A comment about judging, comment sheets and the level of competition

Having this digital method of submitting projects means that students didn't get to see their competition. Due to intellectual property concerns, I will not be posting any of the applications. Category size ranged from 6-20 projects. In some categories there were up to 4 projects who had already been selected for ISEF from their regional fair. There were also many projects from GBSE and PPSSE who hadn't had any judging experience yet. As a result of this any participant who made the effort was advanced to NWSE. 168 projects were completed for competition. Each project was scored and ranked by 5-6 judges who were required to review all projects in their assigned category. After this ranking, virtual meetings were held where the judges discussed the combined ranking and decided who received the category awards. Each was led by a head judge with no connections to the participants being reviewed. All judges were also required to reveal any conflicts of interest. Decisions were made and forwarded to me. 

From the 15 categories, 18 projects were advanced to finalist judging. Students were interviewed through Zoom in a meeting with 5 judges and a moderator for Best of Fair and/or ISEF slots. For students being judged for both that meant 10 judges and 2 moderators at once.

Not being selected for category awards or finalist judging does not mean a student had a bad project. I know the time commitment involved in conducting a research project. The only reason a project didn't place is that another was better. This is especially hard to think about when you didn't get to see the other projects. Comment sheets were done through Google sheets, I will be collating these and emailing them to the registered adult sponsor to distribute. I hope to finish this on Monday, as stated in the award power point.

Stephanie Jones

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