Why are the powers that be changing the LD Format?
After several years of study and input from students and coaches, parents and students, we think that moving to a multi-resolution model will help to address a number of concerns.
First of all, multi-resolution LD has a long history as the default format for value debate. Value debate was first introduced in the public high schools in the 1920s for a single year. It reemerged in the 1970s when it was picked up in the premier college league and in 1979 the main high school league, the National Speech and Debate Association introduced LD in a multiresolution format and has stuck with it to the present time.
We have heard from a number of students that by the time NITOC rolls around, they are bored out of their minds which produces a miserable experience for judges.
We are hoping that a multi-resolution format is going to encourage students to spend more time researching new topics. Instead of frontloading research and case writing in the fall, the new format will create periods of punctuated research spread out over the season which has the added benefit of allowing LD debaters to acquire knowledge of more value debate topics over the course of their careers.
We have also heard that students are not writing their own cases and instead outsourcing case writing to a few mavens who set the tune for the LD community as a whole. This is causing coaches to observe that there is a failure of intergenerational transmission of knowledge between varsity and novice students. We are hoping that moving to a multi-resolution LD is going to encourage students to learn how to write cases again.
Although we do not expect the format change to be a panacea that completely fixes all the issues in LD, we do think it will be a move in the right direction and one which may have positive spillover effects that act as a shot in the arm that energizes the community and encourages greater interest in the format. We are really looking forward to the membership vote on the subject and we hope you give multi-resolution LD a chance.