GUIDE FOR ADJUDICATORS

1. Introduction

Debate can be fukk of fun

Adjudication: inherently subjective

– limited by some artificial constraints

Role: an average reasonable person

– with expert knowledge of debating rules

– without preconceived opinions on issues

Function: decide – justify – criticize

– marks awarded should reflect adjudicator’s decision, not vice versa

2. Verbal Adjudication

Explaining your decision:

–    highlight critical differences between teams

–    don’t debate the debaters

–    be specific in weighing crucial elements

Giving constructive criticism:

–    adapt to the level of experience of debaters

–    be constructive/use constructive terms

Should be 5 to 7 minutes in total

3. Assessing Matter

6  Content (arguments, evidences) – 40%

6  Keywords: logic and relevance

– logic: chain of reasoning

– relevance: link to motion/theme line

6  Distinguish strong vs. weak arguments

6  Examples only support argument; they cannot substitute the argument itself

Elements of Matter

–          Assertion/Argument

–          Reason

–          Evidence/example

–          Link

4. Assessing Method

6  Structure and organization – 20%

6  Includes:

–          structure of individual speech (incl. Time management, i.e. overtime/underline)

–          structure of the team’s case (incl. fulfillment of roles of speakers)

–          response to the dynamics of the debate

6  Elements of Method :

–          Definition                               – Team split

–          Theme line                             – Substantial speech

–          Parameter/Limitation             – Recap/Summary

5. Assessing Manner

6  Delivery (public-speaking skills) – 40%

6  Key question: “was it effective?”

6  Elements of Manner:

–     vocal style                                        –     stance

–     use of language                                –     dress

–     use of notes                                      –     impression of sincerity

–     eye contacts                                     –     humor

–     gesture                                              –     personal attacks on opponent

6. Other Issues: Definitions

6  affirmative’s definition must be reasonable

–          clear, logical link to the (spirit of the) motion

–          debatable (a reasonable opposition exists)

6  negative may only challenge it based on:

–          truistic /tautological (not debatable)

–          squirreling (no logical link to motion)

–          time and place setting (specific knowledge)

6  expect “even-if” in definitional challenge

7. Other Issues: Reply Speech

6  overview of the debate:

–          showing the clash/point of contention

–          what their side has given

–          what the other side has tried to give

–          why they should win (biased adjudication)

6  reply speech is not rebuttal

6  rule: no new matter is reply speech

Other Issues: Miscellaneous

6  distinguish Matter, Manner, and Method

6  rule: no ties shall be awarded

6  brief interjections are tolerated, but heckling is not allowed

6  a Best Speaker is chosen between substantive speakers

6  humor round:

–          funny is appreciated, but logic is still a must

Other Issues: Other Errors

6  rule: no matter from 3rd Neg

–          new examples in rebuttal is not new matter

–          new matter from 3rd Aff is also discouraged

6  misrepresentations:

–          incorrect/disproportional reiteration of opposing argument

6  team slides:

–          change in theme between speakers

 

 

Marking Scale: Substantive

 

Matter/Manner

Method

Meaning

27

13

Very Poor

28 – 29

14

Poor – Below Average

30

15

Average

31 – 32

16

Good – Very Good

33

17

Excellent

Marking Scale: Reply

 

Matter/Manner

Method

Meaning

13,5

6,5

Very Poor

14 – 14,5

7

Poor – Below Average

15

7,5

Average

15,5 – 16

8

Good – Very Good

16,5

8,5

Excellent

Marking Scale: Margin

  • Margin gives a picture of how close or clear the debate was
  • The value of margin is the difference between the total score of the two sides of the house
  • Margin should also be determined first by the adjudicators, and not by simply taking the difference of the total scores

Margin

Meaning

1 – 4

A very close debate with only mine differences separating both teams.

5 – 9

A relatively clear decision with one team having an obvious advantage.

10 – 12

A very clear win with the losing team probably having failed in one or more fundamental aspects of its argument or presentation.

Things to remember

–          Follow the marking scale, including margins (chairpersons will help you.)

–          Make use of Guideline.

–          Consult the Chief Adjudicator.

–          Attend adjudicators’ meetings

–          An adjudicator decides the winner and the margin first. Marks can be engineered to fit the adjudicator’s decision.

–          There is a limit to lowest and highest margin.

–          Try not to give extreme marks and margins.

 

Tips

  • Pay attention to the total individual scores and compare each pair of speakers (1st affirmative with 1st negative, etc.)
  • Have an idea in mind of what an “average speaker” and “relatively clear debate” would be

Common Fallacies in Debating

Adjudicators weigh a speech mainly on the content, presentation style and structure. In assessing the content, they usually focus more on logic that facts and details. Therefore, an adjudicator will be able to be an average reasonable person, detached from their personal believe or field of expertise.

In this book, we will elaborate some ideas of common fallacies happen in debating. Hopefully this will help the adjudicators and debaters in general to acknowledge the pitfalls in debating. Therefore the debaters will be more reluctant in doing the same mistake, while the adjudicators will have more precision in spotting fallacies.

Why is an argument unacceptable?

  • Relevance

Arguments in debating are delivered mainly to prove a certain motion or fail. Therefore an argument becomes unacceptable, if it has no contribution in proving or negating the motion.

To check the relevance of an argument, adjudicator can rephrase the motion in a question form with question word “why”. An argument should be a matched answer to that question.

Relevance is not only applied in motion argument relation. Relevance should also be applied holistically in the structure of argument. In that case, we have few type of relevance:

  • Relevance between motion – argument
  • Relevance between assertion – explanation
  • Relevance between assertion – explanation – example

ADJUDICATION SHEET

Round             :                     

Room              :          ______

Chairperson      :                                  ____________

Timekeeper      :                                  ____________

Motion               :                                                                                                                                                        ________________________________________________

Adjudicator     :                                                                                                          

 

AFFIRMATIVE :                                                                

Order

Name

Matter

(27–33)

Manner

(27–33)

Method

(13–17)

Total

(67-83)

Time

(normal7 min)

1st
2nd
3rd
(Reply speech is scored as half of substantive speech) (13,5-16,5) (13,5-16,5) (6,5-8,5) (33,5-41,5)

(normal 5 min)

Reply

Final Score

NEGATIVE :                                                                       

Order Name

Matter

(27–33)

Manner

(27–33)

Method

(13–17)

Total

(67-83)

Time

(normal7 min)

1st
2nd
3rd
(Reply speech is scored as half of substantive speech) (13,5-16,5) (13,5-16,5) (6,5-8,5) (33,5-41,5)

(normal 5 min)

Reply

Final Score

Winner                        :  Affirmative / Negative

Margin             :                        (between 1 and 12)

Best Speaker   :                                                                                           (                                             )

Marking Scale

Substantive speeches (1st, 2nd, 3rd) are marked as follows:                           Margin in point have the following meaning:

Matter/Manner

Method

Meaning

Margin

Meaning

27

13

Very poor

1 – 4

A very close debate with only minor differences separating both teams.

28 – 29

14

Below average – poor

30

15

Average

5 – 9

A relatively clear decision with one team having an obvious advantage

31 – 32

16

Above average – Very good

33

17

Excellent

10 – 12

A very clear win

Reply speech are scored exactly half of substantive speeches                                  Margin in points must be between I and 12

PLEASE FOLLOW THE MARKING SCALE (INCLUDING MARGINS)

A relatively clear decision with one team having an obvious advantage.

10 – 12

A very clear win with the losing team probably having failed in one or more fundamental aspects of its argument or presentation.

Things to remember

–          Follow the marking scale, including margins (chairpersons will help you.)

–          Make use of Guideline.

–          Consult the Chief Adjudicator.

–          Attend adjudicators’ meetings

–          An adjudicator decides the winner and the margin first. Marks can be engineered to fit the adjudicator’s decision.

–          There is a limit to lowest and highest margin.

–          Try not to give extreme marks and margins.

 

Tips

  • Pay attention to the total individual scores and compare each pair of speakers (1st affirmative with 1st negative, etc.)
  • Have an idea in mind of what an “average speaker” and “relatively clear debate” would be

Common Fallacies in Debating

Adjudicators weigh a speech mainly on the content, presentation style and structure. In assessing the content, they usually focus more on logic that facts and details. Therefore, an adjudicator will be able to be an average reasonable person, detached from their personal believe or field of expertise.

In this book, we will elaborate some ideas of common fallacies happen in debating. Hopefully this will help the adjudicators and debaters in general to acknowledge the pitfalls in debating. Therefore the debaters will be more reluctant in doing the same mistake, while the adjudicators will have more precision in spotting fallacies.

Why is an argument unacceptable?

  • Relevance

Arguments in debating are delivered mainly to prove a certain motion or fail. Therefore an argument becomes unacceptable, if it has no contribution in proving or negating the motion.

To check the relevance of an argument, adjudicator can rephrase the motion in a question form with question word “why”. An argument should be a matched answer to that question.

Relevance is not only applied in motion argument relation. Relevance should also be applied holistically in the structure of argument. In that case, we have few type of relevance:

  • Relevance between motion – argument
  • Relevance between assertion – explanation
  • Relevance between assertion – explanation – example
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