UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


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Duffin Wong 2020


Anecdotally, it is a widely accepted notion in the United States’ collegiate competitive speech and debate community that a competitor’s strong record of competitive performance in the activity at the high school level is a powerful predictor of similar success in the activity at the collegiate level. However, no evidence has been brought to bear supporting this claim. This paper uses the universe of American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament results from 2013 to 2018 and links collegiate competitors to their respective high school performance data. I demonstrate evidence that high school experience does, in fact, appear to play a role in determining success at the collegiate level; however, it is far less impactful than experience at the collegiate level, and these effects vary across collegiate teams.