Useful information for adjudicator

Adjudicator Guide

1. Please read the technical guide for information on how to join the zoom rooms. Observing the requirements is an expectation of employment and is essential in ensuring a safe environment for the children involved in the tournament.

2. When joining zoom rooms, please ensure that you have a quiet professional room environment and are dressed professionally.

3. You will be acting as a chairperson and timekeeper for the round in addition to an adjudicator. Please prepare a visual aid in addition to clapping to mark the bells for the speakers. E.g. Holding up a piece of paper in addition to a bell.

a. Primary – 1 bell at 2 minutes, 2 bells at 4 minutes, 3 bells continuous at 4 minutes 30 seconds.
b. Junior – 1 bell at 3 minutes, 2 bells at 5 minutes, 3 bells continuous at 5 minutes 30 seconds.
c. Senior – 1 bell at 4 minutes, 2 bells at 6

4. Your role as an adjudicator:
a. Decide who won the debate and why
b. Convey this to the teams clearly
c. Provide constructive feedback

5. When you enter the breakout room:
a. Call the room to order when preparation time has expired.
b. Make note of the speaker’s names and ask for clarification if a speaker does not have their name formatted correctly.
c. Invite the first affirmative speaker to commence the debate.

6. When the speakers have finished:
a. Mute everyone in the room.
b. Thank the speakers and announce that you are going to deliberate on your decision and turn your camera off.
c. Return when you have finished your deliberation, turn your camera on and deliver your oral adjudication and provide feedback.
d. If you are judging another debate in a different division, be mindful of the time. The upcoming round takes priority over delivering personal feedback.
e. Fill out your ballot on Tabbycat and then fill out your ballot again on the Google Form.
i. You will be emailed a unique URL from Tabbycat with the ballot for each round.
ii. The link to the google form is:


1. Speaker scores
a. Speakers will receive a score between 70 – 80.
b. The average for the tournament is 75. A speech scoring 75 in the primary division at this tournament will differ from a speech scoring 75 in the senior division, which may differ again from a speech scoring 75 at university debating competition.
c. It is incredibly rare for a speaker to receive a 70 as this is equivalent to a non-attempt or an anti-persuasive speech. It is also rare for a speaker to receive an 80 as this is a perfect and exceptional speech.

d. Speaker scores are based on persuasiveness (this is a holistic view of manner, matter and method which are not judged as separate categories).
i. Speakers cannot be penalised for their accent or slight expression difficulties.
ii. Persuasiveness is not a fixed concept. E.g. A persuasive speech can be loud and forceful, or it could be soft and thoughtful.
e. Speakers on the same team or in the same debate can get vastly different speaker scores.
f. Adjudicators should be mindful of the margin that the debate is given by as the margin should reflect how close the debate was. (The margin is the difference in total speaker scores between the two teams.)
i. 1-2 points – The debate was close
ii. 3-4 points – The debate was close but clear
iii. 5-7 points – The debate was clear
iv. 8 – 10 points – The debate was very clear
v. More than 12 points – The debate was exceptionally clear, please double check the necessity of giving a debate by this margin
g. Speaker scores are to be determined after the adjudicator has decided the winner, not before. If necessary, speaker scores should be amended to reflect the winners, not the other way around.
h. The team with the highest total number of speaker points wins the debate. There are no low point wins (where the team with a lower total of speaker points wins the debate).
i. Speakers will not find out their speaker score after the rounds. Please do not disclose the scores.


2. Judging guidelines

a. The motions at this tournament are policy motions (e.g. That we should). This requires teams to prove that the policy is morally correct and that it has more benefits than harms.
b. Affirmative teams have fiat, i.e. they can assume that the policy can happen. Negative teams are not able to argue that the policy would never be passed in parliament.
c. Negative teams can challenge the efficacy of the policy, i.e. In the debate: That we should ban cigarettes, the negative team can dispute whether people would listen to the ban.
d. Definitional challenges should be avoided and should only happen if the affirmative’s definition is unreasonable.
i. E.g. That we should legalise marijuana → If the affirmative only legalised medical marijuana, this would be grounds for a definitional challenge.
e. Debates are adjudicated from the position of an average reasonable global citizen. This is an international tournament and topics are to be adjudicated from an international perspective.
f. Please avoid entering the debate. In feedback you can suggest alternate arguments that could have been made, but debates should not be decided based on arguments that were not said.
g. There are no automatic wins or automatic losses.
h. Debates are decided based upon persuasiveness (this is a holistic view of manner, matter and method which are not judged as separate categories). Examine whether:
i. Arguments were logically substantiated
ii. Whether teams were responsive to the arguments raised by the other team
iii. Were arguments impacted through effective delivery and emotive language
iv. Did teams prioritise arguments strategically?
i. Be mindful of biases on the basis of accent, school, gender or other distinguishing factors. IDC is an inclusive tournament that welcomes all students.