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The Debate Impact

Research on the Positive Impact of Debate

Researchers at the University of Michigan, in partnership with NAUDL and the Houston Urban Debate League, have published results of a significant peer-reviewed study examining the relationship between debate participation and academic outcomes in the Houston Independent School District.

The study represents the largest investigation of its kind to date, with data sets on 35,788 high school students, including 1,145 debaters. (All results account for differential self-selection between debaters and non-debaters.) Findings suggest that competitive debate is associated with better academic outcomes and college-readiness for students.

The study was conducted by Tomohiro M. Ko, MPH, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, and Briana Mezuk, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan. 

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Research made possible by support from:

citi foundation rgb

Research brief 5

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