Forensics Related Educational Document
Pacific Southwestern Forensics Association Judging Guidelines
Welcome to the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensic Association! These guidelines were designed to assist both brand new judges and experienced judges familiarize themselves with our organizations rules and conventions. The tournament would like to offer the following suggestions and guidelines to facilitate your judging and to ensure a positive educational experience for the competitors.
Basic Judging Information
Being the Judge
Check-in: As soon as you arrive at the tournament it is important to check-in at the ballot table to let them know that you have arrived. Also, you can ask them any questions you may have about parking, food, and the tournament schedule. You should arrive at the ballot table at least ten (10) minutes prior to each round to pick up your ballot and then proceed immediately to your assigned room. You must judge the round you are assigned, do not switch ballots with another judge as this will not allow the tournament administration to do an effective job.
What to Bring
Stopwatch: You will need this to time the speeches.
Pen: To write comments on the ballots.
Pad of Paper: To take notes during the debate round.
Individual Event Start on Time: Start the round as close to the designated starting time as possible. Do not wait for every student to show up before beginning the round as some students may be entered in more than one event per round.
Debate Start on Time: Start the round as close to the designated starting time as possible. For Lincoln Douglas Debate both debaters must be present before the debate
can commence. Parliamentary and Policy Debate both debate teams must be complete before the round can commence.
Attendance: Each round you will receive a sheet attached to your ballots that will give you the speaking order. The students will sign in for the round by writing their names on the board or a sheet of paper. Students are to perform in the designate order unless there is a double entry in your round, if so that speaker is given order priority.
Double Entry: Some students will be participating in two speaking events during the same round. When they sign in they will place a DE or XE by their name, to notify you that they will either: (1) perform for you and then need to be excused from the round so as to go to their other round, or (2) they will perform in their other event and then arrive in your room to perform their second event. Students are expected to remain in the room as audience members unless they are double entered. Students double entered in extemporaneous speaking may be verylate.
A judge may call a “No-Show” once the time designated for the round has concluded. If the student has signed in as Double Entered (D.E.) wait to insure that the student has not returned before leaving the round. Please write “No Show” on the ballot and notify the ballot table.
During the Round
Timing the speakers: All events must be timed and recorded. It is important to time each speech and record the time on the ballot. There are time constraints for each event, see event descriptions for specific time lengths and which events require verbal or visual time signals.
Filling out the Identification Information: The top portion of the ballot may ask for information such as: the name of the student, the student’s code, the name of the school, and the school code. Additionally, you will need to identify the event you are judging and the round you are judging.
Comments: What did the speaker do well? What do they still need to work on? Ballots are not only used to help determine the rankings for this particular tournament, but they are used as a tool, to educate students. Therefore, all of your comments are greatly appreciated. You should plan to write during each speech as well as briefly after the speech. Remember time is of the essence.
Ranking the Round: After each preliminary round, the judge ranks each competitor from 1st to 4th. (The best speech in the round should receive a rank of “1,” the second best speech a “2,” etc.) Judges should give a tie rank of 4th to all students other than the top three, unless given other instructions by the ballot table. In a final round judges are to give a rank of 5th to all students other than the top four, unless given other instructions. Judges will assign a rating of “Superior,” “Excellent,” “Good,” “Fair,” or “Unprepared” to each student. In current practice the use of the ratings “Fair” and “Unprepared” is extremely rare.
Reason for Decision: This statement tells the student the reason or justification for their ranking in the round. For example: If a student is ranked 3rd out of six competitors, what about their performance placed them third. The students look to your comments and constructive criticism to help them to improve.
Criteria: The consequences and weight of: performing over-time, being a poor audience member, arriving after a round has started, literary merit, topic selection, social significance and any other possible situation not expressly delineated in these guidelines is left up to you, the judge.
Objectivity: Please try to judge the round in as fair a way as possible. Keep an open mind, try to avoid bias based on your personal affiliations. Keep in mind the feelings of the students that will be reading your comments.
Responsibilities of Judges (As states in Rules and Procedures, section X of the PSCFA Hand book)
A. Judges will arrive at the ballot table at least 10 minutes prior to the start of each round, and will remain in the judging area until the table announces that judges are released.
B. Judges will promptly return completed ballots to the judges table upon completion of the round.
C. Judges shall not provide oral critiques in a non-debate event prior to turning in their ballots.
D. Judges shall provide accurate time signals for students in all limited preparation events and debate.
E. Judges are obliged to provide detailed and constructive written criticism of any and all rounds of competition they evaluate.
F. Judges shall render an unambiguous win/loss decision in each debate round as well as unambiguous points and rank in each preliminary round.
G. Judges have the discretion to disclose decisions and provide oral critiques in debate, as long as it does not impact the tournament schedule.H. The Tournament Director has discretion to remove a judge from a roundbased on potential conflict of interest
Impromptu: Students choose one of three topics/quotations on which to base their speeches. Rather than having students wait in the hall for their turn,students are expected to watch the entire round unless they are double entered.
1 Students are prohibited from consulting with anyone other than their partners or the judge (Speaker of the House) during preparation time.
2 Students may consult written materials during preparation time, butmay not read from those materials during the debate itself.
Festival Finals: In events with 24 or more contestants, the tournament will typically utilize festival finals – simultaneous rounds of ‘finals’ – in lieu of semifinals. In all final rounds, judges will rank to 5th place and tie remaining speakers at the 5th place.
Event Specific Information
LIMITED PREPARATION EVENTS
General description: Limited Preparation events are speeches, which are prepared by students at the tournament. Students give a different speech each round.
In this event, students are given a topic (usually a question) dealing with a current events issue and have thirty minutes to prepare a seven-minute speech. Topics will be drawn from contemporary political, economic, and international affairs for the period 90 days prior to the tournament. Schools are expected to provide their own research materials. Time limit is 7 minutes. Speakers will select one topic from three choices drawn 30 minutes prior to speaking. Competitors are allowed and encouraged to use notes when delivering extemporaneous speeches.
1. Handing out topics and supervising preparation time are not the responsibility of the judge.
2. Each student should arrive at the round thirty minutes after receiving his/her topic. Realize that not all speakers will arrive at the round simultaneously. They will arrive one at a time in their speaking order.
3. The judge is expected to give each speaker time signals during his/her speech so that the student knows how much time (out of seven minutes) remains for their speech.
In this event, each contestant will be given 3 topic slips drawn from quotations, slogans, etc. A total of 7 minutes will be allowed for the contestant to read topic, prepare comments and speak. No outside notes are permitted except for what the student may write on the topic slip or note card during his or her preparation time.
1. Handing out topics and supervising preparation time are the responsibility of the judge. Make sure that no student sees the topics before it is their turn to prepare.
3. The judge should begin timing once speaker has received and read this or her topic. The judge is expected to give each speaker time signals out loud before they begin speaking, and then by hand during each speech so that the student knows how much time (out of seven minutes) remains for their speech.
4. Unless they are double-entered, students are expected to remain in the round and watch other speakers before and after they have finished their speech.
PLATFORM SPEAKING EVENTS
General description: Platform events are original speeches students have prepared prior to attending the tournament. Delivery may be from memory, extemporaneous (with or without notes), or by reading the manuscript. Speeches should not exceed a ten-minute time limit. There is no minimum time limit. Judges should not give time signals. Audio and visual aids may be used but are not required in any platform event. Set-up time is not included in the total time of their speech, but should be kept to a minimum.
SPEECH TO ENTERTAIN (STE):
In this event, students deliver a speech with the purpose of entertaining an audience. The speech may be persuasive or informative in nature, and should be more than merely a series of jokes or a “stand-up” routine.
INFORMATIVE / EXPOSITORY SPEAKING:
PERSUASIVE SPEAKING (PERSUASION):
This is a speech designed to inspire, reinforce or change the beliefs, attitudes, values, or actions of the audience.
This speech pays primary attention to the examination, explanation, or analysis of an artifact of a culture, co-culture, counter-culture, etc… The presentation shall contain a representation of the artifact (visual, audio, etc…). The delivery may be from memory, extemporaneously, or manuscript. The speech shall not exceed five minutes in length. The judge should not give time signals.
ORAL INTERPRETATION EVENTS
General description: Oral Interpretation involves the presentation of literature and presentation of original remarks so as to orient the audience to the meaning of literature, show its significance or link various selections together to develop a theme larger than any one piece displays. Speeches shall not exceed ten minutes in length. There is no minimum time limit.
Judges should not give time signals.
Students must seem to present the literature from the printed page selections should not appear to be recited from memory. Introductions and/or transitions are presented in an apparently extemporaneous manner. Oral Interpretation presentations may include one or more selections of literature. Students need not present works in their entirety, but may present portions or “cuttings” from works.
1. Contestants may not add or reassign scenes or lines to the performed cutting. Although an occasional line might be added especially if a character has been deleted, this practice should be discouraged.
2. Contestants may not rewrite the ending of a work.
3. Contestants may not change the point of view or gender of a character.
4. Contestants may not perform a text in a genre for which it has not been written.
DRAMATIC INTERPRETATION (DI):
A selection or selections of dramatic material (e.g. plays, screenplays, radio dramas, etc.)
A selection or selections of prose (e.g. short stories, novels, essays, etc.)
A selection or selections of poetic material (e.g. poetry, lyrics, etc.)
PROGRAM ORAL INTERPRETATION (ALSO CALLED “ORAL INTERPRETATION” or POI):
This event is a program of thematically linked selections of literary merit, chosen from two of the three recognized genres of oral interpretation (i.e. prose, drama, poetry). A contestant may use the works of one or more authors.
DRAMATIC DUO INTERPRETATION
This entails a cutting from a play involving the portrayal of two or more characters presented by two individuals. The material may be drawn from stage, screen, or radio. Focus should be off-stage and not to each other.
1. Readers theatre is a group oral interpretation event involving three or more readers. The group of oral interpreters, through vivid vocal and physical clues, causes an audience to see and hear characters expressing their attitudes toward an action so vividly that the literature becomes a living experience–both for the readers and the audience. Readers Theater should encourage the original work of the student.
2. Students should interpret the literature from the printed page. The audience should be able to perceive the presentation as interpretation from the printed page rather than recitation or memorization.
3. Several varieties of programs and procedures are recognized by PSCFA. Presentations should consist of: (1) A thematic collage of varied literary selections from one or more authors; or (2) a cutting or adaptation from a single piece of prose, poetry or drama.
4. Ensemble, dress and music may be used as suggestive incidental accouterments to the program; however, extra-literary devices should not dominate the presentation.
5. Time limit for the event is 25 minutes, which includes set-up, performance, and take-down.
6. Students may not be double-entered in Readers Theater.
1 In this event the judge decides which team better upholds or disproves the resolution given in each round.
2. Handing out the topics is the responsibility of the judge. In this event, the judge is also called the “Speaker of the House.”
3 If there is one topic for the round, the judge should read it aloud to both teams at once. If there are three topics for the round, the judge should show them first to the government team, who will strike a topic, and next to the opposition team, who will strike a topic. The remaining topic then becomes the topic for the round.
4 Students may ask for a “judging philosophy” before the round. It is customary to explain your debate background, which will then inform the speakers on how to adapt to your level of expertise.
5 Students may not be double-entered in Parliamentary Debate.
6 The judge should start timing when the topic is decided. Both teams will then have fifteen minutes to prepare before they reconvene in the round for the debate. One team may prepare in the room. The government team has priority in this choice.
7 PSCFA allows group preparation and use of the internet. However, the tournament does not guarantee internet access
8 After the fifteen minutes of preparation time, the judge should ask which student will fill each of the following roles: Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Member of Government, Member of Opposition. Judges should fill out the ballot, writing each student and team name in the appropriate position.
9 The judge is expected to give each speaker time signals during his/her speech so that the student knows how much time remains for that speech. The order of speeches, and their respective time limits, is as follows:
Prime Minister’s constructive speech: 7 minutes
Leader of Opposition’s constructive speech: 8 minutes
Member of Government’s constructive speech: 8 minutes
Member of Opposition’s constructive speech: 8 minutes
Leader of Opposition’s rebuttal: 4 minutes
Prime Minister’s rebuttal: 5 minutes
10 The judge may write comments during the debate as well as at the conclusion of the round. Keep in mind that time is of the essence!
11 Students may raise a “point of information” and ask the speaker a question or make a statement during any of the constructive speeches. Points of information are appropriate only after the first minute and before the last minute of the constructive speeches. It is customary for judges to indicate that one minute either has elapsed or remains by knocking once on the desk/table in front of them.
12 Students may raise a “point of order” and ask the judge to decide an issue related to the rules of the event. For this, the judge stops timing, and may ask each team to explain their side. The judge may accept the point, reject the point, or take the point under further consideration.
13 After the round, the judge determines which team won the debate. In preliminary rounds, the judge will assign a rank of first to the speaker she or he thinks did best, the next best will receive 2nd, etc. The judge will also assign up to 30 points to each speaker. Instances where a student receives speaker points below 15 should be extremely rare. Ties in points are permitted. However, the speaker ranked 1st should also receive the most points and so on down the rankings. Typically, the team whose speaker points are higher will win the debate. If this is not the case, a “low point win” may be awarded and should be noted on the ballot.
1 Students debate the same topic for the entire year. You will not have to give them a topic, however, you should ask the ballot table what this year’s current topic is.
3 They may ask for your judging philosophy. It is customary to explain your debate background, which will then inform the speakers on how to adapt to your level of expertise.
5 The first team to speak will be the affirmative. The second team to speak is the negative.
6 The round will consist of 8 separate speeches. The first four are called constructives and the later four rebuttals. The speaking order is as follows:
9 minute affirmative constructive
3 minute cross examination
9 minute negative constructive
3 minute cross examination
9 minute affirmative constructive
3 minute cross examination
9 minute negative constructive
3 minute cross examination
6 minute negative rebuttal
6 minute affirmative rebuttal
6 minute negative rebuttal
6 minute affirmative rebuttal
7 Each team is allowed 10 minutes of preparation time total for the entire round. The judge is required to keep track of time used by each side.
9 While you may give oral critiques if time permits, you must vacate the room in a timely manner so as to allow the next round to prepare.
Lincoln Douglas Debate:
1 This event is one on one debate, which follows the same rules as policy debate above with the exception of speaking times.
8 minute affirmative
11 minute negative
4 minute affirmative
6 minute negative
5 minute affirmative
2 Each speaker is allowed a total of 8 minutes prep time for the entire round. The judge must keep track of each sides use of time.
3 After the round, the judge determines which team won the debate. In preliminary rounds, the judge will assign a rank of first to the speaker she or he thinks did best, the next best will receive 2nd. The judge will also assign up to 30 points to each speaker. Instances where a student receives speaker points below 15 should be extremely rare. Ties in points are permitted. However, the speaker ranked 1st should also receive the most points. Typically, the team whose speaker points are higher will win the debate. If this is not the case, a “low point win” may be awarded and should be noted on the ballot.