Artem Raskin

2015 TOC Student Survey

Artem Raskin

Although this season has seen a lively debate on the direction of high school parliamentary debate, there has been very little hard data about student opinion. To fill this gap, POI has surveyed parli debaters during our annual General Assembly. Of the 60 debaters who qualified to the TOC, 46 attended the General Assembly and filled out the survey.

The survey does not claim to be scientific, since the sample was neither large nor random, and since the regional composition of the General Assembly differed substantially from the regional composition of most tournaments. Nonetheless, several results do stand out, in particular, the strong support for the introduction of topic areas into some (but not all) prelim rounds - a practice not widespread outside of POI-run tournaments.

Full results follow.

The following should be allowed during prep time:
Team prep: 38%
Coach prep: 20%
Internet: 85%
Computers: 96%
Debaters' own paper: 82%

Resolutions at the following tournaments were "mostly good"
UOP: 88%
NPDI: 93%
SCU1: 80%
Logan: 19%
Stanford: 27%
SCU2: 52%
TOC resolutions:
Rd 1: 83%
(The United States federal government should immediately establish a program to create a permanent human colony on Mars by 2040.)
Rd 2: 63%
(South Africa should prohibit any non-governmental legal person from owning more than 12,000 domestic hectares of agricultural land and should purchase and redistribute the excess land.)
Rd 3: 53%
(The Bank of Japan should end its quantitative easing program.)
Rd 4: 68%
(Ukraine should end all offensive military operations against the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic.)
Rd 5a: 90%
(The United States federal government should ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants and should phase out all existing coal-fired power plants by 2025.)
Rd 5b: 57%
(The European Union should mandate women comprise at least 40 percent of each corporate supervisory board.)
Rd 5c: 58%
(High school tournaments that offer parliamentary debate should generally allow parliamentary debaters to consult in preparation time with anyone except their judges and the resolution writers.)

Ideal number of prelims with topic areas at a tournament with 5 prelims:
0: 16%
1: 2%
2: 40%
3: 19%
4: 0%
5: 21%

Parli debaters should disclose strategies prepared before the tournament: 30%

Tournaments should encourage debaters to dress formally: 47%

The following percentage of topics should be phrased as:
Policy: 72% (mean), 80% (median)
Fact: 10% (mean), 10% (median)
Value: 13% (mean), 9% (median)
Metaphor: 5% (mean), 0% (median)