Guidelines to Good Judging of Science Projects
Judging at MCSRC should begin with a good attitude and a desire to interact with students of various ages. Many of these students are our future scientists.
When judging you are looking for good research and the use of the scientific method.
Judging projects in MCSRC is best done by comparing projects to each other within your designated category and age group and not to external criteria. Please choose a single 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner as well as honorable mentions. We ask that you limit the number of HM to 10% of your category number. DO NOT GIVE TIES!
The Comment Sheets are extremely important. Please take time to complete at least one comment sheet for each student. Offer positive advice, suggestions for improvement and constructive criticism. Please do not give these to the students. The fair coordinators will sort them and distribute them to their sponsors.
Many projects will have been done before…but are probably new to the student. Look for exceptionally original projects and judge accordingly.
Some students will have had mentors or may have done projects in a lab or research facility. That’s OK, expected and even encouraged. Here it’s important to see if the student understands what she or he may have done and can explain it when questioned. Projects that were done in a research lab must have a 1C form at the table
Occasionally you will judge students who do continuation projects…experimentation that is ongoing for two or more years. This comes about because of a student interest, sometimes parent or mentor encouragement or perhaps you or another judge from the previous year(s). Again, this is a good thing. Look for form #7 at the table.
It may happen that you will be judging in a category where you know someone. This is especially likely if you are a teacher-judge and have students in a large number of categories. Please do not judge your own students. You may disqualify yourself from interviewing and giving input to discussion where your own students are present. Be fair!
Under no circumstances should a parent judge his/her own son or daughter. Likewise, a mentor should not judge in a category where his/her mentored students is present.
Please keep your interview time the same for each student (5 to 10 minutes). Try to be consistent. Also, remember, this is an interview, not a presentation.
There is no Team Category but there will be some teams in many of the science categories. For team projects – each member should have a key role in the research and be familiar with the work of the others.
Most Importantly – Our goal is to have the students leaving, knowing more than when they arrived. We want them to feel good about themselves and their project. This should be a positive experience for them. Bear this in mind when offering constructive criticism. Picking a 1st, 2nd or 3rd is secondary to guiding and teaching.