About the Honor Society

The National Speech & Debate Association’s Honor Society recognizes middle school and high school students for participation in speech and debate activities. Students earn distinction through speech and debate competition, as well as community service, public speaking, and leadership activities. Members are eligible to join the Honor Society once they have earned the required number of points.

Members of the Honor Society are held to the Code of Honor, the highest standards of integrity, humility, respect, leadership, and service. These standards have been required of members since the organization was founded in 1925. Over the past 90 years, we’ve celebrated the achievements of more than 1.5 million alumni.

Students who are members of the National Speech & Debate Association honor society stand out in the college admissions process.

Katie Byrnes

College Counselor

Merit Points

To become a member of the National Speech & Debate Association’s Honor Society, student members must abide by the Code of Honor. High school and middle school students become members upon placement on their school roster.

Middle school memberships are $10 and cover 6th through 8th grade participation. High school memberships are $20 and are lifetime memberships, including membership in the collegiate speech and debate honor society, Pi Kappa Delta.

How to Earn Merit Points

Students may earn points by participating in a number of speech and debate activities including interscholastic competition, public speaking events, and service activities. The following tables are only examples. For a complete explanation of Honor Society points, see the Unified Manuals. Coaches may also consult our how-to guides with step-by-step instructions and animated GIFs with tips on managing your school’s account and team roster.

Debate

Debate Result Merit Points Earned
Winning a round of Debate
NSDA Events*: 6 in HS, 4 in MS
non-NSDA Events: 4
Losing a round of Debate NSDA Events: 3 in HS, 2 in MS
non-NSDA Events: 2

*NSDA "Main" Debate Events are Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, World Schools Debate, and Big Questions

 

Congress

8-pt scale 30-pt scale 60-100-pt scale Merit Pts/speech Tourn. place Merit Points Earned
8 28-30 97-100 6 1st 24
6-7 23-27 90-96 5 2nd 23
4-5 18-22 84-89 4 OR 3rd 22
3 13-17 77-83 3 4th 21
2 8-12 70-76 2 5th 20
1 1-7 60-69 1 (and so forth)

Speech

Rank Rating Rating Rating Grade Merit Points Earned
1 Superior 25 95-100 NSDA Events*: 6
non-NSDA Events: 5
2 Excellent 24 90-94 NSDA Events: 5
non-NSDA Events: 4
3 OR Good/Exceeds Expectations 20-23 71-89 A NSDA Events: 4
non-NSDA Events: 3
4 Fair/Meets Expectations 15-19 42-70 B NSDA Events: 3
non-NSDA Events: 2
5 or lower Average/Does Not Meet Expectations 10-14 10-41 C NSDA Events: 2
non-NSDA Events: 1
0-9** 0-9 0

*NSDA "Main" Speech Events are: Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Oratory, Humorous Interp, Dramatic Interp, Duo Interp, Program Oral Interp, and Informative Speaking

**Severe deficiency, and therefore, not worth any points

 

Service

Service Activity Merit Points Earned
Giving a speech to 25+ People 5 (per speech)
Judging a Novice/Middle School Round 2 (per round)
Coaching a Middle School practice 2 (per hour)
Acting in a High School play 5 (per performance)

Examples only. Additional rules and restrictions apply. See the unified manual for more details.

Degree Levels

The more points you earn for participating, the higher degrees and seals you will earn for your achievements.

Coaches are also recognized for their hard work and expertise in the Honor Society. All coaches earn 10% of the points recorded for their students. Coaches earn the same milestones as students until they earn 1,000 points and the Donus Roberts Quad Ruby Coach Award. Once coaches earn 1,500 points and have been coaching for at least five years, they will receive their first Diamond Award.

High School Degrees

Degree Points Certificate Seal
Member Less than 25 points None
Merit 25
Honor 75
Excellence 150
Distinction 250
Special Distinction 500
Superior Distinction 750
Outstanding Distinction 1,000
Premier Distinction 1,500

Middle School Degrees

Degree Points Certificate Seal
Member Less than 10 points
Participation 10
Recognition 50
Accomplishment 100
Achievement 200
Outstanding Achievement 400
Distinguished Achievement 650
Superior Achievement 1,000

We are part of something bigger than just the program at our school. Earning seals and degrees really provides an incentive for students to continue to work towards achieving their goals.

Jeffrey Stoppenhagen

Coach

| ProTip |

Induction Ceremony

If your chapter is planning an induction ceremony to recognize the newest members of your Honor Society, we encourage you to check out our editable invitation, program, and script templates, which can be tailored to fit your event!

Recognition

Every day, the National Speech & Debate Association works to connect, support, and inspire a diverse community committed to empowering students through competitive speech and debate. A big part of our mission is centered on celebrating the incredible achievements of our members. Use the links below to see some of the ways we honor our students, coaches, and schools!

Looking for more recognition?

Share This