Author Topic: Proposed Rule Change - Novice Curriculum Evidence Set  (Read 3492 times)


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Proposed Rule Change - Novice Curriculum Evidence Set
« on: April 15, 2016, 11:07:06 AM »
Hey everyone I have a proposed ADA rule change attached, rationale below

Novice Curriculum Proposal Rationale
the 1AC
 The ADA should adopt a Novice Curriculum Proposal to restrict debates in the Novice division to a limited evidence set primarily for the Fall semester (tournaments expected to be affected GSU, Kentucky, UMW, Vanderbilt, Liberty, ADA Fall Championship), but with the option for Spring Semester ones as well.
Attendance numbers are down: Novice Numbers fluctuate a lot over the years, but things do not appear good. GSU, UMW/JMU (same dates), Liberty were all down numbers compared to the past two years. Vanderbilt was only 6 teams down from 19 in 2013 (they don’t appear to have hosted 2014 - can’t find it in tabroom). (I don’t remember what we called the Wake side tournament in tabroom in previous years, so not showing) Navy was down to 14 teams from 26 and 27 the previous two years. ADA Nats seems to be holding up fine, but not a good trend overall.
Programs are declining:, we lost George Washington last year, John Carroll a few years ago, etc. Numbers are down across the board - NDT subscriber schools declined from 115 in 2009 when we last discussed this to 93 this year.
Many novices report intense frustration with the sheer range of arguments they are expected to respond against - particularly non topical affs and process cps.
Coaches/Judges report decline in the quality of novice debate.
Further, Camp evidence relevant to novices is declining with the loss of the WDI and a significant portion of ADI evidence being directed at high theory/identity debate where we don’t want to start with for novices; this makes it much harder to get started in the fall -- particularly for small programs and new programs.
When we did outreach in 2009 the number of arguments expected to be researched to even start as a novice was felt by people who had expressed interest to be a huge barrier to entry for new programs.
This proposal assumes that evidence set is the best solution. Specifically, I the proposed rule creates a Novice Curriculum Committee and empowers that Committee to create/maintain an evidence set, charges the Committee to make the evidence set available to all ADA members, any school who attends an ADA tournament, and anyone else they feel it would be beneficial (quite frankly can be public - can’t imagine trying to exclude anyone from it).
Each ADA member school will be expected to contribute at least one file to the Novice Evidence set. The Committee to coordinate assignments among the member schools. Committee to be in charge of the exact evidence collected in any year, but general guidelines to be 2-3 Topical Affirmatives, corresponding Case Negatives, a Topicality file with at least some pre-written violations specific to the affirmatives, at least one topic relevant critique, 1-2 counterplans, 2-3 disadvantages (and answers to the same K, CP, DAs). Committee to be in charge of determining the schedule for any phase in of arguments. Additionally Novices may cut evidence during the season that can be added to the set - coordination to be handled by the Curriculum Committee. It is expected that Novice cut evidence to be run in restricted divisions will be limited to updates/extensions of arguments in the set, and not new positions. New arguments to be disclosed to the committee for inclusion in the set at a time to be determined by the committee (likely 24 hours before tournament start).
A more Gradual start up for Novices will have many benefits.
More Novices for longer; in particular this should make it easier for both new schools and schools with small/non-existent Novice programs to get some teams out early in the fall. No need to teach them to cut cards, and greatly reduced need to teach them to answer a large range of arguments. If you can get your novices to attend debate prep weekends early that's fantastic for you, but many schools can’t and that takes away your competition. The hope is that with this proposal a team of two students who walk up to a debate booth during September orientation and be attending tournaments right away.
Earlier Novice participation and not being hit with a brick of frustration from having to learn every disad, CP, high theory, and K to start with should lead to greater Novice retention. Once novices get a couple of tournaments under their belts and get to like debate they are less likely to be shocked, overwhelmed and leave when introduced to the full spectrum.
Broader relevance to new programs. High School debate is fantastic, but many of the top HS debaters are already funneled into existing Debate schools therefore expecting early success in Varsity is unlikely and it's likewise unlikely a new program will have a number of experienced debaters to cut cards for it. A simpler start up point would be more attractive to programs that want to experiment with policy debate but don’t have and can’t get the infrastructure (coaches and card cutters) necessary in the squo.
Better novice debates. Learning the fundamentals is important. In other learning activities you start with the basics and then move on to more advanced moves. In fact many schools in the 2009 discussion reported that they do try this with their novices. Nonetheless in the squo even if most novice teams are focused on the basics it's certainly expected that a number won’t. And that means time needs to be spent getting novices who are still trying to master disads ready to at least have something to say about an aff disidentifying with the topic or a process CP competing on complicated aspects of fiat theory and the politics disad.
Finally, want to stress that doing better by Novice debate is really important. While debate at all levels is beneficial the pedagogical goals are supercharged in Novice where the debaters have no prior training. It is the area of debate where we are best able to grow the activity to reach as many people as possible.

2AC blocks
A2 - Do More to Share evidence, but no restricted evidence CP
Doesn’t solve any of the harms, except maybe 5. Lack of evidence simply isn’t a major problem in the paperless era. There is an abundance of open source evidence available through the wiki - if anything paperless means there is too much evidence available. While better organization and an early start may be of some help, especially to new programs, it does nothing to help with the main problem a more gradual start up for Novices.
Doesn’t solve the problem of advanced and weird stuff being tossed on too fast. Process CPs and Ks that neither novice team in the debate understands, but that the one team will just have been extensively blocked out on - so they can just read and win without understanding..

A2 - Voluntary participation but no rule
Need to level the playing field, especially if trying to attract new programs, if there isn’t a restriction then we will quickly (immediately really) be back to the status quo - with the urge for competitive success driving teams to read arguments from outside that set.
Norms are going to be violated by people who don’t agree with the project and people who do agree with the project will follow suit so not to lose. Given paperless the novices all potentially have access to any argument immediately so the barriers to defecting are low and there needs to be a substantial check.
Even worse for new programs because it will feel like a bait and switch.
Empirically norms did break down. 17 years ago when I was a novice we pretty much did have restricted norms. I was in Law School when it seemed to have changed so I can’t articulate exactly when/how they did break down. But it is clear they did; when I came back in 2007, I remember our novice team losing to a delay counterplan semis of the season opener (I think it was still Kings, but could have been Clarion). This year there were teams running affs actively disidentifying with the resolution at least as early as October. Absent some strong explanation for how we rebuild durable norms there is no good reason to expect much from them.
A2 - It will be harder to coach my novices than if whole squad were running the same arguments
Concede the tradeoff exists, but given that you have a much more limited set of arguments you have answer the effort tradeoff should still be in favor of the proposal.
If extremely pressed it is certainly possible that Varsity and JV could run a version of the evidence set aff.

A2 - The Evidence set will exclude my arguments and therefore me
It is certainly not the intention of this proposal to take a side in the debate culture wars. Nonetheless, yes, at some level certain arguments won’t be in the set and they will be excluded. Notably this proposal is for 1 division not all of debate.
Further, it is certainly the intent of this proposal to have a diverse set of arguments Ks, CPs, and DAs - and not limit to one ideological perspective.