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Fed Challenge: Clarification of Rules

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  1. Teams should consist of 3 to 5 students. This has been a standard feature of the competition since its inception. In the past, there were occasional inconsistencies regarding the presence of a sixth student who would operate the PowerPoint, spectators, and even the suitability of the faculty advisor’s presence during judging. As a result, the consensus is that this rule should be interpreted in its most narrow construction. The only individuals to be allowed into the room during the presentation are the 3 to 5 team members and the judges. Faculty advisors should not be allowed into the room. This is due to the fact that faculty serving as judges know many of the faculty advisors. This can lead to a variety of biases and pressures in judging. Consequently it is decided that in order to assure that all teams are judged on a level playing field, that the faculty advisors should remain out of sight. Spectators or additional students (in non-speaking roles) used to operate the presentation are prohibited.
  2. The issue of whether a team’s script should be fully memorized or read during the presentation has arisen in the past. The advisory board does not believe that an explicit rule needs to be created to address this effectively. Instead the following guidance should be given to both judges and students: while there is no explicit penalty for reading from a script, judges will be assessing the team’s knowledge, command of concepts and information used in the presentation. Judges should allocate a portion of the subsequent question and answer period to ensure that the team has a thorough understanding of the presentation content in order to preclude the possibility that students are not simply functioning as actors but are rather in command of the creation, organization, and analysis of the presentation material. However, it should be noted that all other things being equal, a team reading from a written script would be highly unlikely to surpass a team that does not rely on a strict reading from a written script.
  3. The question of whether or not it is permissible for teams to record their presentations and the follow-up question and answer period with the judges is resolved explicitly and affirmatively. Teams are welcome to record their presentations. There is an educational value attached to the recording as well as the creation of a valuable feedback loop for current and future team members and faculty advisors. If a team wishes to record their presentation, they must use one of the presenting team members to record the presentation or use an unmanned recording device. If technical difficulties occur or if equipment set-up becomes too time consuming, judges reserve the right to instruct the team to begin their presentation without the recording equipment activated.
  4. Although it is currently suggested as part of a team’s presentation, the need for a required mock FOMC statement in hard copy format that can be distributed to the judges prior to the presentation must be reemphasized. In the past some teams have followed this procedure while others have not. Many experienced judges have come to expect it as an integral part of the team’s preparation and performance. Teams should be reminded to keep this and other printed materials free of any school logos, emblems, or other sources of identification so as not to incur the two point school identification penalty. We understand that while some teams may choose formats other than a mock FOMC meeting, learning about central bank communications, transparency, and accountability is an important educational aspect of the competition. Teams which choose not to use the mock FOMC meeting format should not be required to explicitly convey the statement in their presentation. However, the statement will be considered part of the overall presentation and as such be broadly consistent with the data and views presented by the team. It should also be considered fair game for judge’s questions.