Resources for Volunteer Judges

Section 1: Judge at Our Next Event

Whether you have lots of debate experience or none at all, we would love to have your support at the next event, which will be held at Webster University on February 9th-10th! The judges’ lounge and check-in will be in East Academic Building (room is TBD). Please register as a judge by contacting our Program Director at or signing up on this form.

Section 2: Quick References for SLUDL Judges

What will you be judging? Students are assigned to support and/or counter the national policy debate topic. That means, students will alternate between supporting the topic and arguing against the topic in alternating debate rounds. This year (AY17/18), they will be tasked with defending and attacking the topic:

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States.

10-Minute Guide to Judging for New Judges
This 10-minute video from the National Association of Urban Debate League introduces judges to the basics of judging policy debate.

New Judges Handout AY1718
This is an introductory, 1-page handout for volunteers new to judging policy debate.

Intro to Policy Debate **Highly Recommended**
This 8.30 minute video introduces new judges to the Policy Debate format. There is a longer version of the presentation in Section 3B.

Sample SLUDL Ballot 
A sample policy debate ballot. This is the style of ballot used by the St. Louis Urban Debate League. It approximates what a completed ballot should look like. Other circuits use different styles and have different expectations for things like speaker points, however, all are similar.

 Section 3: For Those Seeking More Information on Judging

A) General Judging Materials

What to Do Before, During, & After the Debate Round **Mitigating Stress**
This 43 minute video walks you through process of judging.  The first 30 minutes focuses on your arrival at the venue, what should happen during the debate from your perspective as a judge, and what you should do when the round is over. The last 13 minutes highlights some things that can go wrong and how you can deal with them.  While the video is specific to policy debate within SLUDL, most of the information is applicable to any event at any speech and debate competition.

Principles of Judging Debate **Highly Recommended**
This 17 minute video explores the 5 main principles of judging competitive debate. The first four are applicable to judging any competitive speech & debate event at the middle & high school levels.  The last principle is specific to judging debate events.

B) Materials for Judging Policy Debate

Intro to Policy Debate
This 30 minute video is an extended version of the video that serves as an introduction to Policy Debate. It is aimed at relatively new judges. In addition to describing the event, it introduces judges to the foundations of an affirmative case and the types of offensive arguments a negative team might make.

A Guide to Judging Policy Debate for the St. Louis Urban Debate League

Common Debate Terms

Video demonstration of judging a policy debate round


Section 4: Judging Events Outside the SLUDL Network

A) Materials for Judging Congressional Debate

Intro to Congressional Debate
This 11 minute video introduces new judges to the Congressional Debate format. There is a longer version of the presentation in Section 3C.

Intro to Congressional Debate
This 25 minute presentation is an expanded version of the video that serves as an introduction to Congressional Debate.

If you have any questions, please contact our Program Director at