Case Review: Check List

March 2014 Resolved: 

Single-gender classrooms would improve the quality of education in American public schools.

Based on the cases I have received thus far, I am going to start off Case Review with a basic case check list. These requirements apply for all cases, no matter what the topic. Use this checklist after you write a case to make sure you have covered all your bases. 
  1. You must provide a source for all of your definitions. You cannot define a word and not cite the dictionary or publication you are using – that is plagiarism. Also, you should never make up definitions for words.
  2. Define key terms in the resolution. For this resolution, it is especially important to define “quality of education” and how you plan on measuring quality in specific terms.
  3. What you advocate must be the resolution. You cannot make the resolution more specific or broad – you must use the given terms. One affirmative case specified their advocacy as: “Opt-In Single Gender Classrooms within Co-educational K through 12 American Public Schools.” Adding “opt-in” and “within Co-educational K through 12 American Public Schools” modifies the resolution and narrows the topic. This is not fair. The affirmative could argue, however, that arguments regarding opt-in classrooms or classrooms within a co-ed environment is within the resolution. You cannot say that this specific advocacy is the resolution though.
  4. Keep you language simple. Here is an example of Resolutional Analysis that is too long and wordy: “Due to the word “would” and “classroom” we, the affirmation, must prove theoretically that there would be a net-benefit to public education with single-gender classrooms.  Thus, any arguments based solely upon single-gender schools or that do not pertain to the quality of education are non-topical.” This repetitive structure could be simplified to: “The Affirmative must prove a net-benefit from single-gender classrooms. There is no burden to discuss single-gender schools nor impacts outside of the quality of education.” Simpler, easier to understand, and easier to read.
  5. Observations include all analysis and framework. Observations are not meant to give general topic information or evidence. This background should be integrated into your points or arguments.
  6. A full citation of evidence is not just a source name You must at least provide a year of publication. Have the full MLA or APA citation ready in your case. If you are quoting evidence, make sure you identify what is quoted and what is summarized.
  7. Paint a picture with your arguments. Do not simple give evidence and state impacts. Make sure everything is pieced together with clear transitions and explanations. If you repeat over and over about improved test scores, but do not tell us what this says about the quality of education, we are getting bits and pieces, not pictures.
  8. You points/arguments must be mutually exclusive. If your first point is the argument and your second point is empirical evidence proving that argument, condense the points and select the most compelling evidence that you have to support it. Write a new second point.
  9. You must explain if your evidence is correlative or causational. If you evidence controls for other variables it is more likely to prove causation. In the case of March’s resolution, this means proving single-gender classrooms cause some type of educational impact. Correlation means that single-gender classrooms may cause some educational impact.
  10. Each point’s tagline must be a complete thought. “Gender Gap” is not a tagline. “Single-Gender Classrooms increase the Gender Gap in student success” is a complete thought.
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