Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scoring the David Krikorian, Jean Schmidt, Victoria Wulsin debate

By Nate Noy

I am currently in the process of tabulating results, but I wanted to share the criteria I am using to score tonight's 2nd Congressional debate between David Krikorian, Jean Schmidt and Victoria Wulsin.

The good folks at the MSDA have what I believe is a very sound system and structure for scoring. Below is what I am utilizing to score this; results will follow shortly.

There are a number of categories on the scoresheet, producing a total mark out of 100. There are two approaches to marking. Some judges mark each category and then add them together for a total. Others prefer to assign an overall mark out of 100, bearing in mind the relative importance of each category, and then dividing the marks up into the categories. Either approach is acceptable. Please keep in mind this general guideline for the total scores, even if you are marking the categories:

90's: A score in the 90's indicates that you felt that the speaker did a superb job. You thoroughly enjoyed listening to the speaker and would go out of your way to hear him or her again — if you were in the habit of listening to speeches. You would be delighted to have this person as the advocate of a cause that you supported.

80's: This score indicates that you felt that the speech or reading was very good, although there were a few flaws either in the delivery or the content. You would be pleased at the prospect of hearing this debater again. You would also be pleased to have this person as the advocate of a cause that you supported.

70's: This indicates an average speech, neither very good nor very bad. You would not mind listening to this person again but you would be particularly pleased about it either. As an advocate, this person would not strengthen your cause.

60's: You would give this score to a weak speech. It would indicate major flaws in delivery and content. You would not look forward to listening to this person again.

50's: This mark indicates that the speech failed completely. Something must have gone very wrong. You would go out of your way to avoid listening to this person again. Please do not give a mark below 50.

Listed below are some questions that you might ask yourself when marking the various categories. If you just write an overall mark, you should still consider all of these points.

Analysis: How well does the debater understand the issues at hand ? Is he/she able to separate the argument from the rhetoric? Does he/she recognize and focus on the key arguments in the debate?

Organization: Does the debater proceed in a coherent, fluent manner? Does he/she introduce and conclude his/her case well? Are his/her arguments easy to follow?

Evidence and Logic: Does the debater provide sufficient justification of his/her case, either by means of factual evidence or logical reasoning? Is the reasoning sound?

Debate Skills: How effective is the debater's presentation and overall approach to the debate? Is it suitable? Is his/her choice of language good? If appropriate, are wit and humour used well? Does he/she have presence and flair ? Is the general approach to the debate (e.g. humorous, serious, concerned) appropriate and is it done well?

Style: How well does the debater deliver his/her speech? Does it appear to be spontaneous or is it merely being read? How effective is his/her eye contact, gestures etc.? Is the delivery polished or is it rough around the edges ? Are the tone and pace appropriate for the speech? Does the voice vary suitably, hold your attention, and enhance the arguments?

Refutation: How effectively and how thoroughly does the debater refute his/her opponent's case and defend his/her own? This should occur BOTH in the official rebuttal and in the constructive speeches.

Each category is marked out of 20.When marking a category, the following rating should apply EXCEPT if it produces a total which is not appropriate given the guidelines for overall totals.If you prefer, you may just give an appropriate letter grade if you are assigning an overall total.

A++ 20 points superb
A+ 19 points excellent
A 17-18 points very good
B 14-16 points good
C 11-13 points fair
D 8-10 points poor
F 4-7 points very poor

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