Judge Resource Updates for 2023-2024

We’re introducing all-new parent and community judge training resources for the 2023-2024 season, and we hope the changes will give experienced parents and judges fresh inspiration and help new ones feel more prepared to evaluate competition rounds with confidence. 

Why are we making changes?

We’re making changes for two main reasons. The first is that in multiple feedback venues, both judges and competitors have repeatedly asked for improved judge training resources, especially for debate. The second and more fundamental reason is that the change fits with the “equipping” aspect of our mission. Better resources do a better job of equipping judges to evaluate and communicate about what they observe in competition rounds.

What are the Changes? 

In the broadest sense, the changes we’ve made are designed to provide more information on how to evaluate competition rounds well, and decrease the burden on our volunteer Community Judges for knowing and understanding NCFCA rules and protocols.

For speech, the new training video seeks to help judges better understand the goals for different categories and help them select events best suited to their interests. Additional resources will also devote more attention to helping judges understand and apply ballot criteria. Separate, short videos will help with demonstrations of the more mechanical tasks like filling out and submitting a ballot. 

For debate, we now have separate recommended videos and guides for Team Policy and Lincoln-Douglas Value debate. Each resource discusses distinctive elements of the relevant style and offers information on how to evaluate the quality of competitor cases and arguments for that style. Both videos have a segment of common content in which we’ve tried to heighten awareness regarding biases and other factors that judges should set aside when making win-loss decisions. We will also offer separate videos to help judges with topics like how to accurately award speaker points and how to flow a round. 

Especially for parents, we’ve introduced an orientation video to equip parents for their necessary role in helping to ensure that we lovingly hold one another accountable for guarding the elements of our mission and fostering an environment of Constructive Community. We’re asking parents to take responsibility for being ready to serve in a way that removes the burden of understanding rules and protocols from our volunteer judges. 

In terms of presenting the resources, we’re trying to deliver information in manageable segments, to those who need it, when they need it. We recognize that new judges will need to use more resources than experienced judges, and we’re trying to make the equipping path easier to navigate in a customized way. 

What if I have questions or concerns?

After reviewing the new resources, we encourage those with any questions or concerns to contact the appropriate committee.

For questions about speech judge resources, please email [email protected].

For questions about debate resources, please email [email protected]

For questions about parent resources, please email our Director of Forensics, [email protected].