Report Roundup

Student Debates

"Urban Debate and High-School Educational Outcomes for African American Males: The Case of the Chicago Debate League"

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

African-American students who took part in one of the most time-honored school activities—debate leagues—had higher grade point averages, were more likely to graduate from high school, and were more college-ready in English and reading than those who did not take part, a study has found.

The study, published last month in the Journal of Negro Education, was based on a statistical analysis of the experiences of 2,500 students in the Chicago public schools who took part in at least one Chicago Debate League tournament out of a pool of 12,000 teenagers over a 10-year period. The study was completed by Briana Mezuk, an assistant professor in the school of medicine, department of epidemiology and community health, at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Not only was debate participation linked with higher achievement, but students also made stronger gains with more participation, the research shows. The study found that debaters shows gains in English and reading, but not in science and math, which suggested that debating helped build specific skills in reading comprehension, argumentation, use of evidence, and other areas, Ms. Mezuk said. While the students who enrolled in the debate activities brought stronger academic records, on average, than nondebaters, they were still relatively low-performing by state standards. Although the journal article focused on gains among black male students, improvements were seen among female students, too, the author said.

Vol. 29, Issue 10, Page 5

Published in Print: November 4, 2009, as Student Debates
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Vocabulary Development for Striving Readers

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >