Judge

HUDL debaters have the option of participating in four debate formats: Policy Debate, World Schools Debate, Public Forum Debate, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Below, there is a section dedicated to each of these. You will find an overview of each format, informative videos, and demonstration debate videos. If you would like to watch one of these demonstration debate videos and fill out a ballot for practice, we would love to give you feedback. Please visit our tournament schedule page in order to see upcoming tournaments-your help will be greatly appreciated!

General Judging Guidelines

1. Making a Winning Decision

As the judge, you are the decision-maker in the debate round. You can decide the round however you see fit. The goal of every debater is to convince you that his or her team is right. The students should adapt to you as a judge and not require you to adapt to them.

The goal of the judge is to:

  • Determine, based on arguments in the round and not personal opinions, which team better proved its position.
  • Determine which team better used and explained its evidence to support its ideas in the debate round.
  • Determine which team better analyzed the weaknesses in the opposing team’s arguments.

There are several approaches that judges take in determining the outcome of a debate round. Most debaters will reference this as a judge’s philosophy or paradigm. As a judge, you can develop any paradigm you like to determine the outcome of the round. Each judge will receive a ballot (see example below) to fill out during and after the round is over. The ballot requires three basic pieces of information: the name of the team that won the debate round, a decision about the quality of the speakers, and a short explanation of how you came to your decision. During the round the judge can take some notes about the speakers (i.e. “you made a lot of great arguments, but you should look up more often when speaking.”). The goal of the Comments and Reason for Decision portion of the ballot is to help students learn from their rounds. The more constructive criticisms that you can outline the more opportunities students will have to succeed in new and different ways.

The decision that you make about the round is the right decision.Debaters should be taught how to adapt to a wide variety of judges.

2. Filling Out the Ballot

Each ballot asks one question regarding who won the debate: “The better debating was done by…” It specifically does not say: “Which team made more arguments?” “The better debating was done by…” is intentionally vague. EXAMPLE BALLOT BELOW

Awarding Speaker Points and Ranks

Part of the role of the judge is to determine both which debater was best among the four debaters (six in World Schools) in the round and determine on a scale between 20 (being a speech that needs a lot of work) and 30 (being a perfect speech) how many points each debater should receive. After the preliminary rounds, debaters receive speaker awards based on the total number of speaker points they’ve received. The speaker points and ranks serve to encourage clear and effective communication.

Speaker points and ranks should represent the quality of each debater’s speech.

  • Debaters should receive speaker points between 20 and 30. Multiple debaters can receive the same number of speaker points. For example, two debaters in a single round can both receive 27 speaker points.
  • Each debater should be ranked in the round from 1 (most effective) to 4 (needs the most improvement). Since there are 6 debaters per round in World Schools debate, ranks should range from 1 to 6 in this format. Multiple debaters can NOT receive the same rank in a single round.
  • 30 speaker points should be rare. Speaker points help differentiate between teams with the same number of wins. Thirty speaker points should be reserved for an almost perfect speech.
  • “Low point wins” (where the team with the lowest total speaker points wins the round) should be rare. A low point win should be confirmed by placing a check mark in the low point win line on the ballot.

Comment and Reason for Decision

The ballot has space at the bottom for comments and your reason for decision. The comments should provide constructive criticism to all of the debaters. The example ballot provides a great approach to outline each speech. The reason for decision can be as elaborate as you would like it to be. The information outlined here will be taken by the students back to the classroom as a learning tool.

3. A Request for All Judges:

  • Please turn off all cell phones and electronic devices before the start of the round.
  • Please do not interrupt speakers once the round has begun except to inform them that their speech or prep time has expired.
  • Please give a constructive oral critique of the round after you have made your decision and turned in your ballot.
  • Please do not disclose the outcome of the debate round.
  • Please inform a tournament director if you receive a ballot for a school where you have prior coaching, mentoring, or debating experience.
  • If there is a conflict/discrepancy in the round, please contact a tournament director to assist in the resolution of the problem.

 

Policy Debate:

HUDL: How to Judge Cross Examination Debate from Houston Urban Debate League on Vimeo.

General Overview

CX Order and Times.jpgPolicy debate, also referred to as Cross Examination Debate, is a competitive exchange of ideas that center around a single topic. This year, every high school policy debater around the country will be discussing:
Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the Earth’s oceans.

Each team in a debate round will be comprised of two students. There is an affirmative team that will defend the resolution by presenting a specific plan in an attempt to prove the resolution true. The opposing negative team will attempt to disprove the resolution by negating the specific affirmative plan and presenting reasons why the status quo (the way things currently are) is perfectly fine.

Division Restrictions: HUDL has two division in Policy Debate: Junior Varsity and Varsity

Junior Varsity Division

Cases can be adjusted and new evidence can be added as long as the changes fit with the basic theme of the case.

 

*No limits on disadvantages

*No counterplans and critics are allowed

Varsity Division

Cases must be disclosed one week before the tournament

*Varsity CX debaters may use any topic, disadvantage, counterplan, kritique, etc. with no restrictions.

Policy Debate Learning Resources

Online Training: How to Judge Policy Debate by the NFL: CLICK HERE

This is an interactive training course that includes video, text, and quizzes to test your knowledge.

Video: Final Round of HUDL Summer Institute: CLICK HERE

If you are interested, print the ballot below, then watch the debate round and fill out the ballot. We are happy to give you feedback if you send completed ballots to sjump@houstonisd.org or mniles@houstonisd.org.

World Schools Debate:

HUDL: How to Judge World Schools Debate from Houston Urban Debate League on Vimeo.

General Overview

World Schools Debate (WSD) is a speaking competition between two teams of three, the Proposition (also called the Government) and the Opposition. Debaters should display solid logic, reasoning, and depth of analysis. Debaters should communicate ideas with clarity, organization, eloquence, and professional decorum with the goal of persuading the everyday “informed citizen” judge.
Points of Information (POI)

During any of the Main Speeches, the team that isn’t speaking can stand up and ask the current speaker a quick (maximum 20 seconds) question or make a statement between minute 2-7 (unprotected time) of the speech. The current speaker has the right to accept or refuse the question, but should attempt to answer about 2 questions per speech. The first and last minute of each 8 minute speech is protected time when POIs can’t be given. One of your primary roles as a judge is to keep time and mark the beginning and end of unprotected time by either clapping or slapping the table at minute 1 and 7 during the main speeches.

Speeches and Time Limits

Main Speeches

1st Prop…………….8 min.

1st Opp……………..8 min.

2nd Prop……………8 min.

2nd Opp…………….8 min.

3rd Prop……………8 min.

3rd Opp…………….8 min.

Reply/Summary Speeches

Opp. Summary…4 min

Prop. Summary…4 min

NO PREP TIME DURING THE ROUND
POI Clap.jpg

What to Pay Attention To (As a Judge)

  • Did each speech have a clear structure?
  • Which team did a better job of answering and giving POIs. Did each speaker take 2-3 POIs during their speech?
  • In World Schools Debate, the debaters must present a reasonable definition of the motion. Ask yourself what is the issue that the two teams are expected to debate? What would an ordinary intelligent person reading the motion (debate topic) think that it is about?

World Schools Debate Learning Resources

Detailed Overview of World Schools: CLICK HERE

Online Training: How to Judge World Schools Debate: CLICK HERE

Video: Demo Debate HUDL Summer Institute: CLICK HERE

If you are interested, print the ballot below, then watch the debate round and fill out the ballot. We are happy to give you feedback if you send completed ballots to sjump@houstonisd.org or mniles@houstonisd.org.

Please look at how the judge interacts with the debaters by announcing the speakers, clapping when protected time is over and again when protected time starts again. You may also want to pay attention to how the students give the speeches without relying on evidence and how they handle the points of information.

Public Forum Debate:

HUDL: How to Judge Public Forum Debate from Houston Urban Debate League on Vimeo.

General Overview

Public Forum (PF) is popular debate format nation wide. Like World Schools Debate, the goal of the debater is to persuade the ordinary intelligent person. Therefore, excessive jargon, speed reading, and unfairly framing the debate is frowned upon You can find great information from a number of resources on-line.

The Coin Toss: In PF, there are two people on each side of the debate.The round starts with a coin toss; the winning team selects either:

• The side (pro or con) they will argue, or

• The speaker order (begin the debate or give the last speech).

The team that loses the toss will then decide their preference from the option not selected by the winner.

Speeches and Time Limits

Speaker 1 (Team A, 1st speaker )……..4 min.

Speaker 2 (Team B, 1st speaker) ……..4 min.

Crossfire (between speakers 1 & 2)….3 min.

Speaker 3 (Team A, 2nd speaker ) ……4 min.

Speaker 4 (Team B, 2nd speaker )……..4 min.

Crossfire (between speakers 3 & 4)…..3 min.

Speaker 1 Summary…………………………2 min.

Speaker 2 Summary…………………………2 min.

Grand Crossfire (all speakers) ………..3 min.

Speaker 3 Final Focus………………………2 min.

Speaker 4 Final Focus………………………2 min.

Each team may use up to two minutes of prep time.

Topics: The topic for PF changes monthly and is announced by the National Forensic League (NFL). Click here to see the most current topic.

Public Forum Debate Learning Resources

Detailed PDF of Public Forum Judging Instructions: CLICK HERE

Online Training: How to Judge Public Forum Debate by the NFL: CLICK HERE

This is an interactive training course that includes video, text, and quizzes to test your knowledge.

Video: DEMO Public Forum Round: CLICK HERE

If you are interested, print the ballot below, then watch the debate round and fill out the ballot. We are happy to give you feedback if you send completed ballots to sjump@houstonisd.org or mniles@houstonisd.org.