With a spectacular start to the 17th season of the Chicago Debate League, staff, students, and coaches are looking forward to our biggest year yet. And the CDL is easily maintaining its position as the largest urban debate league in the nation.
The Chicago Debate League has expanded to 78 schools – our largest number ever — representing a 13% increase from last year. The first two high school tournaments of the year were 11% larger than last year; our first middle school tournament exceeded that growth. Eighty percent of our schools are achieving participation rates that meet or exceed national standards for robust debate teams. We now run seven conferences (four high school and three middle school) to allow as many students as possible the opportunity to debate throughout the season.
Notably, some of the top CDL teams have had unprecedented success on the National Circuit of high school debate. Whitney Young High School won the 2013 Glenbrooks National Tournament in November and is fielding a team ranked in the top ten of high school policy debate teams nationally.
This year marks the second full season the CDL has utilized its ground-breaking Qualitative Assessment Project — the first systemic attempt to measure the development of specific skills-mastery of students across the league and through the course of the season. We assessed more than 150 varsity debaters earlier this season using a rubric that measures attainment of innovative debater development benchmarks established by the Chicago Debate Commission. Those same debaters will be reassessed at the end of the year. The Qualitative Assessment Project provides teachers with invaluable guidance on where to focus coaching efforts and informs continual improvement in the CDC’s professional training and support for 140 coaches in the CDL.
All told, the 2013-2014 season is off to an unprecedentedly successful start!