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  1. Rank all the way out. In a six-student round, judges will award ranks 1– 6. No two students in the same round may be given the same rank.

  2. Do not assign speaker points. In the interest of fairness, our tournament does not use speaker points (the value between 85 and 100) for scoring.

  3. Submit your ballot immediately. As soon as the round has finished and your ranks have been assigned, SUBMIT THE BALLOT. You may still enter/change critiques after the ballot has been submitted.


  1. Don't be a jerk. In general, but especially here. Write critiques in the spirit of suggestions for improvement—not demolishing their sense of self-worth.

  2. Don't wait to start. If you wait until the speaker has finished their performance, we'll be here forever. 

  3. Separate docs are A-OK. You're welcome to open a Word doc or other note-taking program to record your notes during the performances. When the round has finished, don't forget to copy/paste your critiques into the appropriate fields in SpeechWire.

Time Limits

  1. All performances in draw events (Ex Speaking, Ex Reading, Storytelling) are limited to 7 minutes. All others are limited to 10 minutes.

  2. All speakers in all events are granted a 30-second grace period; if a speaker exceeds the grace period, they cannot be ranked first in the round.

  3. If a student exceeds the allotted time limit and grace period, they may not receive your 1 ranking.

  4. Please make every effort to provide time signals upon a speaker's request.

Multiple Entries

Double and triple entries are allowed in all events. If a student makes a request to adjust the speaking order, please honor it to the best of your ability.

Draw Procedure

All draws will be conducted virtually, spaced in eight-minute intervals. At draw time, student will receive three prompts (released by the prep room moderator) via their student account. Released prompts are visible by selecting the "Click here to draw now" option. Timestamps of prompt release and prompt selection will be recorded for judges.

Judge Obligation

All judges are obligated for the entire tournament (prelims & finals). If you aren't assigned a round, please wait in the judges' lounge. 

NSDA Implicit Bias Statement

We are all influenced by implicit bias, or the stereotypes that unconsciously affect our decisions. When judging, our implicit biases negatively impact traditionally marginalized and disenfranchised students. Before writing comments or making a decision, please take a moment to reflect on any biases that may impact your decision making. Please remember that the video quality of a student’s performance may be impacted by lighting, internet, access to equipment, or other family members’ presence in the home. To ensure a more equitable experience for our participants, please be sure your decision-making process and comments are related only to the content and quality of the presentation itself.

Need a Hand?

The fine folks in the Tab Room are ready to assist with adds/drops, rule concerns, ornithological trivia and various other assorted questions. You'll find them in R130. Be nice.

NOTE: Please submit all score alteration bribes in the form of chocolate. We still won't change anything, but we do like chocolate.

Judge Reference Guide

Look, we get it: learning how to judge is tough. That's why we put together a handy-dandy guide for judging every category — plus time signals, SpeechWire balloting and what to do if a round goes off the rails. Read it or don't; up to you. But if you don't, you got nobody else to blame for making a kid go 1-1-6.

More Helpful Stuff

See this button?

It'll appear in SpeechWire after you open your assignment link. CLICK IT. PLEASE. If you don't, Tab Room will hunt you down. And we know karate.

Judge Resources

Gotta earn that potluck lunch, right?

Chaska Invitational Tournament 2023

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