Speech: HS Rules Changes

2023-2024 #

This year’s rules changes involved a number of smaller tweaks based on feedback from coaches. Several changes streamline what we’re doing and open more opportunities for students, central to decision-making by the Speech Advisory Committee in its recommendations, and to the Board of Control in approving those recommendations.

  1. Double-entry: adjusting rules to– “Any student may enter in up to two categories; however, a school is responsible for providing adjudicators based on total entries at each contest in which it has students (as per §7.3), including double-entries. In-person contests may limit participation by any student to one category, in which case, the student may participate in a second category virtually.” Also, any given student can only contribute to one entry counting toward school awards at the State Festival.
  2. Demonstration Speech renamed to “Informative/Demonstration Speech” with a broadened allowance for the 1-2 student(s) to explore and develop an informative speech to offer new information and/or fresh perspectives; aligns with WFCA, NSDA, and other states’ category of Informative.
  3. Informative Speech renamed to “Expository Speech,” shortened to 5 minutes, and removing the allowance for visual aid to better reflect its narrow, simpler focus; restores the feel of the category to the simplicity of the former “Four-Minute Speech” so there isn’t any expectation for a visual aid (ideal for a younger student); aligns with WFCA, NSDA, and other states’ category of Expository.
  4. Farrago: added a requirement in the introduction (and, if used, transitions) for students to identify the genre with each selection they perform. This was always implied, but not currently written in the rules, and will make it clearer for adjudicators when appraising students’ performance.
  5. Replacing the “walking” rule in Farrago, Poetry, and Prose with “Purposeful movement to suggest relationships, feelings, changes, ideas, moods. locales, etc, appropriate to the script is acceptable and subject to evaluation.” This discourages adjudicators from “bean counting” steps; instead, taking a more holistic approach to evaluating students’ movement as suggestive of the content performed, and still distinct from carrying out the action in a more theatrical manner (the original intention of the prohibition of walking).
  6. Impromptu: we are adding an optional line for adjudicators to note how much of the full time a student spent prepping, to give some additional direction to the student and their coach.
  7. Public Address: piloting a “Pro-Con” option, so as an alternative to developing one specific response to one of the annual questions, a student can develop two speeches of about 4 minutes apiece that present contrasting viewpoints/positions on the topic. Since many popular debate categories utilize opening/constructive speeches that are about 4 minutes, this is a perfect place for students to get a taste of debate! Adjudicators will consider how well each of the speeches answers the question, and how balanced the student is in their use of time within the full 8 minutes allowed.
  8. Radio News Reporting: added a rule: “Speaker must present the radio broadcast in one newsreader voice. Multiple voices are not permitted except for the commercial(s).” This was suggested to better align the category with learning outcomes in broadcast journalism, and still allows for creativity in how a student aligns their newsreader persona to the identity of their theoretical radio station/program, as well as allowing other personas in the commercial.
  9. Storytelling: uniformly assigning topic #1 to round 1, topic #2 to round 2, and topic #3 to round 3 for all WISDAA subdistrict and district festivals; continuing the allowance for students to select which topic they perform at State. Also, since the introduction is currently not evaluated, we are clarifying the evaluation sheet, as there was some contradictory language. ‘
  10. Generative Artificial Intelligence:
    1. Speech categories: contestants are prohibited from quoting or paraphrasing text directly from generative AI sources. Generative AI should not be cited as a source. The exception is that a student delivering a speech about the topic of AI may quote AI to illustrate their points about AI, and cite that source, accordingly. Overall, while generative AI may be used to guide students to articles – including for Extemporaneous Speech – ideas, and sources, the original source of any quoted or paraphrased evidence must be available if requested.
    2. Performance of literature categories: where published material is required, students are prohibited from performing material created by generative AI sources. Overall, generative AI should not be used as a source of material; while generative AI may be used to guide students to articles, ideas, and material, the original source of any material that is performed must be available if requested. Students in all categories are prohibited from using generative AI to write introductions and transitions.

2022-2023 #

  1. New provision for entire-school virtual participation specified in rule §3.6 (High School Speech Handbook, p. 3).
  2. Extemporaneous Speech will allow Internet access during preparation time; Radio rules made parallel; see rules (High School Speech Handbook, p. 17, 41); see festival preparation checklist (High School Speech Handbook, p. 72-73).
  3. Play Acting rule 5 clarified pertaining allowance for actors to touch (different from Group Interpretive Reading).
  4. Allowance for speaker/reading stands moved from individual category rules to overarching rule §6.3 (High School Speech Handbook, p. 5), since usage is rare.
  5. (Jan. 18, 2023) State Festival youth protection policies added (High School Speech Handbook §2.3, p. 3); and entry limitations updated (High School Speech Handbook §4.2, p. 3) to allow for additional virtual entries, as long as in-person subdistrict and district entries fall within limitations enumerated.

2021-2022 #

  1. We have returned to requiring two adjudicators’ scores to advance to the next contest level.
  2. Rule added to Demonstration to allow contestants to arrange volunteers from the audience before a round starts, but to be prepared to present without a volunteer.
  3. Printed works cited list no longer required in Informative, Moments in History, Oratory, and Public Address.
  4. Storytelling topics permanently reduced to three per year.
  5. All performance of literature category rules explicitly revised to allow teasers; Group Interpretive Reading rules clarified to allow transitionless performance, consistent with Farrago, Poetry, and Prose.
  6. Solo Acting Humorous and Solo Acting Serious are officially separated, with allowance for up to six (6) entries between the two. Rule 9.b. [p. 6].
  7. Contests may offer digital Radio News Reporting packets (provided by the State Office) and contestants may edit and read from a digital device. Contests must still provide enough printed radio packets for each contestant. Learn more >>
  8. Other changes to facilitate virtual contests for schools who need it (see High School Speech Handbook, p. 5-6)
  9. Anytime a school participates at more than one venue (including online) during a particular contest level (subdistrict, district, State), it must provide adjudicators for each contest, in that contest’s ratio of adjudicators to entries (e.g., a school has 7 entries at its own subdistrict and 2 entries at a different subdistrict – it must supply two adjudicators for its own subdistrict and one adjudicator for the other subdistrict).
  10. Added clarification to Demonstration rules pertaining to uniform/clothing.
  11. Added clarification to original speech categories on mode of delivery to be consistent with Rule 12.b. [p. 8]: The speech may be presented from memory or extemporaneously; students should not recite from a word-for-word manuscript.
  12. (11/15/2021). Updated Impromptu rules [p. 25] to elaborate on process removed for the 2021 virtual season. Added clarification to Extemporaneous [p. 19] and Radio [p. 41]: Students are welcome to remain in the room to hear other contestants; they may ask to be excused when they must report to draw for a subsequent round.

2020-2021 #

  1. Special dispensations for the 2020 virtual season:
    1. Subdistrict and district will be statewide contests, with prerecorded video submissions to be asynchronously adjudicated; Extemporaneous, Impromptu, and Radio News will offer both asynchronous options and live/synchronous options.
    2. For virtual participation, coaches should avoid identifying their school in submitted videos/video channels.
    3. Group entries may be recordings of videoconference (such as Zoom) or recorded in-person with students socially distanced, not touching, and wearing masks. Limiting groups to 2-3 students is encouraged.
    4. Storytelling contestants will record and submit three performances for each festival, and each will be matched to a particular round for adjudication.
    5. Only one adjudicator qualifying score (instead of two) is required to move on to the next festival level.
    6. There will be no individual category, nor overall team entry limits; for school awards at the State Speech Festival, a school’s top four entries per category, up to 25 entries overall, will count.
    7. The State Speech Festival will have both live/synchronous and prerecorded/synchronous participation options.
  2. Rule added to Demonstration to allow contestants to arrange volunteers from the audience before a round starts, but to be prepared to present without a volunteer (this will not take effect until return to in-person contests) [p. 25].
  3. In Informative, Moments in History, Oratory, and Public Address, clarification has been added to prohibit adjudicators from deducting points for incorrect format of citations.
  4. Rules for Poetry and Prose adapted to allow transitionless programs in the same manner as Farrago.

2019-2020 #

  1. The qualifying score from district to State is now 21 (previously 20).
  2. Schools are allowed up to 30 entries per school. Specific category limits are unchanged. The 25 highest performing entries at the State Festival will count toward the Excellence in Speech Awards, and a new Distinction in Speech Award is added for schools in the top 6-10% of performing schools.
  3. Clarified rule for works cited in Informative Speech, Moments in History Speech, Oratory Speech, and Public Address Speech: The contestant must hand a printed list of works cited in MLA or APA format to the adjudicator prior to speaking; adjudicators will return the list to the contestants by the end of the round. When no list is provided by the contestant, the adjudicator will deduct two points; the list should support what the student orally cites in the speech, but adjudicators should only evaluate actual spoken citations.
  4. Clarified in Group Interpretive Reading, Poetry Reading, and Prose Reading that intellectual experience means “what is happening,” and emotional experience means “how it feels.”

2018-2019 #

  1. Change Four-Minute to Informative Speech with a 6-minute time limit and allow for visual aids.
  2. Require a printed works cited list to be handed to each adjudicator by contestants in Informative, Moments in History, Oratory, and Public Address. For students who do not provide such a list, adjudicators must deduct two points. Students must still cite sources contextually during their speech.
  3. Specify rule with costuming for Group Interpretive Reading and Play Acting: “merely dressing alike or coordinated outfits is not considered costuming.”
  4. Revise rules for Impromptu to better reflect procedure of the round, and that students should remain in the contest room each round for the entire round.
  5. Clarify role of Referee Committee at the State Festival.
  6. Refine rules for substitution (Handbook, #3.c./d. – p. 5) and changing material during the season (#12.a.iv. p. 7).
  7. Add rule 7.c. regarding remediation for ineffective adjudicators (Handbook, p. 6).
  8. Explain for festival hosts/managers Extemporaneous draw procedures, as well as Impromptu protocols: “Before the Festival,” Handbook, #5.a./b./c., p.18-19.
  9. Essays in the back of the handbook were replaced with new versions for Demonstration Speech, Extemporaneous Speech, Group Interpretive Reading, Radio News Announcing, and Storytelling.

2017-2018 #

  1. Farrago allows (optionally) for transitionless programs of interwoven material.
  2. Group Interpretive Reading rules clarify the prohibition of dramatic literature: play for theatre, screen, or radio.
  3. Impromptu Speech has been added as a permanent category, with hypothetical questions added as a type of prompt.
  4. Moments in History Speech allows for choosing one of two topics, or speaking on both.
  5. Play Acting rules require material from one work of drama (play for theatre, screen, or radio).
  6. Radio Speaking has been renamed to Radio News Reporting to more accurately reflect the category and reference News Reporting at the middle level; added a table to show point deductions for time.
  7. Storytelling rules clarify that contestants should use language and imagery appropriate to the story and intended audience – as named in the introduction.
  8. Students in the following speaking categories – Four Minute, Moments in History, Oratory, and Public Address – are encouraged to provide a list of works cited to furnish to adjudicators or a contest referee committee when requested. See p. 7, rule 11.a.iii.
  9. For interpretive and acting categories, rules were clarified to require coaches to have a copy of source material, and not (just) contestants [this allows a referee committee to more thoroughly investigate possible rules violations and potential disqualifications. This rule extends to Poetry Reading and Prose Reading. See p. 7, rule 11.a.ii.
  10. Standards for the Excellence in Speech Award have been included in this handbook. Also clarified prohibition against other awards at subdistrict/district festivals. See p. 7, rule 10.
Updated on 02/05/2024
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