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Assessment Instructions
Preparation

Select a debate topic from the Debate Topics [PDF] document.
You may choose to watch this video on building arguments: 

Reading Pioneers Academy. (2015, December 13). Debate skill: Argument building [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zZ4YEuThRw

Preview the Debate Preparation and Summary Worksheet [DOCX] that you will use complete for the assessment. 
Research your topic to gather the sources you’ll need to complete the worksheet.

Instructions
Choose a position and then prepare to support it, using the Debate Preparation and Summary Worksheet, as if you were going to participate in a debate.
In the worksheet, present your position and arguments for the debate topic, counterarguments to your position and arguments, and rebuttals to those counterarguments. The worksheet will finish with a conclusion on the strength of your position. Before submitting the worksheet, be sure to review the assessment scoring guide to ensure that you meet all criteria, including the following:

Your position.
At least three well-developed arguments.
Evidence to support your arguments (that is, data and research), including how the evidence supports the arguments.
Counterarguments to your points.
Rebuttals to the counterarguments that oppose your arguments.
Evidence to support your rebuttals (data and research), including how the evidence supports the rebuttals. 
A conclusion that asserts why your position is strong.
In-text citations and references for all sources of information.

Submission Requirements
Submit the completed worksheet as your deliverable for the assessment.

PSYC-FP3540 Debate Preparation and Summary Worksheet
Date:

To prepare for your hypothetical debate, use this worksheet to synthesize what you have learned from your research about the topic. Complete both sections and submit the full worksheet.

Section 1: Debate Preparation
1. Your position statement.
In the space below, construct a position statement that reflects your favorable or unfavorable view of the debate topic. Your position should include the following:
A position statement (pro or con).
A brief summary of each argument that you would present to support your position. You should construct three arguments for your position.
2. Your summary of the arguments that support your position and the researched-based evidence to support those arguments.
Please include appropriate in-text citations for your evidence as well as the full reference in the reference list at the end of the document. Include evidence from research for each argument and how the evidence supports the argument.

Supporting Argument 1:

· Evidence, example, illustration 1:
· Evidence, example, illustration 2:
· Evidence, example, illustration 3:

Supporting Argument 2:

· Evidence, example, illustration 1:
· Evidence, example, illustration 2:
· Evidence, example, illustration 3:

Supporting Argument 3:

· Evidence, example, illustration 1:
· Evidence, example, illustration 2:
· Evidence, example, illustration 3:
Add supporting arguments as needed. If you have more than three arguments, place them in the same format as the others here:

Section 2: Counterarguments
3. Possible counterarguments to your position, and your rebuttals.
Consider possible counterarguments that can challenge your position. How would you reply to these counterarguments? Think about potential counterarguments that you have read in the literature. These are your rebuttals.

COUNTERARGUMENTS

REBUTTALS (with citations as appropriate)

4. Summary and conclusion. (Use this section as a way to summarize the debate)
· Using the above information, in one or two well-developed paragraphs, summarize in your own words the possible arguments against your position:

· In one or two well-developed paragraphs, summarize your rebuttals to the counterarguments:

· Conclude with a statement explaining why your position is more valid and reasonable than your opponent’s:
5. APA reference list. (Format your journal article citations as follows:)

Author last name, initials of first and middle names (if provided). (Year of publication). Title of the article. Title of the Journal, volume(issue), page number–page number. doi: number (if any), preceded by https://doi.org/

Sample reference for a journal article:

Klassen, R. M., Perry, N. E., & Frenzel, A. C. (2012). Teachers’ relatedness with students:
An underemphasized component of teachers’ basic psychological needs. Journal

of Educational Psychology, 104(1), 150–165. https//doi.org/10.1037/a0026253

Use this area below to format the references you will use in the debate.

References
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f CAPELLA UNIVERSITY

Debate Topics
Choose one of the following topics from the Taking Sides text to prepare as if you were going to
engage in a debate.
Issue: Is affirmative action an effective way to reverse racial inequality?
Yes: Chauncey DeVega, from “White America’s Toxic Ignorance: Abigail Fisher, Antonin Scalia
and the Real Privilege That Goes Unspoken,” Salon (2015).
No: Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., from “The Painful Truth About Affirmative Action,”
The Atlantic (2012).
Chauncey DeVega, a political essayist and cultural critic, presents a significant review of the
history of racial discrimination and exclusion that African Americans have experienced
throughout the history of the nation. Given this history and the prevalence of white skin privilege
throughout history, DeVega views affirmative action as a modest attempt to foster equal
opportunity. According to DeVega, opposition to affirmative action is often informed by
ignorance and racism.
Richard Sander, a UCLA law professor and economist, and Stuart Taylor Jr., contributing editor
for National Journal and a contributing editor at Newsweek, are concerned that affirmative
action in college admissions has evolved into a program of racial preferences that do harm to
both minority students and the colleges that they attend. Sander and Taylor are also concerned
that colleges are not responding to the need to reform such programs.

Issue: Is “stand your ground” legislation race neutral?
Yes: Patrik Jonsson, from “Racial Bias and ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws: What the Data Show,”
The Christian Science Monitor (2013).
No: Sabrina Strings, from “Protecting What’s White: A New Look at Stand Your Ground Laws,”
The Feminist Wire (2014).
Patrik Jonsson, a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor who writes about race and gun
rights, argues that “stand your ground” laws are not racially biased. He believes that such
legislation is a response to the increasing concern with self-defense that has been generated by
events such as 9/11 and the high rate of crime.
Sabrina Strings, a sociologist at the University of California who teaches in the School of Public
Health and Sociology, believes that “stand your ground” laws are not racially neutral and are
primarily directed at African Americans. To Strings, “stand your ground” laws are reflective of an
historical tendency to protect whites and their property from a perceived threat from African
Americans, especially black males.

Issue: Should children of undocumented immigrants have a birthright to U.S.
citizenship?
Yes: Eric Foner, from “Birthright Citizenship Sets America Apart,” The Cap Times (2010).
No: George F. Will, from “An Argument to Be Made about Immigrant Babies and Citizenship,”
The Washington Post (2010).

1

f CAPELLA UNIVERSITY
Distinguished professor of history at Columbia University, Eric Foner, examines the legal and
constitutional basis for granting birthright citizenship and argues that this right illuminates the
strength of American society.
Conservative newspaper columnist and commentator, George F. Will, is troubled by the facile
tendency to grant birthright citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants. He views
this practice as reflecting a misinterpretation of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth
Amendment. He vigorously opposes this policy.

Issue: Is there a need for a permanent voting rights act?
Yes: Linda Greenhouse, from “The More Things Change…,” The New York Times (2013).
No: Abigail Thernstrom, from “Redistricting, Race, and the Voting Rights Act,” National Affairs
(2010).
Linda Greenhouse writes about the Supreme Court for the New York Times. She expresses
concern about the Court’s attempts to invalidate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. She leaves
us with the implication that this development is due to the ascendency of conservatism in
American politics and the continuing impact of race in legal and political decision making.
Abigail Thernstrom, a political scientist, is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York.
She has written extensively on race and voting rights. She argues that it is time to end race-
driven districting and that certain sections, especially Section 5, of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
are no longer needed.

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Debate Topics

Print
Debate Preparation Scoring Guide

CRITERIA 

NON-PERFORMANCE 

BASIC 

PROFICIENT 

DISTINGUISHED 

State position on the causes of a chosen debate topic using at least three well-developed arguments supported by psychological theories or research.

Does not state position on the causes of a chosen debate topic using at least three well-developed arguments supported by psychological theories or research.

States position on the causes of a chosen debate topic with poorly developed arguments that are not well supported by psychological theories or research.

States position on the causes of a chosen debate topic using at least three well-developed arguments supported by psychological theories or research.

States position on the causes of a chosen debate topic using at least three well-developed arguments supported by psychological theories and research. 

Identify counterarguments to the original argument, using psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support the counterarguments.

Does not identify counterarguments to the original position, using psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support the counterarguments.

Identifies counterarguments that vaguely or tangentially address the original position or may not reference appropriate psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support the counterarguments.

Identifies counterarguments to the original argument, using psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support the counterarguments.

Identifies counterarguments to the original position, using psychological theories and research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support the counterarguments. 

Identify rebuttals to counterarguments using psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support the rebuttals.

Does not identify rebuttals to counterarguments using psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support the rebuttals.

Identifies rebuttals to counterarguments that vaguely or tangentially address the counterarguments or may not reference appropriate psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support the rebuttals. 

Identifies rebuttals to counterarguments using psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support the rebuttals.

Identifies rebuttals to counterarguments using psychological theories and research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support the rebuttals. 

Assess the strength of the original position using psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support own views.

Does not assess the strength of the original position using psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support own views.

Reasserts but does not assess the strength of the original position using psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support own views.

Assesses the strength of the original position using psychological theories or research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support own views.

Assesses the strength of the original position using psychological theories and research in culture, ethnicity, and diversity to support own views. 

Cite scholarly evidence.

Does not cite scholarly evidence.

Cites scholarly evidence, with errors.

Cites scholarly evidence.

Cites scholarly evidence according to APA guidelines. 

Compose a text that articulates meaning relevant to the main topic, scope, and purpose of the prompt.

Composes a text unrelated to the assessment prompt.

Composes a text related to the assessment prompt, but does not demonstrate an understanding of the main topic, scope, and purpose.

Composes a text that articulates meaning relevant to the main topic, scope, and purpose of the prompt.

Presents a focused response to the assessment prompt and demonstrates a thorough understanding of the main topic, scope, and purpose. 

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