[eDebate] 100 point scale

Ede Warner ewarner
Mon Nov 5 19:06:54 CST 2007


Important to highlight a couple of differences in the grade analogy:
 
1) Grades are private between student and instructor.  Points are
public for all the debate community to see.  The fear of stigma and
being struck create different pressures that don't exist in a classroom
environment, but certainly affect point distribution. 
2) MPJ affects.  Debaters self-select judges who have a similar
orientation to debate.  Judges, who likely have reciprocal feelings
about the debater's, then give points.  See the problem?  In the
classroom, the ability to self-select is limited.  While you can take
some classes based on the teacher's grading scale (electives), most
required courses give you limited freedoms in this area.  And even if
you pick the prof, that won't assure a good grade, partly because of
#1.
3)  Reciprocal ongong threat of retaliation.  As a consequence of #1,
judges may feel accurate public grading of students, knowing that the
coaches and judges of the team receiving lower points will likely judge
her or his teams down the road.  Consequently, the fear of retaliation,
especially in situations of preferred judges, is higher and reduces the
likelihood of judges giving standard community points.
 
Can't fix this problem without engaging other community issues. 
Sorry...

>>> 

From: "Gary Larson" <Gary.N.Larson at wheaton.edu>
To:<edebate at ndtceda.com>
Date: 11/5/2007 7:49 PM
Subject: [eDebate]  100 point scale

A couple of quick observations:  I?m a bit bemused by our hand-wringing
as to whether judges will be able to create appropriate standards or
community norms in assigning points on a new scale (e.g. David?s worry
that it will take 20 tournaments before assigned scores prove to be more
than random).  Considering that the vast majority of judges also have
the ?day job? of assigning grades to undergraduate students that  help
determine GPA?s and can potentially impact graduate or job placements,
I?m not encouraged to hear that we doubt whether they can handle a
100 point scale (or some other equivalent scale) for evaluating debates
reliably.  Since we typically identify the participants in the debate
community as among the brightest and best, I would hope that clear
instructions about how point scales work would reduce the chance that
some judges might think that the translation should be ?old score + 70?
while others think it is ?old score * 3.3?  I would like to believe that
clear instructions can be successfully interpreted by all of the various
judges that we have in the pool.  But, of course, then perhaps we should
imagine that judges could successfully modify their use of the current
scale to reduce point inflation and scale compression.  
 
Any scale will ultimately succeed or fail based on the common
understandings of bright people who are interacting with student
performances.  That said, there is a different metaphorical force
associated with a 30 point scale, a 50 point scale, a 100 point scale
with whole points, a 10 point scale with decimal points, the current
scale with the addition of quarter points, etc.  Given my druthers as a
sometimes statistician, I?m most easily convinced by the rhetorical
merits of the 100-point scale since it has so many grading analogues in
higher education.  But I hope that we?re smart enough and committed
enough to embrace a scale however we define it.
 
I should also underline one concern about quarter-points as the author
of tab software.  Considering the number of keystrokes required to enter
number like 27.75 (while at present we can tab most scores with only 1
or 2 keystrokes), IF we?re going to improve discrimination by just
adding more significant digits instead of using all of the whole (and
half) points already at our disposal, my druthers would be to go to
decimal points rather than quarter points.  And if we go there, then
perhaps the best scale is 0-10 with decimal points.  But even there we
have the experience of sports like skating
 and gymnastics relatively
quickly discovering that they need to go to hundredths to get
discrimination.
 
  
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