Ethics Bowl

Judging Criteria

Judges should evaluate the responses of teams based on the following criteria of intelligibility, depth, focus and balance. To help you out, we've included some sample answers concerning a fictitious (and really basic) Ethics Bowl case that pits Proposal One versus Proposal Two.

Does the team's position (and defense) make logical sense? Is it easy to understand, given their explanations?

Example of an intelligible answer:

"The case says all of the YAC has five hundred dollars to spend. If Proposal One asks for seven hundred dollars and Proposal Two asks for four hundred, the YAC can't possibly give Proposal One what it asks. Therefore, they should fund Proposal Two." (logical, easy to understand where they're coming from)

Example of an unintelligible answer:

"These are good proposals, both one and two. The YAC has five hundred dollars, and Proposal Two has four hundred. We think that they should use their money to fund Proposal One, since they have a larger project." (vague and confused).

Are the team's answers and reasons well thought through?

Example of a good answer with depth:

"Both Proposal One and Proposal two seem worthy of the YAC's funding. Unfortunately, the YAC does not have enough money to fully fund both projects. Since it would be unfortunate to turn either one away empty-handed, we think that the YAC should give Proposal One partial funding of three hundred dollars, and Proposal Two partial funding of two hundred dollars" (comes up with an innovative solution, avoids the obvious)

Example of a poor answer with no depth:

"Wow, these are both super! We say give the money to Proposal One because they probably asked for it first." (no attempt to understand or consider what is important)

Did the team stay relevant and on track, or did they bring up points that are not important to the case?

Example of a focused answer:

"Proposal One deals very directly with youth issues, which should be the main concern of a YAC. We think that in light of this, Proposal One ought to get the YAC's funding." (draws out relevant points from the case)

Example of an unfocused answer:

"The case says that the president of Proposal One's organization is named Simon. One time our YAC had to deal with a guy named Simon who was really mean and dishonest. Therefore, we think that Proposal Two should get full funding and Proposal One should not get anything." (brings up facts that are irrelevant and distracting)

Did the team consider both sides of the case before they decided on a position?

Example of an answer with balanced judgment:

"Both of the proposals in question seem like they have a lot going for them. On the one hand, proposal One deals with youth issues. This is a very important consideration, since YACs should focus on helping youth. On the other hand, Proposal Two involves more direct funding of the YAC's community. This is also a crucial thing to consider, since the YAC is there to help out local causes. Taking these things into account, we think" (locates and considers the relative merits of each option)

Example of an answer with unbalanced judgment:

"Well, Proposal One seems terrific. It seems like a positive cause supported by great people. Plus, it involves youth issues, and these are really important. We say go with Proposal One." (only looks at the benefits of one side, decides too soon)