Judging Criteria

What Are You Judging?

You are judging the quality of work done on a student’s research project in science, technology, mathematics or engineering. The project must involve laboratory, field or theoretical work, not only library research. The project should have a clear hypothesis, a research plan and a conclusion. Their actual display is of lesser importance. The project should be compared and judged with all of the other projects in the same grade level on the actual day of judging and you must not consider other similar projects from past fairs or past experiences.


Priority is to be given to Creative Ability, Scientific Thought or Engineering Goals. Thoroughness, Skill and Clarity of understanding should also be considered. The following weights are given as a guide, but your decisions will be by consensus of your judging team.

         Creative Ability                                             30%
         Scientific Thought/Engineering Goals           30%
         Thoroughness                                               15%
         Skill                                                                 15%
         Clarity                                                             10%

Creative Ability:

Does the project show creative ability and originality by:
      • The actual questions asked?
      • The approach used to answering the question?
      • The collection and analysis of the data?
      • The proper interpretation of the data?
      • The use of instruments?
      • The design or construction of new instruments?


     • Was the question clearly stated?
     • Was the question sufficiently limited to allow plausible attack?
     • Was there an organized procedure for obtaining results?
     • Were the variables clearly recognized and defined?
     • If controls were needed, were they correctly used?
     • Were there adequate data to support the conclusion?
     • Does the student recognize the data's limitations?
     • Does the student understand the project's ties to related research?
     • Does the student have an idea of what further research is warranted?
     • Did the student cite scientific literature, or popular literature?


     • Does the student have the required laboratory, computational, observational and design skills to obtain supporting data?
      • Where was the project done?
     • What assistance did the student receive from parents, teachers, scientists or engineers? (Work in a special facility is appropriate, however you will be assessed regarding your skills used.)
      • Did the student use, build, design special equipment or procedures as opposed to having others do this for them?
      • Is the display well designed and constructed?


     • How clearly can the student discuss the project and explain the project's purpose, procedures and conclusions? (Be alert to rote presentations that reflect little understanding of principles.)
      • Are the important phases of the project presented in an orderly fashion?
      • How clearly are the data and results presented?
      • How well does the display explain itself? Does it attract attention?
      • What parts of the display were created by the student? What parts were designed or created by others?