The 2012/13 CDL Tournament Reporting Notebook following Tournament One has three sheets.
The first sheet — Participation Standard — reports on attainment of the UDL Participation Standard — 8 debaters per school per tournament, 4 debaters per school per tournament for first-year schools. Y means the standard was met, N means it was not met, NS means that the school “no showed,” and NA means that the school is not yet activated so the standard doesn’t yet apply.
Attainment of the Participation Standard is the single most important performance metric in the Chicago Debate League. Attainment means your debate program is healthy, that it’s thriving educationally by engaging with a number of students that justifies the investment in financial and human resources that is being made. Attaining the Participation at 80% or more tournaments during the year should be every school’s objective here.
The second sheet — Participation Numbers — ranks schools based on tournament participation throughout the season. The “tournament debaters” numbers include Tournament One, along with additional CDL events (this weekend’s Allstate Invitational, the CDC scholarships to summer debate institute), and non-CDL events (National Circuit tournaments). Each school can see where it ranks in relation to all other schools on this crucial metric — how many students are attending our rigorous debate tournaments.
The third sheet — Participation Changes (S, for Schools) — ranks schools based on the change in schools’ tournament participation when comparing this year’s tournament participation to last year’s. So
The dedicated Tournament Reporting Notebook page of the CDL website will be the place to look for the current TRN. It also includes the top teams in Participation Numbers and Participation Changes so far this season, after T1, and will do so all season long.
Important Note About Budget Reductions and Debate Participation Reporting
Though the Chicago Debate Commission budget will be about the same size this year as last, the Chicago Public Schools CDL budget was reduced by 25% this year (SY2013 compared to SY2012) because of significant budget cuts within the CPS Academic Competitions Department. As a result, the Chicago Debate Summer Institute, debate materials cost coverage, and 9 schools were all cut from the Chicago Debate League this year.
These cuts are affecting our overall participation numbers this year. After T1, the CDL has had 11% fewer tournament debaters this year than after T1 in 2011/12. And we’ve had 67% fewer debaters so far in additional CDL events combined with non-CDC tournaments. These numbers are available at the bottom of the Tournament Numbers sheet (the second sheet) on the Tournament Reporting Notebook. By far the biggest source of the decline in additional CDL events numbers this year was not having a CDSI — we counted 103 tournament debaters at the two-day CDSI tournament last year. And not having the CDSI has of course an impact on many individual schools’ participation change numbers — those schools who sent debaters to the CDSI in 2011 will have to try to make up for that lost participation this year by attending tournaments additional to their regular six-tournament CDL calendar.
The important point is that even in the face of budget cuts at CPS, the Chicago Debate League — all of us working together — will continue to provide the immense, research-proven benefits of academic debate to as many public students in Chicago as possible. We should as a league be trying to reduce the loss in student participation — and therefore student learning — this year to zero, or as close to zero as possible. If we do that, we’ll be pulling something off as professionals that will be noteworthy and pretty remarkable.