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How to Judge Expository

Basic Understanding

Expository is an informative speech in which the speaker will provide insights and explore interesting implications on a topic of their choice. Speeches are memorized and up to 5 minutes in length with a 30 second grace period. There are no visual aids in Expository. Speakers may choose little known topics to shed light on or well known topics that they have a new perspective on.


While Expository speeches are all different, the structure should provide a framework for the audience to understand the topic. Each main point should explore a specific aspect of the topic the student is presenting. Research is an important component. All claims should be backed up with evidence that verifies the information the speaker is conveying. If a student has presented two or three components of the topic in an educational and logically sound manner, it is likely they have displayed an adept command of structure.

Evaluating the Round

There are three key areas to consider when evaluating Expository.

First, relevance: to assess the relevance of the speaker’s Expository, focus on the timeliness of their topic. Gauge whether the student has done an adequate job of explaining why this topic should be discussed at this point in time. This can happen in a multitude of ways. Pay attention to how the topic is framed within the speaker’s introduction. If the thesis of the Expository speech enables you to understand why this topic should be examined now, then they have accomplished a significant goal.

Second, relatability: relatability is how the speaker connects the audience to the topic. The speaker should use inclusive rhetoric, giving the audience the sensation that they are affected by the topic. Logical evidence supporting this sentiment should be given throughout the speech. Judges should consider whether they are personally educated and examine whether they feel the student educated the audience.

Third, originality: when evaluating originality, it is important to note that there are few truly original topics. Instead, consider how inventively the speaker addresses the topic. Judges ought to consider whether the rhetoric is unique, as well as how new and exciting the approach is to the topic.

Filling Out the Ballot

Performers are ranked compared to the other students in their room with the best performance receiving the one ranking. The judge may also assign speaker points, typically in a range from 90 to 100, with 100 being outstanding. The judge writes on the ballot how the speaker can improve (e.g., eye contact, clarity, emotion, etc.) and what the student did well. This is an educational activity and all feedback is welcome. Please make sure the feedback is constructive and not merely critical. When writing feedback, consider: Is the topic timely? Is the thesis clearly established? Does the delivery assist in establishing the importance of the topic? Can the audience relate to the topic? Is the delivery personable? Does the speaker establish how others are impacted by the topic? Does the speaker do a good job informing? Does the speaker address the topic in a unique, inventive way? Are the supporting examples new and interesting?