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At schools where students do not pay their own tournament entry fees, the proportion of students receiving FPL is 26.55% higher than at schools where students are required to pay their own tournament entry fees. This relationship is significant, t(299) = 2.089, p = 0.038. Among teams that take a bus to tournaments, the proportion of students at the school receiving FPL is 48.65% higher at schools where students do not pay a bus fee than at schools where students do pay a bus fee. This relationship is significant, t(265) = 3.123, p = 0.002, and suggests teams at schools with higher levels of socioeconomic need try to reduce the financial burden of competition on their students. Interestingly, the budget was not significantly related to the ratio of students to coaches or school enrollment. 89.6% of teams reported fundraising. Among teams that reported fundraising any amount and reported the number of years of their most experienced coach (n = 299), there was a significant correlation between amount fundraised and years of experience of the most experienced coach (r = 0.20, p = 0.001). Like team budget, amount fundraised violated assumption of normality and therefore was logarithmically transformed. This transformation was used to create a linear regression with a dependent variable of years of experience of a team’s most experienced coach. This regression was significant, F(1, 277) = 20.75, p < 0.001, and had β1 = 0.013 with 95% C.I. (0.008, 0.019). This suggests for each additional year of coaching experience of a team’s most experienced coach, fundraising increases by approximately 1.3%.

Nathan Leys Is the 2013 national champion in International Extemporaneous Speaking. He is currently studying Government and International Politics at George Mason University in Virginia.



A Few Things We Learned by Amy Seidelman

1. This analysis reiterates how important it is to keep experienced coaches in the activity. It’s no surprise that the coaches with the most experience are: • more likely to have one or more speech and debate classes during the school day; • more likely to have larger coaching staffs, and less likely to shoulder the coaching burden alone; • more likely to have larger budgets (1% larger for each year of coaching experience); and • more likely to raise money via fundraising (1.3% more fundraised for each year of experience). Longevity in the activity helps build credibility, both within a school and beyond. The NSDA is continually working to enhance efforts to support our coaches through professional development and connections with peers and mentors who’ve shared similar experiences. In expanding our professional development offerings, we are both translating the work of coaches into recognizable accomplishments in their school and community and providing opportunities for peer to peer learning. Efforts like National Speech and Debate Education Day and the statelevel initiatives that accompany it help to raise general awareness and create more advocates, both among parents and decision-makers, for the activity.

2. While we don’t differentiate between schools that offer a speech and debate class and those that treat it as an extracurricular activity, this study supports that having one or more

classes boosts a program in terms of student recruitment (average team size of 47 versus 32), and that a class which involves some interscholastic competition generates an even bigger team than a class which doesn’t (average team size of 50 vs. 39). While we run programs designed to make speech and debate a sustainable part of the school day, including Evidence-Based Argumentation and Communicators in the Classroom, it is a larger challenge to encourage class adoption on a school by school basis. Our goal for the 2017-2018 school year will be to continue to produce high quality curriculum that supports classroom speech and debate instruction, as well as increase outreach to administrators to generate support for all forms of speech and debate at the school.

3. In this survey, there are only 12 schools reporting to be in the highest range (80-100%) of free or reduced-price lunch (FPL). The schools in that category face lower budgets and are less likely to ask students to pay tournament and transportation fees. We know, outside the realm of this survey, that about 140 of our current member schools are at or above the 80% threshold based on the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) database, and another 60 or so member schools are above the 75% threshold that NCES indicates is a “high poverty school.” Starting in 2017-2018, we will offer a specific type of membership grant for schools meeting that threshold.

Amy Seidelman is the Assistant Executive Director for the NSDA.

Profile for Speech & Debate

2017 Spring Rostrum  

Volume 91 Issue 4

2017 Spring Rostrum  

Volume 91 Issue 4