Judging Procedures

Step 1 - Arrival Procedure and Judges’ Briefing Session (7:15 - 7:45am):

On arrival, please check in and pick up your judge’s nametag. If you cannot find your judge’s nametag, please go to the registration table and one will be made for you. Help yourself to a complimentary continental style breakfast. There will be a short briefing session that will include a review of the judging criteria and procedures, a description of the layout of the exhibits in the Biden Center, identification of your fair coordinators as well as information about your team meeting. This is a great time to ask any additional questions that you may still have about your responsibility as a member of a judging team.

Step 2 - Team Meetings (7:45 - 8:00am):

Judges will be divided into teams and be assigned to judge science fair projects submitted by students from the 6th through the 12th grades from schools located throughout Sussex County. The number of judges assigned per team will depend on the number of science projects entered per grade level. The goal is to have each judging team have less than 10 projects to review and judge. The Fair Coordinator in charge of the judges will assign a lead judge for each of the judging teams. If you are not assigned to judge the category of your choice, it is because we need you in another area and we greatly appreciate your flexibility.

Step 3 – Survey of Assigned Grade Level (8:00 - 9:30am):

In the morning, no students will be at their exhibits. You should begin by trying to get a general estimate of the quality of the research that your team would be judging so that you will have some frame of reference to decide which may be the better projects. Remember that you are comparing the projects with each other and not with similar projects from past years or other fairs. Some projects are continued over several years, but only the current year’s work should be considered in the judging process. Some projects are conducted in a specialized laboratory. This in itself should not be considered as either an advantage or a disadvantage in the evaluation process. Consider only the work actually conducted by the student.

Step 5 – Break, Student Interview Preparation (9:30 to 9:45am):

Step 6 – Student Interviews (9:45 to 11:15am):

The student interview should be taken into strong consideration when evaluating the student’s project . Avoid taking notes in front of the students. Most students say they enjoy talking to the judges and it is the high point of their overall science fair experience! Some students may begin with a 2 to 3 minute overview, but you may ask questions during or after their presentation. Consider having one member of the interviewing team to act as the timekeeper who will stop the interview when the allotted time has expired. Divide the first 30 minutes between the projects on your primary list and divide the remaining 45 minutes among all of the other projects at that grade level. Please follow this schedule closely so that all students receive their full time.

No student should be passed over regardless of what the team might think of his or her project.

• Questions You May Not Ask Of A Student

1.      His/Her last name.
2.      The school he/she attends.
3.      Their teachers name.

• Some Topics You May Want To Cover With The Student

1.      Why the student picked that project?
2.      What did the student learn from the background search on their project?
3.      Who are some of the authorities in the field and how have they influenced the project the student is researching?
4.      Can the student explain the control, constants, and variables that were used for their research?
5.      How long has the student worked on their project and how and where did they conduct their research?
6.      Can the student list practical applications for their project?
7.      Is the student planning to continue their research on this project?
8.      Are there any areas that we have not discussed that you, the student, feel are important?
9.      Does the student have any questions for you, the judge?

Step 7 – Working Lunch and Deliberations (11:15 to 12:30am)

• The Lead Judge will chair the deliberations for all judges at the same grade level. The first three places will be determined by a consensus of the judges based on the project score sheets, interviews and presentations. One and up to four Honorable Mentions may also be awarded at each grade level but only if the student’s science fair project actually warrants an honorable mention.

• Please fill out a judges comment sheet for each project. You are responsible for the comment sheets for the projects that are assigned to you. Other judges in your group may also add comments if they wish.

• When a group consensus has been reached, the Lead Judge fills in the winners sheet that indicates the project’s number, the title of the project, as well as which project placed first, second and third as well as any honorable mentions. The winners’ sheet along with the student comment sheets should be turned into one of the Fair Committee organizers. Please deposit your worksheets in the box provided for disposal.

All judges are welcomed to attend the award ceremony held at 12:30 PM