Three CDL Items

(i) CDL Tournaments Are Two Days

We are now into the regular CDL season, where all CDL tournaments are two days. Please impress upon your students that registered teams are fully expected to debate both days. Not debating at T3 is an option (which we hope they won’t choose), but students should not view not returning on Saturday as an option.

CPS doesn’t charge the school (or the student) for meals and judges that it pays for on Saturday, based on a two-day commitment, but one can imagine a world where it did. The bigger issue though is your students’ demonstrating the maturity and responsibility, that the CDL is indirectly developing too, to follow through on a commitment to the team.

(ii) Download the Docs

When you open a document link on this site —

the T2 Schedule, as an example —

what comes up is not the document itself but a “preview” of the document. We strongly recommend that you download the documents that you open, to get the full document and, if it’s in Word (which most are) to have the capacity to write in it (if it’s a form) or to adapt or adjust it (if it’s a debate resource or file). And of course downloading enables you to save the document, too.

There’s an arrow pointed downward on the lower-right corner of each document when you click on it and get the “preview.” Click on that downward-arrow to download the document.

(iii) New Research Paper on the Chicago Debate League

Yesterday we posted to the CDL principals listserve, along with the current Reporting Notebooks, a research paper published in Educational Research and Reviews (September 5, 2011) on the first ten years of the Chicago Debate League. This is another analysis of the data set that produced the 2009 study published in the Journal of Negro Education.

This latest research paper has equally dramatic conclusions about the academic impact of participating in the CDL. It’s key findings:

  • ACT scores higher: Debating in the Chicago Debate League raised students’ ACT scores compared to nondebaters by slightly more than 1 point in the Reading and English sections of the ACT, 0.9 points in Science and 0.4 points in Math. The ACT considers gains of 0.5 or more “practically important.”
  • GPAs higher: Debating in the Chicago Debate League led to gains in grade-point average every semester a student continued to debate. In contrast, GPA remained flat overall for high school students not involved in debate.
  • More likely to graduate: Students who participated in the Chicago Debate League were “significantly more likely” to graduate from high school than non-debaters.
  • Alignment with Core Standards: The researchers note that these findings are “particularly relevant in light of the new Common Core State Standards . . . [which] focus on evidence-based argument and informational text mastery as critical language arts skills.” CPS is committed to beginning to implement a citywide curriculum aligned with the Common Core State Standards in 2012/13.
  • The study concludes that the Chicago Debate League is producing an academic impact on college-readiness metrics that even some of the most esteemed after-school programs in urban education, e.g., GEAR-UP, are not able to produce.

Since it’s your direct work with students that results in these outcomes, congratulations.