Rosemount Irish Invitational
2023 — Rosemount, MN/US
Congress Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
A note to all debaters: although I try to be completely objective when scoring, remember judging is essentially just my opinion of how you did. Your own evaluation of how you debated is at least as valid as mine and probably more so. I try my best to leave constructive comments for each speaker, but time constraints while a debate is in progress can make that difficult. If you do not get feedback, it's not because I do not care, it's because I ran out of time.
Expect comments of the form:
Cycle w/ notations, for example 3A (break) (cut-off) means it was the 3rd Affirmative speech, it broke cycle and the PO cut you off at 3m10s
Strength: Something you did well
Suggestion: Something to consider when working to improve
I personally consider Delivery to be the most important skill you can acquire from debate because it's a life skill. Even if you never debate again after high school, being comfortable with speaking to a group is useful forever. My comments are often heavily weighted towards Delivery strengths and suggestions for this reason.
I prefer a traditional speech with a defined introduction, main body and conclusion:
1) Tell me what you're about to tell me (30 seconds) - Introduction
2) Tell me (2 minutes) - 2 or 3 main points
3) Tell me what you just told me (30 seconds) - Conclusion/summary
I use speaker points mostly for my use in post-session ranking but in general:
6 - Outstanding (rarely given)
5 - Excellent
4 - Average
3 - Below average (rarely given)
2, 1 - I don't use these scores
I try to be as objective as possible without introducing bias, opinion or knowledge external to the debate. If you claim "The sky is purple", back it up with evidence, persuade me, show why it matters, and rebut any opposition counter-claims, then the sky is actually purple for scoring/ranking purposes.
I also take into account the overall experience level of the chamber and judge each speaker in comparison to the others present. For example, if a novice House speaker simply reads a prepared speech, I'm much more forgiving in my rankings than I would be for a Varsity Senate speaker doing the same thing.
How I judge a debate speech in detail:
Simple, direct and concise is best. An attention-getter (like you would do at a speech tournament) is probably unnecessary and uses valuable time. For NEG speeches it's ok to agree with something in the bill as long as you immediately follow-up with what's wrong with it: "While I agree that passing this bill to get "X" is a noble goal, the enormous problem of "Y" makes passage impractical and counter-productive".
* Main point overview - "Tell me what you're about to tell me". For example, something like "The main [benefits/problems] with this bill in general are financial which I'll cover in my 1st main point and quality of life covered in my 2nd and 3rd points about health care and tax reform" This can also set up your conclusion/summary where you can echo your intro and "Tell me what you just told me".
* Bill overview - This is critical in 1st cycle speeches. State the primary [benefit/liability] for [passing/failing] this bill as written. A short and meaningful (quantified if possible) impact statement is best. For example, "Passing this bill will feed 10 million malnourished children per year who would otherwise go hungry and cost just $50 per child - that's 14 cents per day per child!" i.e. AFF should avoid stating the $500 million cost directly, and NEG should do the opposite.
* Organization - Speech should have a clear intro, main body (2 or 3 main points) and conclusion with obvious and meaningful transitions.
* Credibility - mispronounced words, world leader names in particular, can indicate to me that the speaker is simply reciting a speech written by the team.
* Decorum - Never raise your voice in questioning. Always refer to actual politicians and chamber members with their honorific: "President Washington said..." rather than "Washington said...". Respect the position even if you don't respect the person currently/formerly holding that position.
* Links & Connections - Whenever possible connect your related points to a previous speaker/argument, ex. "My 1st main point about financing [supports/refutes] Senator Lincoln's argument about budgeting and Senator Jefferson's claim about debt".
* Logic, facts & evidence - Ideally, about half your main point explanation(s) should "prove" why the bill should pass/fail.
* Persuasion & passion - Ideally, the other half should convince me why you are correct and/or the opposition is incorrect.
* Answers - Simple, clear and concise answers are best. Never raise your voice no matter how aggressive the questioner gets. It's ok to subtly critique the questioner when appropriate, ex. "That was a long winded question but I'll do my best to answer in the few seconds remaining..." or "That was a statement. Do you have an actual question for me?"
* Claim - simple, clear and concise is best. "This bill will cost $500 million dollars and the country simply cannot afford it right now!"
* Proof, experts & citations - Support your claim with evidence from subject matter experts as much as possible. Avoid long back and forth "dueling expert battles" in questioning. It's ok to point out "your" expert is stating the exact opposite of "their" expert but let it go after that.
* Impact / Explanation - Tell me why it matters! Use intro phrases like "This is important because..." or "The primary overall impact of [passing/failing] this legislation is..."
Clash (N/A for 1st cycle speeches) - Be specific and detailed when you tell me what's wrong with the opposition's case.
Closely related to "Links and Connections" above. This is most important at the Senate level. If your speech is presented like a 1st cycle speech with no clash, it will impact your ranking.
* Speakers - Name all previous speakers who made similar (but distinct) points before making your new point.
* Arguments - Group similar but distinct previous arguments together as well.
Do not simply read your speech. I give some allowance for 1st cycle speeches, but holding a laptop with both hands, standing still, looking straight down at the screen and reading will impact your ranking.
* Extemporaneous - your prepared material should be used as notes and not as a script. Using voice technique (volume, tone and pacing) to add impact/drama to your most important points will positively impact your score/ranking
* Gestures - Use hand gestures to add non-verbal emphasis and impact to your important spoken points.
* Movement - Use meaningful movement as a non verbal signal to indicate transitions. For example, as you end your intro and start your main point 1 topic sentence, move 3-6 feet to your left or right and again at other main point or summary transition points. Avoid meaningless pacing and shifting from foot to foot as it can indicate nervousness.
* Eye contact - "Talk" to all members of the chamber - center, left and right - switching at transition points is fine. Avoid just talking to one "location" (judges and/or the floor/ceiling/back wall)
The word "Affirm/Negate" does not count as a conclusion if you run out of time speaking on your main points.
* Main point summary - Make the transition obvious with something like "So in conclusion..." and then add a sentence or two about the broad categories of your main points, something like "The main [benefits/liabilities] of this bill are financial as I clearly explained in my first main point and quality of life as my 2nd and 3rd main points on health care reform and fair taxation prove." The categories you choose (financial & quality of life in my example) give following same-side speakers an easy way to link back to your speech as well.
* Big Picture statement - One or two sentences on the primary impact of [passing/failing] the bill is good enough, but tell me why it matters.
Time - anything between 2:30 and 3:09 is fine.
Do not force the PO to cut you off at 3:10, this will impact your ranking. A common comment I make if you ran out of time or rushed your summary is something like "Consider using the PO's 2m30s double gavel tap as a signal to begin your conclusion to avoid running out of time."
For crystalization speeches, I strongly prefer advocacy on one side or the other. If you properly flow the debate you can simply add a statement in your intro and conclusion to support either AFF or NEG to avoid breaking cycle. For example, in your intro say something like "I'd like to focus this debate by first summarizing the AFF speakers and their arguments. Follow up by summarizing the NEG side, and conclude by telling you why [AFF/NEG] should get your vote". In your conclusion something like "Now that I've summarized both sides, let me tell you why argument "X" is the most compelling, briefly explain the Big Picture impact of this legislation and ultimately why it's important you vote for [AFF/NEG]". It is critical you reserve the last 30 seconds of your time for the conclusion and advocacy statement. Use the PO's 2m30s gavel double tap as a signal to end your main point discussion.
Presiding Officers are judged on:
Speaker Recognition (Precedence and Recency)
Fair and even distribution of speaker recognition throughout the chamber when preset precedence is not used is important, i.e. you do not constantly favor Reps. sitting on the right side of the room. Making mistakes, but catching and correcting them will impact your ranking a little, not catching and correcting them will impact your ranking a lot.
You handle motions, timing and voting efficiently. It is critical you use the standard/recommended NSDA timing signals. If you confuse speakers with non-standard signals, it can and probably will negatively impact your ranking.
Delivery / Presence
You speak loud and clear. Call on speakers quickly. Shutdown post-time arguments in questioning, etc.
Running a smooth and efficient chamber is key. "You did your job so well I barely noticed you" is the highest compliment I can give.
Parent judge with 4 years of experience.
Please slow the pace of your speech so it is easier to follow.
When I judge Congress, not only am I looking for arguments (claim/warrant/data/impact), I am looking at the quality of your presentation. Speech still applies to Debate. I look for a confident, passionate persuasive speech that asks us to affirm or negate. As a session progresses, I look to see follow up speeches that draw in other supporting Senators/Representatives, as well as refuting the opposition - including being presented more extemporaneously. If the topic makes you angry or frustrated, I want to see and hear that. If it makes you happy or satisfied, I want to see that, too. For Q&A blocks, I expect to see the level of prep that anticipates what others will ask after your speech. I look for confident, crisp answers. Thank you.
Helloooo, I'm Adrianna she/her, I did congress for four years at Eagan High School and I now attend the University of Minnesota. If you wanna email me for whatever reason... my personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm mostly looking for a well-structured congress round. That means I want to see intros, rebuttals, crystals, an actual debate round. Don't give in to the stereotype that congress is a speech category and not create a debate round :/ I hate when cycle is broken and will encourage against it in round. Know that if you prevent cycle from being broken and take the speech, I WILL remember and consider that. BUT, you should have both sides ready at any position, PLEASE.
I really like seeing you look at me and the other debaters, having an interesting intro to your speech, clash, emotions/expressions, impacting, ethical sources, and a good attitude! It should be fairly easy for me to follow your points, evidence, warrants, impacts, weighing, and reasoning. Remember I'm going in with no research on the legislation and you are persuading the room to your side.
Know you'll be dropped automatically if you use ANY offensive language, you're rude to others, or you yell over others during questioning. I also hate when people put triggering evidence in their speeches whether or not you put a trigger warning. If you have to put a trigger warning you probably shouldn't say it all. Another thing I dislike is if you don't use up the full 30 secs you're allowed for direct questioning. That's a WASTE of a question, please try to keep going or have more prepared to ask. If you were paying attention to the speech, this shouldn't be a problem ;) I also don't appreciate asking questions, trapping someone, then giving up any remaining time in the questioning period to the chair and cutting off the speakers answer. VERY rude and you are NOT making a point by doing it, let them answer or let the time run out, be respectful, or expect to be dropped.
For POS, I mostly want to forget you're there, sorry. If I'm not thinking about you then you have done your job well. I want no mistakes regarding precedence and recency - one or two isn't the end of the world, as well as short and to the point statements. No one cares about the chair's feelings. You end up wasting mine and the participants time in round when you include unnecessary speech. Furthermore, when calling on speakers and questioners at the beginning of the round, if the tournaments provides no precedence and recency chart, it should be RANDOM. Please please please don't create your own "chart" and use that to call on people. Wait a couple seconds for everyone to rise, then call on someone random. I'll know who in the round is from your school. Two people from the same school competing for po is weird so maybe communicate before round. Be a good sport!
hi ! my name is abiha kashif and i did congressional debate at eagan high school for four years -- now i coach at bloomington. if you have any questions for me, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
things i like:
i like seeing that people know the different kinds of speeches (constructive, rebuttal, crystal) and where they're meant to go. i like direct clash, which is more than just mentioning names, but actually interacting with opposing arguments. "why do i believe u and not the other side?" instead of just introducing clashing data. i pay attention to your questions + making the effort to try to question, i like super active speakers. i like seeing you can speak in multiple positions, especially when you can go late.
impacts are also good! tell me why exactly ____ problem will happen if we pass/fail + why i care about it (the formula tbh)
things i don't like:
when people break cycle
repeated recesses to write speeches
only speaking in one position
lack of clash
things i like -
not being too wordy especially in senate rounds - less talking the better!! clear handle on motions/majorities/other stuff. taking a second to double check is ok! really just the typical presiding stuff.
Energetic and enthusiastic to always get involved in education activities especially when it comes to debate and speech. Since my 6th grade I was always passionate about learning and discussing to get the facts rights. This interest made me volunteer for many activities.
When judging a debate, I want to see that you are following the rules established by the National Speech and Debate Association for whichever debate form you are competing in. Honestly, if I catch that you have broken a rule it will not flow kindly in your favor.
Other very important things to note:
- I want you to stay on topic: You have a given topic for a reason.
- Be respectful: This is an educational forum established for students to benefit educationally and no one benefits from disrespect. How you present yourself and how you treat your opponent(s) will be considered when choosing a winner.
- Presenting a solid case that is backed by credible resources is also imperative. Furthermore, there should be plenty of evidence to back up your claims especially in the rebuttals. You the debater are not a credible source. Logical arguments are great if you can back them up
- Plans/Counterplans: In Public Forum Debate, the Association defines a plan or counterplan as a formalized, comprehensive proposal for implementation. Neither the pro or con side is permitted to offer a plan or counterplan; rather, they should offer reasoning to support a position of advocacy. Debaters may offer generalized, practical solutions (Direct quote from the National Speech and Debate Association.)
- “Non-existent evidence” means one or more of the following:
1. The debater citing the evidence is unable to provide the original source or copy of the relevant pages when requested by their opponent, judge, or tournament official.
2. The original source provided does not contain the evidence cited.
3. The evidence is paraphrased but lacks an original source to verify the accuracy of the paraphrasing.
4. The debater is in possession of the original source, but declines to provide it to their opponent upon request in a timely fashion.
(Direct quote from the National Speech and Debate Association.)
Another note to consider, I do not support the blending of the debate styles. LD is not Policy debate, nor is PF. They are all unique styles of debate with their own educational value. Trying to make LD or PF like Policy Debate will not be voted on favorably.
Spreading offers no educational value to debate. Talking fast I am cool with if you have the diction for it!
Chris McDonald (He/Him) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Use the above email for any email chains during the round.
Head Coach Eagan High School in Minnesota
While I mainly have coached and judged Policy Debate for the past 37 years I do judge my fair share of LD, Public Forum and Congressional Debate Rounds.
Items for all formats to consider:
- Disclosure theory: While I understand why this started out as something good for the community it has unfortunately morphed into an abusive argument and as such I will not consider it in my decision for the round.
- Evidence sharing: Have a system for sharing evidence setup before the round begins. This will make this more efficient and your judges happier. If you are asked for a piece of evidence you just read and it takes you more than 15 seconds to find the card, I will treat it as an unsupported argument.
- Paraphrasing in Debate: I dislike paraphrasing and even though the rules allow it I find that is has become an abused by some debaters. I would ask that teams read actual quotes from evidence and not paraphrase.
Policy Debate - Please know that while I used to judge a lot of rounds throughout the season in policy debate it has been a few years since I judged more than just a handful of policy rounds. I do work with my school's novice and varsity policy teams.
My philosophy has pretty much remained consistent throughout my career. I consider policy debate to be a test of policy based ideas between two teams. How those teams approach the topic and frame the debate is entirely up to them. Below are a few things to know about me on some specifics but please know my primary objective is for us to have an enjoyable round of debate.
Delivery Speed - Since it has been a few years for me since last judging lots of policy debate my ability to listen to really fast debate has faded. Please keep it to a slightly slower speed of delivery especially using the online platforms. I will let you know if you are unclear or going too fast by verbally indicating such during your speech. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being oratory speed and 10 being approaching the sound barrier (only joking here) I would place myself as a 7 these days.
Topicality - I enjoy a good topicality debate but have found that over the years teams are taking too many shortcuts with the initial development of the topicality violation. I prefer topicality to have a clear definition, a clearly developed violation, standards for evaluating the violation and reasons why it is a voting issue. For the affirmative side you really need to engage with the topicality violation and provide a counter interpretation that supports your interpretation of the resolution. Topicality is distinct from framework.
Framework - I also enjoy evaluating a debate when framework is clearly articulated and argued by both the affirmative and negative sides. Framework is focused around how you would like me to evaluate the arguments in the round. Do you prefer a consequentialist framework, a deontological framework, etc..
Critiques - I am fine with critical approaches by the negative and the affirmative sides. For the affirmative please keep in mind that you will need to defend your critical affirmative as either a topical representation of the topic or why it is important for us to debate your affirmative even if it isn't necessarily within the boundaries of the topic.
Flow - Please label all arguments and positions clearly throughout the debate. Signposting has become a lost art. Debaters doing an effective job of signposting and labeling will be rewarded with higher speaker points.
Disadvantages - Please be certain to articulate your links clearly and having clear internal links helps a great deal.
Counter plans - I think counter plans are an essential tool for negative teams. Please note that I am not a big fan of multiple conditional counter plans. Running a couple of well developed counter plans is better than running 4 or 5 underdeveloped counter plans. Counter plans should have a text to compete against the affirmative plan text.
Theory - General theory in debate rounds like conditionality and that are fine but have rarely been round winners without a lot of time devoted to why theory should be considered over substance.
If you have any questions please let me know and I will happily answer those questions.
1. I am not a fan of theory as it plays out in LD debate rounds. Most of the theory that is argued is pretty meaningless when it comes to the topics at hand. I will only consider topicality if the affirmative is presenting a plan text in the round or isn't debating the resolution we are supposed to be considering at that given tournament. I ask that the debaters debate the topic as it is written and not as they would like it to be.
2. Beyond my dislike for theory you are free to pretty much debate the round as you see fit. Please keep your speed to a level where you are clear especially considering buffering time with online platforms you should probably slow down from what you think you are capable of during in-person debates.
3. Evidence should be shared using an email chain. Please include me at email@example.com
4. If you have specific questions please ask. I will disclose at the end of the round but I will also respect the tournaments schedule and work to keep it on time.
1. Evidence is very important to me. I prefer direct quotation of evidence over paraphrasing. Please make note of the new NSDA rule regarding paraphrasing. Source Citations: make sure that you present enough of a source citation that I should have no problem locating the evidence you present in the round. This would include the author or periodical name and date at a minimum. So we are clear Harvard '23 is not a source citation. Harvard is a really great University but has, to my knowledge never written a word without the assistance of some human that attends or works at Harvard.
2. There is to be no game playing with regards to evidence sharing during or after the round. If you are asked for evidence by your opponents you must produce it in a timely manner or I will discount the evidence and only treat the argument as an unsubstantiated assertion on your part. Even if it means handing over one of your laptops you must provide evidence for inspection by the other team so that they may evaluate it and respond to the evidence in subsequent speeches.
3. Prep Time - you are only provided with 3 minutes of prep time, unless otherwise stated by the tournament you are attending. Please use it wisely. I will only give a little latitude with regards to untimed evidence sharing or organizing your flows, but please be efficient and quick about it.
4. Argument choices are completely up to the debaters. I prefer a good substantive debate with clear clash and that the debaters compare and weigh the arguments they feel are important for their side to prevail as the debate comes into focus but the substance of those arguments is completely within the control of the teams debating.
5. Please respect your opponents and treat everyone involved in the debate round with the utmost respect. Speaker points will be effected by any rude behavior on the part of a debater.
6. I will disclose and discuss my decision at the end of the round so long as there is time and the tournament stays on schedule.
7. Finally, please remember to have fun and enjoy the experience.