Ohio Speech & Debate Association Competitive Event Descriptions & Judging Criteria
Duo Interpretation: Aims at re-creating the story, character(s), and emotions within a selection. Selections may be dramatic, humorous, or a combination of both. Contestants must identify the author and the source of their selection. Each speaker may play one or multiple characters. The performance must be a balanced use of both speakers, but the number of characters performed is not a judging criterion. If the selection contains narration, either or both of the performers may present the narration in addition to the sustained characters. Introductions and transitions may be creative or simplistic; most attention should focus on execution of the actual script. Performers may not make direct eye contact or touch each other except during the introduction or transitions.
Dramatic and Humorous Interpretation: Aims at re-creating the story, character(s), and emotions within a selection. Selections may contain one or multiple character(s); the number of characters performed is not a judging criterion. Performances are to be memorized and presented without the use of physical objects or costumes. Consider the following criteria when ranking speakers in Duo, Drama, and Humor:
• Vocal Qualities: The speaker enunciates and projects his/her voice. The speaker appropriately varies rate, pitch, volume, and tone. The speaker, if employing optional accents, maintains and makes them distinct from each other.
• Physical Presentation: The speaker varies gestures, facials, and body language according to the performance material. Movements define character(s) and do not detract.
• Characterization: The speaker creates character(s) that are clearly defined and consistently portrayed. The speaker uses both physical and vocal variation to give characters depth and dimension.
• Interpretation: The speaker presents material in a manner that is logical and enhances meaning of selection. The speaker varies appropriate emotions to reflect the changes in the subject matter of the selection. The speaker’s performance takes you to the time and place of the selection.
Original Oratory: Judges should consider thought, composition, and delivery in evaluating speakers. A speaker may employ a multitude of stylistic and analytical techniques in developing a defined topic and a clear purpose. The speaker must alert the audience to any nonfactual materials, especially in narrating personal experiences. The speaker must also cite the sources of any facts, statistics, quotations, or anecdotal evidence that are not the speaker’s original ideas. Consider the following criteria when evaluating a competitor in Original Oratory:
• Vocal Qualities: The speaker used crisp enunciation, was easily heard, and spoke at an appropriate rate. The speaker altered rate, volume, and pitch to create interest.
• Physical Presentation: The speaker maintained eye contact with audience. The speaker used appropriately varied gestures that were relaxed, expressive, and enhanced the content. The speaker was poised, confident, and presented him/herself professionally.
• Speech Content: The speaker created an oration that had a defined topic, clear purpose, and interesting interpretation. The student presented a speech with a clear organizational pattern that was easy to follow. The speaker provided logical discussion of the topic that was supported with relative evidence. The speaker cited source(s) for all non-original or non-factual material. The speaker used dynamic vocabulary, sentence structure, and other rhetorical devices.
United States and International Extemporaneous Speaking: Speakers have 30 minutes to prepare an answer to a current events question. Speakers will enter the room one at a time and hand their questions to the judge(s). Speakers have 7 minutes with a 30-second grace period to answer to the exact question without notes. Upon completion, speakers may leave the room or watch other competitors. Judge(s) are the official timers of the round; judges are to provide time signals to the competitors as follows (overtime penalties are a judge’s discretion).
• Hold up 2 fingers at the end of 5 minutes. • Hold up half a finger at the end of 6 ó minutes.
• Hold up 1 finger at the end of 6 minutes. • Hold up a fist at 7 minutes. (They have 30 sec grace.)
Note: Extempers ARE allowed to use a timing device while giving their speeches. The timing device cannot have any other communicative features; it must be exclusively a timing device (timer). Judges should consider both delivery and content when ranking. Judges should not base decisions on personal biases but rather with how clearly the answer was delivered. Consider the following criteria when evaluating a competitor in Extemp:
• Vocal Qualities: The speaker used crisp enunciation, was easily heard, and spoke at an appropriate rate. Rate, volume, and pitch were varied to create interest. The speaker was fluent (but not necessarily flawless) in the execution of the presentation.
• Physical Presentation: The speaker maintained eye contact with audience. Varied gestures were relaxed and expressive. The speaker was poised and professional.
• Speech Content: The speaker answered the exact question as written on the printed slip submitted to the judge. The speaker presented a speech with a clear organizational pattern that was easy to follow. The speaker provided logical analysis supported with current sources and relevant evidence. The speaker cited source(s) and date(s) for all materials referenced in the construction of the question’s answer. The speaker employed clear, interesting, and appropriate vocabulary.
Program Oral Interpretation: Speakers will recreate the thoughts, emotions, and stylistic elements of both published prose and published poetry. Judges should not penalize a student if the distinction between genres is not easily heard. Students may employ a multitude of vocal and physical techniques to capture the nuances of the selections and maintain a connection with the audience. Speakers have creative liberty and should exhibit strong speech mechanics and appropriate levels of emotion that fit the context of the selections. Speakers will hold and read from a manuscript throughout a performance, but introductory or transitional material may be memorized. Manuscript may be used as a prop. Speakers should introduce their topics, noting the authors and titles of their selections. However, where, when, and how this is accomplished are speakers’ decisions. Consider the following criteria when evaluating a competitor in Program Oral Interp:
• Vocal Qualities: The speaker enunciates and projects his/her voice in a manner easily heard by the audience. The speaker varies rate, pitch, volume, and tone in relation to the subject of the selections.
• Physical Presentation: The speaker varies gestures, facials, and body language according to the subject. Movements do not detract from the meaning. Eye contact between manuscript and audience should be relatively balanced.
• Interpretation of Literature: The speaker presents material in a manner that is logical and enhances the meaning of the selection. The speaker varies appropriate emotions to reflect the changes in the subject matter of the selection. The speaker illustrates an awareness of the authors’ purposes, voices, messages, and stylistic uniqueness.
Declamation: Speakers will recreate the thoughts and emotions of other orators. Speakers may select any oration providing the original author delivered it. Orations may be historical or contemporary and written by professionals or students. Speakers are NOT to be judged based on the selection or its content but rather how well it is executed. Speakers are not permitted to change the gender, dates, or occasion of the original work but may include an optional introduction that provides context or clarification to the audience. Consider the following criteria when evaluating a competitor in Declamation:
• Vocal Qualities: See “Original Oratory” on previous page
• Physical Presentation: See “Original Oratory” on previous page
• Interpretation: The speaker recreated the tones, emotions, and intentions of the original oration. The speaker was emotionally involved and varied emotion as dictated by the content of the oration. The student delivered the oration in a manner that enhanced the messages of the speech. The speaker held the audience’s attention.
Informative Speaking: Speeches are original compositions of the contestant. The Informative speech is a speech to inform, not a performance. The general purpose of the speech is for the audience to gain understanding and/or knowledge of a topic. Any other purpose, such as to entertain or to convince shall be secondary. This does not preclude the use of humor in the speech. The Informative speech should describe, clarify, illustrate, or define objects, ideas, concepts, or processes. In the Informative speech, the speaker does not offer a personal opinion, judgment or evaluation of the chosen subject matter; rather, the successful Informative Speaker allows the audience to develop opinions, make judgments and form evaluations. Since speakers wrote these speeches, judges should consider the information, composition, and delivery in evaluating them. Consider the following criteria when evaluating a competitor in Informative Speaking:
• Vocal Qualities: See “Original Oratory” above
• Physical Presentation: See “Original Oratory” above
• Speech Content: The speaker wrote an informative speech that had an introduction that defined a specific topic; a body that presented specific information about the topic; and an appropriate conclusion.
• Visual Aids (OPTIONAL): The speaker’s choice to utilize or not to utilize a visual was effective and relevant. If utilized, the visual aid was visible, neat and professional. If utilized, the speaker effectively presented the visual aid to enhance the presentation.