to argument construction, the most important criterion. Did the debaters do a good job of refuting the most important arguments? Did the debaters do a good job of communicating why their refutation was important to the debate? Did the debaters do a good job of making their refutation clear (using the 4-step method of refutation)?
Judging Points of Information Every speaker should raise points, even if those points are refused by those speaking. One way to keep track of this is to draw ticks next to the debater’s name each time they raise a point and circling the tick when their point is accepted. The importance of points of information should not be evaluated merely on quantity, but on the quality of the points raised and how they impact the debate.
Judging Agenda Setting Does the debater create substantive arguments that contributed to the overall agenda of the debate? Does the debater work to ensure that the threads of argument he or she has introduced are discussed throughout the entire debate?
Judging Delivery Delivery is not important in and of itself, but it is important to the extent it improves and emphasizes the other criteria. Debaters should not have mannerisms that distract from the audience’s perception of their arguments. Delivery should be conversational yet at the same time powerful. Excellence in English is not the same as excellence in Debate