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Speech & Drama » Judge Training Information

Judge Training Information

Thank you for judging in the Diocesan Speech League. Your feedback provides valuable encouragement to our students and helpful input for improvement. We appreciate your service.
Your school coach will know your judging assignment a few days prior to the speech meet. 
To prepare for your assignments, please review the notes below and view the instructional video for speech judges in the Dallas Diocesan League, which is found here:Judges' Training Video.
Judges and timekeepers who have been assigned to work the Two-Man Improv, be sure to see Andrea Schweitzer in the Library to day of the meet for a few additional instructions specific to that event. 

Elements of a Good Performance
A good introduction will heighten the interest of the audience. It should set the background, if needed, mood, and setting (if applicable) of the selection. It must be memorized and include author and title of the selection. It cannot include the constant’s name or school affiliation. TV Commercials will not have an introduction. Oratory will have the introduction built in as the main idea of the speech.

Remember to judge the presentation of the selection, not the selection itself. The judge may not like the selection, but should only evaluate the way the selection is presented. The selection should be well edited so that it is clear and unified. It must be a piece published in written form, except for the TV Commercial and Oratory, which must be original. The reader should be able to convey the meaning of the selection.
Performances of skits seen on television, such as Saturday Night Live skits, movie scenes that are not from published works of drama, and excerpts from comedy recordings, such as audio or video recordings of standup comedy acts, are typically not published works of literature and are not appropriate selections.
Vocal Control
The contestant should be heard and understood. The voice should change for moods, emotions, and characters, and be consistently used throughout the piece. Be aware of dental appliances or breathing problems such as asthma, and how these may affect the pronunciation. Don’t count off for them.
Every movement should have meaning. Prose and Poetry Readings should use only gestures from the waist up. All other categories should use full body movement. Facial expressions and eye contact are very important.

Approach to Audience
The contestant should engage the entire audience, not just the judge. Please sit toward the middle of the room and not to one side, because acting has been practiced facing the audience.

Presentation and Characterization
Moods and emotions should be communicated to the audience. Characters should be distinguished and consistent with voices, mannerisms, and facial expressions.

Assigning Scores
Bear in mind that the students you are evaluating are middle school students and their performances should be evaluated in that light. Some students are as young as sixth grade. It takes tremendous courage for many of them to stand before you and perform by themselves.

Once you have heard a student perform, consider the overall performance and how you would rank the overall performance if you were assessing a letter grade. Here is a scale to help you assess points:
Letter grade of “A” 29 – 30 points
Letter grade of “B” 25 – 28 points
Letter grade of “C” 20 – 24 points
In general, most students in the Diocesan Speech League receive total scores between 24 and 30 points in each round.
Scores below 19 are very unusual and typically are awarded only to students who are unable to complete their performance, who perform material that is vulgar, or who behave in an insulting fashion to the judge or other performers in the room.
Most performances should warrant a “4” or a “5” in at least one of the six categories on the critique sheet.
Some judges operate under the theory that they should not award any “5s” because there is always room for improvement or the piece will get better as the season progresses. This is not an appropriate judging philosophy in this league. It is completely appropriate to award a score of “5” in some, or even all, categories on the critique sheet to one or more students in a room.
If you award a score below 20, your critique sheet must indicate very clearly the defects in performance in every area and how the performance can be improved. You may be asked to discuss such scores with a tab room official.
Helpful Resources: Please see the files linked below.