[eDebate] 50 speaker point scale at Wake

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Thu Nov 1 14:02:36 CDT 2007

The system is absurd. You could make it a 1,000 point scale and it will change
nothing. Can anyone seriously argue that the difference between the first round
NDT teams speakers and a JV debater is a mere 3 speaker points? Because that is
the current community standard folks.

Exhibit 1. I judged a JV round in which the 1AC did nothing except read the 1AC
and then attempt to read his partner's typing before giving up in the 1AR. NO
CX and no other participation in the debate. I inferred that he was a novice
and I have sympathy for the situation. However, I gave him a 22. I have had
similar rounds in which team and/or debaters essentially quit debating,
resulting in 22s, 23, 25, etc.

I then have people come up to me and ask why I give such "low speaks," even
though I have given out 30's to superior speakers.

Exhibit 2. One of my debaters got flustered in a round and conceded the debate
in the 1AR (this was not in novice). He got a 27 or 28. LOL. I was shocked. I
would have given him a 20 or less for such a gaff.

The problem is that so many people are worried about hurting debaters feelings
that we now have absolutely horrible varsity debaters getting 28.5 and truly
brilliant speakers getting a maxed out 30. The fear among judges that they will
not be preffed because they give debaters what they deserve is palpable.

So, let's say we go to the 50 model. With all do respect to Professor Smith,
within two years, we will be back to a horrible varsity debater getting a 48.5
and the best of the best getting a 50. It solves NOTHING.

There is only one way to solve for this: JUDGES HAVE TO BE ADULT AND RESPONSIBLE
ENOUGH TO GIVE ACCURATE SPEAKER POINTS. I have been around the block enough to
know when a debater has given a performance worthy of a 30. Even in Novice and
JV, I have seen students who have given performances worthy of a perfect score.
But, it happens only once or twice in prelims. Most speakers are in the 24 to 26
range if truth be told. A lot of people that debate really are 20 to 24 range
speakers. The numbers really are irrelevant. Its this touchy-feely, "I don't
want to offend anyone" mentality that prevents judges from awarding speaker
points appropriately.

Only by getting off the touchy-feely paradigm, and onto the "judge is critical
evaluator of student performance" paradigm will the absurdity of point
inflation stop.

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