Author Topic: More on the 100 (99) Point Scale  (Read 11421 times)


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More on the 100 (99) Point Scale
« on: October 25, 2009, 07:23:37 AM »
I think it is fair to say that the move to a 100 point scale was established with two goals in mind:

1)   Increasing variation in the awarding/distribution of speaker points
2)   Reducing point inflation

The first goal was certainly accomplished and it does seem to be the case that the second one was as well.

That said, there seems to be two downsides associated with the scale:

1)   Inconsistent variation
2)   Some judges assigning points that are so low and off the scale that people now (want to) strike them solely because their points are inconsistent with the scale.

Since we think that the first two goals of the system are laudable, but because we hope to avoid the problems that have been created, we are going to make considerable efforts to get people to follow the scale that has been published for the tournament --

First,  we implore people to use the tournament scale. If a team of refs doesn't have a common interpretation of a foul, there is no way to play a single game (tournament) consistently. Using your own scale to assign speaker points at a tournament is not much different than an official declaring a single touchdown to be worth 9 points.  We are not contending that our published scaled is the Holy Grail in terms of a rubric to interpret the 100 pt RKS Scale, but it is important that everyone uses the same one at this tournament, just as it is important that a team of refs in a single basketball game all have a consistent interpretation of what a foul is.

Second,  we will publish the rubric on the back of the ballot with four columns -- one for each speaker -- and ask people to circle what they are giving (e.g. 27.5=75, 28.1=81) before recording it on the front of the ballot.  Hopefully this will force identification with the old scale while allowing more differentiation.

Third, we will ask people to circle on the front of the ballot whether or not they have consciously chosen to follow the recommended rubric for the point scale. If a good number of people explicitly say they have chosen not to, that is good data in and of itself.

Fourth, we hope that people will take the assignment of points seriously. People are starting to take up to two hours to decide a debate, but they are taking 30 seconds to assign speaker points. Points are nearly as important as the decision – they determine who teams hit in the high-low, they determine speaker awards, and they will determine the fate of some teams as far as clearing goes.

Fifth, we ask people not to think of the 100 point scale as a "grade."   If we think of speaker points as a grade, a number of problems result:.

First, judges import their own grading scales and general notions of whether or not one should be a "hard" or a "soft" grader. This automatically creates inconsistency.

Second, the purpose of grading is different. Grading is meant to assess a person's mastery of content knowledge and skill.  While comparison to peers is inevitable, the main purpose of the grade is not to build a hierarchy amongst people in the class. .

Third, along these lines, grading is not zero-sum. Theoretically, everyone in a given class could get an A or a C. It makes no sense to do this in a tournament.

Fourth, adjustment in grading is possible. You could award a student A-s and B+s all semester, but at the end of the semester make the judgment call to give them an A- or a B+ (clear or not clear). You can't do that at a tournament.

We have chosen to use the 100 point scale in order to make it possible for judges to produce a greater variance in speaker points, but we want all individuals who are judging in the tournament to do so as consistently as possible. We believe that the measures outlined above will assist with that possibility and we hope that all of the judges in the tournament follow the rubric and take assignment of speaker points seriously.

I look forward to seeing everyone in less than a week



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Re: More on the 100 (99) Point Scale
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2009, 09:09:59 AM »
Thanks for a well-thought out system to try at Harvard.  Hopefully there will be other iterations of this experiment and I look forward to seeing them.  My end of the day message, though, is if you're directing a tournament please do publish the standards, expectations, etc. in advance and in places people can easily find them.

A Numbers Game

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Re: More on the 100 (99) Point Scale
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2009, 04:36:26 PM »
Because of the very clear rubric requested by Harvard, we can compare the points given this year to those given in the past. The switch to RKS this year was accompanied by more point inflation than usual, but the points given at Harvard are still substantially lower than those given at Kentucky, which also switched to RKS this year:


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Re: More on the 100 (99) Point Scale
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2009, 03:57:28 PM »
yea, i have thought about this more.

what is the point?

the harvard scale is just the old scale except now there aren't scores below 70 (27) which i believe accounts for a fair amount of the increase in scores.

further, as i noted in another forum, the scale just looks like a grading scale and so it encourages higher scores.

AND the harvard scale is just the old scale.

i'm using 24-30 as i always have at the wnpt with .1 increments.
jim hanson :)
seattle u debate forensics speech rhetoric


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Re: More on the 100 (99) Point Scale
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2009, 04:18:59 AM »
Agree on the grading analogy.

I personally favor 10 point decimal over 30 point decimal, because it's a more dramatic reset.

I think we agree that both systems seem superior to 100 point integer and 30 point halves.