Tournament FAQs

  • What is a "Resolution"?

    The Resolution is the topic being argued at the tournament. It does not look or sound like a question-- it looks like a statement that the affirmative team argues in favor of, and the negative team argues against. For example, "Fourth and Fifth grade students should be required to do homework."

  • Who may participate in the tournament?

    The tournament is open to all debaters in Seattle area elementary schools where DebateAble is offered.

  • How many debaters are on each team?

    In general, there are three debaters per team. Occasionally, a team has two or four members, when the number of students in a club is not divisible by three, or if a child is more comfortable reducing the amount of time he or she speaks during a debate.

  • How many speeches will each child give during the tournament?

    Every student presents two speeches: one speech when their team argues the affirmative side of a resolution, and one speech when their team argues the negative side. The number of debaters on a team occasionally results in a greater or lesser number of speeches per student.

  • How long does each speech last?

    Each speaker has up to 3 minutes to present their speech.

  • What about Cross-Examination?

    While cross-examination is an important skill at the high school level and above, at DebateAble we focus on refutation, fostering the students' ability to not just question statements from the opposing side, but to use their own evidence to refute claims of the other side.

  • Who are the DebateAble tournament judges?

    Students debate in front of volunteer adult judges, including attorneys, teachers and other neighborhood leaders and community members. Judges receive instruction regarding the qualities that they should look for in debaters and the system by which the debaters are scored, and they keep notes throughout the tournament to assist them in scoring. Equally important, judges offer constructive, verbal feedback to each debater who argues in front of them at the end of the round.

  • What determines a debater's score?

    Debate scores are based on several skills that the debaters have learned and practiced throughout the session. Those skills include presentation (eye contact, audibility, etc.), the quality of their argument, the ability to listen and respond to others' arguments and questions, and teamwork. Knowledge of the debate process, such as knowing when it's their turn to speak and demonstrating politeness toward their opponents and respect for their judge and audience, is also considered.

  • Will there be awards given?

    Yes, an awards ceremony is held at the conclusion of the tournament during which every participant is presented with a Certificate of Excellence. These certificates represent true accomplishment and we hope that every debater is proud to to be acknowledged for their achievement. In addition, the five top-scoring teams and five top-scoring individual speakers will also be recognized with medals, and the highest scoring team and highest scoring individual will receive first place medals.