ALoU in practice

For anyone not familiar with the ALoU Generating Tool; A=Advantages, L=Limitations, o=ways to overcome obstacles,
and U=Unique opportunities. Here is ALoU in action as the Board and Administration applied it to taking a critical look
at how we might improve our competitions and be better prepared for future challenges.

ADVANTAGES of submitting the written work prior to the onsite competition date:

Shorter onsite State Competition day.

  • Students would get more rest in preparation for the competitions.
  • Evaluators would be better rested and have more time to better serve the students by having the time to give high
    quality feedback to help students to improve their skills.
  • Saves money for teams who have had Hotel costs. The shorter day would most likely mean that teams can easily
    do all of their travel on the same day.

Less set up time and costs:

  • No need to set up gyms with tables and chairs the night before.
  • No need for the extra volunteers needed to supervise the onsite competition. Each year it’s harder to get enough
    volunteers. We often have inconsistencies during the competition because volunteers have misunderstood the
  • No need for the extra volunteers to take the tables and chairs in the gym down.
  • Less expense to the program for the Facilities Fees.

Fewer Volunteers needed:

  • Because the evaluators will have the written scored prior to the onsite date, some of our Evaluators will be able to
    Judge PAP. This will allow more coaches to see their students’ performances.
  • Each year there is a decrease in parent volunteers. Some coaches simply can’t get volunteers. Some parents sign
    up and cancel at the last minute. Some volunteers just never show up.

Having two weeks between writing and presenting, teams will have more time to plan and prepare the presentation of
their idea. Their presentation could be more complete with a beginning (why) a middle (what) and the end (how).

  • Props completed ahead of time – less mess at state
  • More balanced team participation
  • Time to practice and be more comfortable in their presentation to better sell their idea
  • After presenting round 1, teams can have a more relaxed lunch, visit CmPS booths, experience Scenario
    Writing, experience Scenario Writing, and will not feel rushed or tired due to less stress that day.
  • This would be more like IC in regard to more time to prepare and to more fully participate in the FPS

LIMITATIONS / Ideas how to Overcome the limitations

A part of another day, a Friday or Saturday might create another possible conflict for students in other activities.

  • This might be overcome by making sure that students/families have the calendar in hand at the beginning of the
  • This change will be shared prior to the start of the school year to help people prepare.

Monitoring the Competitions to avoid cheating:

  • As it is, we have problems with consistency with our volunteer monitors. We send out detailed instructions and
    provide training. We even have a lead for them to turn to if they are not sure. Yet, at the end of the day we’ve
    found everything from a monitor allowing the use of a phone simply because a student confidently tells them that
    their coach said it was okay to a student actually being so disrespectful when asked to put their phone in the
    designated spot that the volunteer gives up.
  • WAYS to Overcome this obstacle: The Honor Code is about all that we have that anyone has when it comes to
    online competitions. Keep in mind that people who have cheating in mind, will always find a way to cheat, even
    onsite. (As stated above.) Notes have been smuggled in. They were DQ’d. The interesting part is that for all of the
    notes in hand, they would not have made the holistic round of evaluation.

The time between the written competition and the PAP could throw teams off.

  • Teams will need to be ready to perform when they get to the Onsite competition.
  • Teams will need to have their regularly scheduled coaching sessions.
  • Props will need to be ready and their presentation will have to be done before arriving on-site


Ways to overcome the challenges noted by Lisa Sauer, our PAP Coordinator, would be that the regular weekly practice
that takes place in between the written work and the onsite work would be for the students to make their PAP presentation
the focus of their practice. They can be planning ahead and making their props. During the 20 minutes of final prep at the
onsite competition, they can actually practice their presentation with their props. This would help to keep their UP and
Action Plan fresh in their minds.

UNIQUE opportunities
In my (Cheryl Whitesitt) 34 years of being an evaluator, at every level, Regionals, State, and IC, the evaluators have not
had the time to catch mistakes or glitches. We’ve had mistakes that were missed on paper. While some of the mistakes
flowed into the electronic evaluations, some were fixed. Although, the electronic version created new things to be

One of the major Unique Opportunities would be the gift of TIME to catch these errors. After every evaluation, Adam,
our Evaluation Director, and I receive word of errors. Coaches have been VERY patient and understanding as we’ve
worked through them. We’d much rather get these fixed before the Awards have been announced.

Improved consistency of evaluations.

Everyone is on the same playing field because all of the work is typed.
The evaluators can read the work much more easily. We’ve all had work that we simply scored a “Perhaps” simply
because we could not read it.

We can give attention to CmPS, Scenario Writing, and Scenario Performance.

PAP’s may vastly improve.

  • The final product may have a clearer story line and teams may feel much better about this part of the competition.
  • Teams will also have the opportunity to add more detail to their script as well as their props.
  • Audience members watching will have a better idea of what the presentation is all about.

The areas teams score the most points are relationship to the action plan, persuasiveness, and creativity.

  • Working on the PAP ahead of time will increase points scored in these categories.

any questions? Ask!

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