Sample Judging Criteria

These are adjudication Criteria as posted on the Leeds University web page. They are very Rigid and do not allow for much discretion on the part of Adjudicators. However while this may resented by experienced adjudicators it is probalbly better to give inxeperienced adjudicators as much guidance as possible and these rules certainly do that.

The categories for judging shall be: Total - 50 marks

0-2 marks Weak or irrelevant argument, poorly structured. Inconsistent with previous speakers' definition or an unreasonable attempt to define or redefine the motion. Fails to adequately explore the subject.

3-5 marks Below average argument. Perhaps coherent but clumsy; mainly consistent but stale and lacking in imagination or originality. Has little evidence to support case.

6-7 marks Sound argument. Relevant, reasonable and consistent with a defined structure and coherent points. Introduces some evidence to support argument but fails to reach beyond stereotype formula debate for the topic.

8-9 marks High quality argument, imaginative and coherent. Good points backed up by examples or evidence. Deals fully with the subject and is challenging forthe other side to respond to.

10 marks A rare occurence. A debate winning argument which the other side cannot respond to. Original, well structured and convincing. Only to be awarded to a very high quality debater.

0-2 marks Hesitant, floundering; has little idea of what to say; inarticulate, incoheent and obviously lacking in any confidence. Would struggle to make him/herself heard in a larger venue.

3-6 marks Varying degrees of weak to average delivery. Does the speaker appear confident?; can he or she be easily bullied by the other debaters?; does the speaker often lose his/her place? especially when interrupted; can he/she fend off opponents who are trying to make a point?; does the speaker speak clearly and do they have a good standard of grammar?; do they speak too quickly, too slowly, too loud or too quiet?; do they speak to their audience or to the ceiling?; are they reading or using their notes too much?

7-9 marks This is a good quality performance in which the speaker only uses brief notes occasionally, only uses wild hand actions where appropriate and has a confident air which is rarely put off by the acrobatics of other competitors. The speaker speaks clearly and makes eye contact with the panel and the competitors and does not appear to be rushing or dragging out their speech. A speaker who loses his/her way once but manages to recover effectively can still achieve as high a score as seven or eight.

10 marks Again a rare mark to give; to achieve a perfect ten, the speaker must have no notes, must speak confidently at the perfect tempo and must be able to deal with heckling and requests to give way effectively. He/She must never lose his/her place and appear to have the entire debate under his/her control.

Points Offered
0-1 marks Offers few points or only stands up when someone else is already standing. Anyone who attempts to offer a point for their own side should receive no higher than one mark.

2-3 marks Offers points throughout the debate but not good points; or offers one or two good points but appears not to participate for much of the debate. Sadly, anyone who offers points but is not accepted even once cannot receive higher than two marks. If the judges feel they deserve it, they can be compensated in the overall impression section.

4-5 marks Offers salient and effective points where accepted and remains interested and involved throughout the debate.

Points Received
0-1 marks Refuses to take any points or seems unable to either answer points or regain thread of the speech.

2-3 marks Attempts to answer points but finds it difficult to answer them. Perhaps takes too many points or too few. Does not always regain flow of the speech.

4-5 marks Confident and effective dealing with points; either answers the point succesfully or succesfully dismisses it without losing any fluency. Does not take too many points and does not refuse to take them.

0-1 marks Fails to maintain consistency of argument within team. Shows little awareness that he/she is part of a two man team. Fails to introduce or develop any of the team-mate's arguments.

2-3 marks Mentions team partner and introduces or refers to forthcoming/previous arguments but appears to do so in a rigid and stunted way which hampers the fluency of the speech.

4-5 marks Good quality teamwork which shows clear evidence of team preparation with each member aware of the topics he/she is to cover to avoid excessive repetition of the partner's arguments. References to partner's arguments appear natural and unscripted.

Time Keeping
All speakers in the opening rounds will have five minutes to speak. Speaking too long or too short will cost them marks roughly as follows:

5 minutes exactly - gains 5 marks
up to 15 seconds out - gains 4 marks
between 15 seconds and 45 seconds out - gains 3 marks
between 45 seconds and 1 minute early or late - gains 2 marks
between 1 minute and 1 minute 30 seconds early or late - gains 1 mark
over 1 minute 30 seconds early or late - gains no marks.

Overall Impression
This is a fairly subjective section which allows for the judges' discretion. It basically represents a rough average of the other marks but judges can increase or decrease marks taking into account: