Thursday, October 21, 2010

Speaker points

This week the Harpo, Groucho, Chico and Zeppo discuss speaker points in all their glory. The problem is, of course, that there are no objective criteria. We also raked MJP over the metaphoric coals in light of Big Bronx. The episode is here.

And this is the Bietz speaker point scale that I found a little stingy:

This scale is what a judge should use based on the ROUND itself, not the person's potential or reputation.

30= Perfect. Judges should think REALLY hard before giving a thirty.

29= Nearly perfect - Debated well enough in the round to win every tournament they attend. No mistakes.

27-28= Very good. Debated well enough to break and make it to deep outrounds. Could have beat 90% of the pool.

26= Good. Should end up with a winning record.

25= Average. Should be somewhere between 2-4 or 3-3.

24= Not good. Made a lot of mistakes. Spoke poorly.

23= Awful. Shouldn't win more than 1 round based on what you saw here.

22 and lower = offended you.


  1. I'm glad to know that I am not the only podcast Nazi when it comes to typing while using Skype.

    If the speaker point scale only has about 10 acceptable numbers, why not just use a scale from 1-10?

    If you want to sift the ratings more finely, then why not use a 100 point ballot?

    Either way, I think both 10 and 100 point scales are more familiar.

  2. Here is how I do speaker points from my paradigm. The theory is to build in criteria that relate the debater to the rest of the field as that is the primary utility of speaker points.

    Speaker Points
    I use speaker points to evaluate your performance in relation to the rest of the field in a given round. At tournaments which have a more difficult pool of debaters, the same performance which may be above average on most weekends may well be average at that tournament. I am strongly disinclined to give debaters a score that they specifically ask for in the debate round, because I utilize points to evaluate debaters in relation to the rest of the field who do not have a voice in the round. My range is approximately as follows:

    30: Your performance in the round is likely to beat any debater in the field.

    29: Your performance is substantially better than average - likely to beat most debaters in the field and competitive with students in the top tier.

    28: Your performance is above average - likely to beat the majority of debaters in the field but unlikely to beat debaters in the top tier.

    27: Your performance is approximately average - you are likely to have an equal number of wins and losses at the end of the tournament.

    26: Your performance is below average - you are likely to beat the bottom 25% of competitors but unlikely to beat the average debater.

    25: Your performance is substantially below average - you are competitive among the bottom 25% but likely to lose to other competitors

    Below 25: I tend to reserve scores below 25 for penalizing debaters as explained below.

    Rude or Unethical Actions
    I will severely penalize debaters who are rude, offensive, or otherwise disrespectful during a round. I will severely penalize debaters who distort, miscut, misrepresent, or otherwise utilize evidence unethically.