Document Type


Date of Award



School of Communication (SOC)

Degree Name

MA in Communication

First Advisor

Eui Bun Lee


The purpose of the study was to examine the perceived values and attitudes toward the speech and debate clubs among high school students. Additional purpose of the study was to determine the positive impact of such clubs on critical thinking and overall communication skills. A total of 157 high school students in Texas participated in the online survey. The survey instrument included demographic information and background academic questions such as the number of AP courses and academic performance at school. In order to get further information, five students were personally interviewed by using six item interview protocol. Results of the online survey suggested an overwhelmingly positive appraisal of the speech and debate clubs. About 90% of the participants said that participating in the debate club improved their critical thinking. Nearly 85% of the respondents felt that they gained additional knowledge from the club activities. Nearly 91 % of the students felt that they improved speaking skills, while 88% improved written skills. 1 2 Finally, 83% of the respondents that are participating in the debate club agree participation decreases the drop-out rate from high school. . Few studies are available on the positive impact of forensics on minority high school students. The researcher recommends future studies focus on minority students who come from homes that do not use English as their main language. The researcher also recommends further study as school officials and coaches help these students experience the beneficial impact of forensic activities on retention