View Full Version : An amendment to create a judge training session
12-01-02, 04:50 PM
Amendment to Bylaw XII: Tournament Operating Procedures
Proposed addition: It is the responsibility of the tournament director to establish a time and location for judge training during the administration of the national tournament. The tournament director will select one or more representatives to conduct training sessions regarding tournament rules. Participating judges must attend the training session to judge at the tournament. If a judge has previously participated in a training session at the national tournament, the judge may receive a waiver for future training sessions, with the exception of a training seminar for any rules changes from the previous training session. Schools are responsible for hiring judges to replace any of the judges failing to attend the training session.
Justification: This procedure will familiarize judges with the rules for the national tournament and permit questions and exploration of the scope of established rules.
12-01-02, 05:00 PM
I would like to see this one passed. However, I have a few concerns about how it would work in practice:
1) How would this be enforced? The language requires enforcement, but we have learned at NPTE that having something in the rules is sometimes quite far from being able to make people do it. When 1/2 of the judges failed to attend training, could we really find any practical way to force them to hire new judges? Realistically, NPDA is not likely to actually kick teams from the tournament after they have arrived.
2) Who runs the training session and who interprets the rules? This is a potentially touchy but very significant concern. NPDA rules are, unfortunately, quite vague in some areas (for example, the standards and sanction for "specific knowledge"). Whomever controls interpretation and the training environment could exercise substantial influence over what kind of interpretations were preferred by judges. This could result in a great deal of controversy after the fact.
All that being said, "comparative advantage" would apply. This amendment appears to be a good faith attempt to redress some of the "horror stories" about judges that have cropped up throughout NPDA over the years.
12-01-02, 06:06 PM
Basically the issues Jason raises are the ones raised at the NCA Business Meeting. And, so the proposal was tabled so that these details could be worked out.
Personally, I like the idea of having all judges sign a copy of the rules--beyond that, anyone doing judge training at the National Championship necessarily trains folks in opinion rather than strictly the rules as the organization has adopted them.
As a side note, we are planning to do this judges-sign-the-rules-as-part-of-the-entry thing this year. Also, we will probably take a couple of minutes at the end of the banquet to remind students and coaches of the rules.
12-01-02, 06:47 PM
It might not be a bad idea... perhaps we could set up some sort of quiz judges could take about the rules...it could even be internet based and anonymous so that we could at least have a handle on the top 10 mis-understood rules (and psuedo-rules) in NPDA.
12-01-02, 06:54 PM
That could at least be really fun. Hmmm. I will have to do some thinking about this.
12-01-02, 07:08 PM
Judges signing the rules doesn't mean they understand them or even read them. They might just sign blindly.
I wish there was some structured way, at both NPDA Nats and at invitational tournaments, to correct judges that are grossly ignorant of the rules. Unfortunately, if debaters or even coaches try to do this, they risk backlash and retribution from the judges they are trying to educate. And few tournament administrators have the time or inclination to function as intermediaries....
It just gets frustrating when I am looking at -- already this year -- 3 ballots from judges who are claiming that new arguments in the MOC are "not allowed". I know some of those judges will turn up at Nats and there seems to be no available way to educate them about the rules short of a (tabled indefinitely) judge training session.
The "quiz" is an interesting idea but I think participation would be low even if the tournament tried to make it mandatory. More importantly, the judges most likely to need the education are probably the least likely to participate. I remember one judge that couldn't even find the registration table at a recent nationals....
Eagle of Meaux
12-02-02, 12:37 AM
I'm there 100% in spirit, obviously pragmatics have to be worked out but I think the idea is an excellent one. The online quiz is a good idea, but, as Jason points out, it would be difficult to have the most problematic judges take it. Perhaps it might be a better idea to start doing this at local tournaments? That would allow it to fairly naturally work its way to NPDA in a few years. Jason, what are your thoughts on a similar set up at NPTE? My experience with judges there has always been very positive, but it can't hurt and doing it at that kind of a tournament might make people much more willing to accept it elsewhere.
12-02-02, 08:13 AM
NPTE has judge qualifications that function, in effect, to ensure that only experienced and knowledgable judges participate. Further, now that NPTE has its own "model" set of rules for debating and judging, we will be distributing a copy of these rules to every judge (and probably every competitor) at registration.
Additionally, we will highlight the fact that the rules themselves may be possessed, referenced, and even quoted from in a round if there is any need. Notably, NPDA also has this exception to the "no evidence" requirement that debaters can use if they seriously want to deal with judges that don't know the rules. I'm personally thinking about having my debaters try this at future local invitationals to deal with some of the wierder judges comments we are seeing (like "new arguments in MO aren't allowed").
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