Debate Syllabus






    Max Ostrovsky




    Policy and Value debate teaches students a number of important academic skills, including logic, argumentation, research, writing and public speaking, all within a social sciences context.  Drawing from the fields of government, economics, philosophy, sociology, anthropology and psychology, students will develop evidence-based cases they will advocate at this school year’s tournaments. 



    Policy and Value debate is an interactive and team-oriented activity.  As such, students are required to attend at least two tournaments per semester in order to receive a passing grade for the Debate classes.  Any student unable to meet this criterion must meet with their instructor to explain the situation and ask for an exemption.  Exemptions will be given only in the case of extenuating personal circumstances.  It is the sole responsibility of the student to request this exemption and it will be considered on a case by case basis.


    This school year’s tournaments will be divided into three divisions:

    • Novice – Open to beginning debaters and students who feel they need a refresher in debate basics.  This division will be limited to two core affirmative positions and core-disadvantage files.


    • Junior Varsity – Open to students who have experience debating in the past.
    • Varsity – Open to students who have had experience and feel comfortable debating with no argument limitations.


    Junior Varsity and Varsity teams must disclose their affirmative cases.  The list of these cases can be found on the HUDL Wikispace under the Case Disclosure tab.





    A majority of the grade for this course comes from weekly research, writing and speaking assignments but will be supplemented by quizzes and test grades. 

    • 60% Major Grades
    • 40% Minor Grades



    A majority of this year’s evidence and curriculum will be posted on the new HUDL Wikispace at the following web address:




    The primary text for this course will be the Houston Urban Debate League’s Introduction to Policy Debate.  This book will be available free as an electronic copy on the HUDL Wikispace under the curriculum tab.





    Debate 1 is divided into two 16 week semesters.  The first semester will teach the basics of argument, logic, research, writing and speaking.  The second semester will expand on these skills and give the students more freedom to write their own cases and argument extensions.  Over the course of the year, students will have the opportunity to attend six HUDL seminars and six HUDL tournaments, with an opportunity for more based on student success and interest.