Qualitative Assessment of Debater Development

All year this year we have been promoting the use of the Chicago Debate League Debater Development Benchmarks — from the 2011 Chicago Debate Summer Institute through the most recent Coach Training Seminars. We at the CDC have used the CDL Debater Development Benchmarks to design our seminar trajectory, write curriculum and exercises, and set agendas for site visits. We now want to begin assessing where our debaters stand in relation to these benchmarks, at the end of the 2011/12 year.

This is a pilot effort, one that is intended to teach us as much about the process of assessing debater development and the attainment of academic debate learning objectives, as it will about the status of debaters’ understanding of and competency with specific academic debating skills.

There are no consequences attached to you in relation to these assessments. They are purely for the purpose of providing the CDL administration with a reading on the level of qualitative achievement in the League, and especially with a baseline from which we can raise that level of achievement in the future. We will also pass along feedback that the assessments provide on schools’ individual debaters, to those schools’ coaches only, for their use in thinking about their own teaching and coaching emphasis, remediation, and the like.

At T6 we will have a small cadre of benchmark evaluators. These coaches and former debaters will sit in a round to observe it, flowing, observing, and taking notes. They will not disrupt or intervene in the debate round in any way, and they will function entirely separately from the judge in the round, with whom they will have no contact, during or after the round. The benchmark evaluator in a debate round will evaluate the four debaters, based on one of three assessment rubrics that the CDC has developed in alignment with the Chicago Debate League Debater Development Benchmarks, the rubric fitting each debater’s year in debate.

[Be sure to download these documents — they won’t be as clear when you click on the “preview” version of them.]

Year One CDL Debater Development Benchmarks Assessment Rubric

Year One CDL Debater Development Benchmarks Assessment Form

Year Two CDL Debater Development Benchmarks Assessment Rubric

Year Two CDL Debater Development Benchmarks Assessment Form

Year Three/Four CDL Debater Development Benchmarks Assessment Rubric

Year Three/Four CDL Debater Development Benchmarks Assessment Form

We encourage you to closely and carefully review these assessment rubrics, which we’ve made a significant investment in creating. We think that they can be highly valuable to you in your own understanding of the CDL benchmarks, of what students should be learning each year they participate in the CDL, and of what and even how you can be teaching your students competitive academic debate.

We also encourage your feedback — on the benchmarks (which we’ve solicited and received last year, and would like more of, if you have it), on the assessment rubrics, and on our evolving process of assessment.

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