Common Core

Debate teaches and reinforces several standards in the Common Core curriculum: speaking, listening, and literacy in social studies. We refer to these skills that debate teaches as the “PEAR” skills, each of which is a Common Core standard or a group of standards.

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GPAs and Graduation

Urban Debate League debaters have better grades and are far more likely to graduate high school than non-debaters, as decades worth of data now confirm. As one researcher summarized after studying data from multiple U.D.L.s across the United States, “Two results are clear–debaters achieve significantly higher grades and intend to attend college at a substantially greater rate than their non-debating peers”.

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College admission, College readiness, & Standardized tests

Research has confirmed repeatedly that debaters (a) have an advantage in college admissions and (b) are more likely to meet college readiness benchmarks, as measured by standardized test scores.

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Students

Leadership, Empowerment, & Non-Cognitive Outcomes

Debaters are more likely to use their newly developed communication skills to solve conflicts without resorting to violence; to become more connected to their peers and school; to further raise their awareness of social and political issues; and to see themselves as empowered leaders of their communities.

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Teacher Education

While the other benefits listed here apply to students, it’s important to realize that teachers also benefit enormously from their participation in debate. The PUDL gives teachers extensive training in techniques for teaching debate, enhancing their professionalism and skill set. Most of these skills cross over to teaching English and to teaching writing.

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