Judging Debate

Judging debate is the core of the volunteer program at the Washington Urban Debate League. A judge is required for every 4 participants in a tournament, so the more judges we have, the more schools we can recruit and the more students we can work with. 

Teacher Oscar Orlando and American University student Ari Giles judge a debate at Largo High School

The Requirements: 


  1. A willingness to listen and take notes as students argue their positions and a willingness to give a minute or two of constructive feedback after the round. 

  2. Fill out a short background check (see below)


Judges do not require a background in debate. Our judge pool is a diverse array of people from students to retirees, with all sorts of different personal and professional backgrounds.


To complete the background check, click here: 


Consultant and WUDL volunteer Richard Day reviews his flow while students from Dunbar prepare to speak at Columbia Heights Education Campus in 2017

Judge Training:


We offer two different levels of judge training during breakfast (and sometimes again at lunch) at each competition:



This 101 course goes over the basics for those who don't have a debate background, and/or who haven't judged before. This course will cover the the structure and flow of a debate round, how to fill out the ballot, and the basics of strategy and the use of evidence in policy debate


This course is designed for those who have judged several tournaments and are ready to learn more, or for former debaters looking for a refresher course. Our goal is to provide the best feedback possible to our students to help them grow, improve, and prepare our varsity students for regional travel. 


Tournament schedules generally follow the following format, unless specified otherwise: 

8:15-8:45 Breakfast, Registration, and Judge Training—Please be prompt!


9:00-10:30 Round 1 

10:45-12:15 Round 2

12:15-1:00 Lunch, Coaches Meeting, and Judge Training

1:00-2:45 Round 3

3:00-4:45 Round 4

5:00 Awards