By John Scoggin

While tabbing the Loyola tournament this weekend I noticed two interesting trends.

1. Speaker Points

Over the years, tournaments have switched from allowing only whole points to also allowing half points, (28.5, 29.5, etc.) to allowing any decimal (.0-.9). Many have complained that it seems silly to use a 30-point scale when we only really assign points at the upper end of it. Interestingly, the shift from whole points, to half points, to decimal points has functionally led to using a whole number 0-30 scale, but the scale starts at 27 and ends at 30. At Loyola, of the 382 times speaker points were awarded, 362 of them were between 27 and 30. Using the decimal points that means that 95% of all speaker points awarded were essentially awarded using a 0-30 speaker point scale. To see this more concretely, take a look at this chart of all the speaker points given out at Loyola:


What do you think of the speaker point frequencies? Are we finding consensus or are speaker points increasing or decreasing over the years? Are there ways to modify the speaker point scale that would be better?

2. Side Bias

We also took a look at the side bias at the tournament. Side bias in the prelims was not statistically significant at the 95% confidence level (t=.14). Affs won 50.52% of their debates. On the other hand, side bias in elims was prevalent. Affs won only 29.02% (t=-3.0) of their debates, while taking 36.46% (t=-2.29) of ballots over all. It’s a pretty astounding difference. A variety of factors such as the September/October topic might be at play – what do you think?