Thanks so much for judging.  

The Format of a Round

There are two teams in a round, the AFFIRMATIVE and the NEGATIVE. There are 2 speakers per side, the 1st Affirmative Speaker, the

2nd Affirmative Speaker, the 1st Negative Speaker, and the 2nd Negative Speaker, respectively.

Rounds will proceed in the following manner:

1st Affirmative Speech – 5 minutes

(cross-examination by negative team – 2 minutes)

1st Negative Speech – 5 minutes

(cross-examination by affirmative team – 2 minutes)

2nd Affirmative Speech – 5 minutes

(cross-examination by negative team – 2 minutes)

2nd Negative Speech – 5 minutes

(cross-examination by affirmative team – 2 minutes)


1st Negative REBUTTAL – 3 minutes

1st Affirmative REBUTTAL – 3 minutes

2nd Negative REBUTTAL – 3 minutes

2nd Affirmative REBUTTAL – 3 minutes

Preparation Time: Each team has 5 minutes of time for the entire round to divide up and allocate for the preparation of an upcoming speech. Strategic teams will also continue to prepare during their opposition’s preparation time.


During the Round: The judge should listen to the debate with an open mind, taking note of when debaters make particularly strong points, support points well with reasoning or evidence, and respond (or fail to do so) to the other team’s arguments.

After the Round: The judge should decide which side made the best points, supported their points best, and responded to the other side best. This team should be the winner.

Please circle this team on the ballot. If you wish to write comments on the basis for your decision you are encouraged to do so. While style and delivery are a part of the

evaluation, they are primarily important regarding the ability of the debaters to convey the content of their speeches effectively.

Criteria for Evaluating Speakers

Debaters should be evaluated on their ability to -

• Comprehend and explain content

• Respond to the other side

• Style (this counts less than the others as it is more subjective)

Winning a Debate

A debate is won because one side illustrates that it has the most compelling reasons to vote for in the round. This can be because the other side did not respond adequately to these compelling points, because the winning team proves its issues of discussion are more important in a direct comparison, or because their was better proof offered for one side’s points versus another. [Debaters sometimes think in terms of “claims” – the argument, opinion, or statement; and “warrants” – the accompanying statistics, proof, evidence, or logical analysis.]


Students may quote directly from the documents in the common resource list that were provided to all competitors. Students may paraphrase all other sources, but must explain the context and relevance of any idea from an outside source from the list. Students may have notes and copies of the approved resources in the round, and may read from them. Common dictionary definitions are allowed, as are references to popular culture.

Cross Examination

Speakers should try to answer the questions asked of them after their own speeches to demonstrate their knowledge and speaking ability, although one CAN be helped by one’s partner. Either person may ASK the questions in cross-examination on a team, as there are multiple questioning strategies.


Debaters may provide additional reasoning for a point in rebuttals, but they should avoid completely new arguments in favor of comparing their points to their opponents. Please keep in mind that a new point by the 2nd Affirmative Rebuttal could NEVER be answered by the Negative, so it would be unfair to consider in the debate.


Students are allowed to take notes and read evidence from the computer. They may share notes and ideas with their partners. However; the use of the computer should not distract from the actual presentation of the debate (either in volume of typing or in sharing with a partner.)