What is NSDA?




The National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational honor society founded in 1925. It is the oldest, largest, and most recognized speech and debate association in the U.S., and their national tournaments are the largest in the world. By 2011, it had 120,000 student members; 3,500 coaches;  and 1.4 million alumi.

NFL alumi are known for their prominence and influence in the U.S. A few names from the 1.4 million alumi are: Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Samuel Alito; media visionaries Oprah Winfrey and Ted Turner; actors Brad Pitt and Renee Zellweger; TV personalities Stephen Colbert and Tom Lennon; and Senators Richard Lugar, Russ Feingold, and William Frist.

The National Speech Tournament has been held continuously since 1931 (except during World War II). NFL encourages improvement of students by awarding NFL points and granting degrees for participating in contests. NFL points are highly respected and recognized by the U.S. universities, and the statistics show that NFL students are the top 5% of their classes, perform better in all standardized exams such as SAT, and have 22 – 30% higher chance of being accepted to the top notch universities in the U.S. Contests are held in the following areas:

  1. public forum debate
  2. policy debate
  3. value debate
  4. legislative debate
  5. U.S. topic extemporaneous speaking
  6. foreign topic extemporaneous speaking
  7. original oratory
  8. interpretation of dramatic literature
  9. interpretation of humorous literature
  10. duo interpretation
  11. commentary
  12. impromptu speaking
  13. prose reading
  14. poetry reading
  15. expository speaking
  16. storytelling

National finals must be qualified by students competing in one of the 103 NFL districts. If Asian Debate League (ADL) can recruit, train, and host a debate tournament of a minimum of six (6) participating schools in Taiwan, NFL is willing to recognize Taiwan as one of its official districts. This means, ADL students without the need of traveling to the U.S. can become an NFL member, compete in Taiwan, and still earn NFL points.

Colleges care about “which” tournament you participated in. The reason why NSDA is such a big name in the U.S. has all to do with their amazingly long history of over 90 years and distinguished alumni.

NSDA (the U.S. National Speech & Debate Association) is a huge name recognition for U.S. college applications.

Here is a video link to help you understand about NSDA: 

More About NSDA

Higher test scores, improved retention, and increased graduation/college admission

Higher College admissions by a Yale Professor

Gains in writing and literacy Test Scores

Peters, T. L. (2009). An investigation into the relationship between participation in competitive forensics and standardized test scores. Rostrum, 84(2), 37-51.

Gifted and talented education (GATE): acceleration, enrichment, and mentorship.

Debate in the classroom leads to academic performance

The cognitive and academic benefits of forensics – speech and debate is critical to a well-rounded educational experience.

  • Enriching Education
  • National Forensic League. (2009). Enriching Education. Ripon, WI: Author.

Discipline and organization, writing and speaking skills, critical thinking, and resilience

The importance of forensics on a broad level, covering such topics as emotional maturity, community engagement, political participation, productivity, and quality of life.

The benefits of forensics to students, regardless of their level of competitive success

  • You Don’t Have to Win Nationals
  • Billman, J. (2008). You don’t have to win nationals: Cognitive, professional, and interpersonal benefits of forensics to student participants. Rostrum, 82(7), 35-37.

The positive impacts of forensics on middle level students

The benefits of debate for school administrators and board members

  • Letter in support of NFL speech and debate by Executive Director J. Scott Wunn.
  • Wunn, J.S. (2012). Advocacy Letter. National Forensic League: Ripon, WI.
  • Letter in support of NFL speech and debate by President William W. Tate, Jr.
  • Tate, W. W. (2012). Advocacy Letter. National Forensic League: Ripon, WI.
  • Letter in support of NFL speech and debate by Vice President Don Crabtree.
  • Crabtree, D. (2012). Advocacy Letter. National Forensic League: Ripon, WI.

Benefits of debate education in teaching literacy

Scholastic impacts of speech and debate

The positive outcomes of forensic education

Messages from the National Association of Secondary School Principals

The NFL history, services, events, and awards

  • Find Your Voice
  • National Forensic League. (2012). Find Your Voice. Ripon, WI: Author.

The mission/vision of the NFL, key benefits of forensics, services to members and coaches, and how to join the League

Financial support of forensics in a civil society, likening speech and debate to competitive sports

Read more from http://www.nationalforensicleague.org

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