Judging Criteria

Judges will use one of the following criteria to evaluate and rank projects. 

ISEF Judging Guidelines for High School

Middle School Criteria for Judging Science Projects for NWSES

NWSE Digital Judging Guidelines 2021

 

ISEF Judging Guidelines for High School

All criteria, with the exception of the interview, can be evaluated by judges before the interview.  The judges’
evaluation of the project may change as a result of the interview and may result in making some adjustment in their prior allocation of points.  Judges should examine the student notebook and, if present, any special forms such as Form 1C (Regulated Research Institution/Industrial Setting) and Form 7 (Continuation). 

  • Creativity:   A creative project demonstrates imagination and inventiveness.  Such projects often offer different perspectives that open up new possibilities or new alternatives.   Judges should place emphasis on project outcomes in evaluating creativity. 
  • Presentation/Interview:  The interview provides the opportunity to interact with the finalists and evaluate their understanding of the project’s basic science, interpretation and limitations of the results and conclusions.   If the project was done at a research or industrial facility, the judge should determine the degree of independence of the finalist in conducting the project, which is documented on Form 1C and Form 2.  If the project was completed at home or in a school laboratory, the judge should determine if the finalist received any mentoring or professional guidance.  If the project is a multi-year effort, the interview should focus ONLY on the current year’s work.  Judges should review the project’s abstract and Form 7 (ISEF Continuation Projects) to clarify what progress was completed this year.  Please note that both team and individual projects are judged together, and projects should be judged only on the basis of their quality. However, to qualify as a team project, all members should demonstrate significant contributions to and an understanding of the project.

 

Judging
Criteria for Science Projects

I.  Research Question (10 pts)

  ­­­­___ clear and focused purpose

  ___ identifies contribution to field of study

  ___ testable using scientific methods

 

II.  Design and Methodology (15 pts)

  ___ well designed plan and data collection methods

  ___ variables and controls defined, appropriate and complete  

 

III.  Execution:  Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation  (20 pts)

  ­­­___ systematic data collection and analysis

  ___ reproducibility of results

  ___ appropriate application of mathematical and statistical methods

  ___ sufficient data collected to support interpretation and  conclusions

   

IV.  Creativity (20 pts)

  ___ project demonstrates significant creativity in one or more of the above criteria

 

V.    Presentation  (35 pts)

   a. Poster 10 pts)

   ___ logical organization of material

   ___ clarity of graphics and legends

   ___ supporting documentation displayed

   b. Interview (25 pts)

   ___ clear, concise, thoughtful responses to questions

   ___ understanding of basic science relevant to project

   ___ understanding interpretation and limitations of results and conclusions

      _ degree of independence in conducting project

   ___ recognition of potential impact in science, society and/or economics

   ___ quality of ideas for further research

   ___ for team projects, contributions to and understanding of project by all members

 

Judging Criteria for Engineering Projects

 

I. Research Problem  (10 pts)

  ___ description of a practical need or problem to be solved

  ___ definition of criteria for proposed solution

  ___ explanation of problem constraints

 

II.  Design and Methodology (15 pts)

  ___ exploration of alternatives to answer need and or problem

  ___ identification of a solution

  ___ development of a prototype/model

 

III.  Execution: Construction and Testing (20 pts)

  ___ prototype demonstrates intended design

  ___ prototype has been tested in multiple conditions/trials

  ___ prototype demonstrates engineering skill and completeness

 

IV.  Creativity (20 pts)

  ___ project demonstrates significant creativity in one or more of the above criteria

 

V.    Presentation (35 pts)

   a. Poster (10 pts)

   ___logical organization of material

   ___clarity of graphics and legends

   ___ supporting documentation displayed

   b. Interview (25 pts)

   ___ clear, concise, thoughtful responses to questions

   ___ understanding of basic science relevant to project

   ___ understanding interpretation and limitations of results and conclusions

      _ degree of independence in conducting project

   ___ recognition of potential impact in science, society and/or economics

   ___ quality of ideas for further research

   ___ for team projects, contributions to and understanding of project by all members

Middle School Criteria for Judging Science Projects for NWSES

 1) Selection of research question by formulation and statement of hypothesis or problem.

  • Shows originality and creativity-whose idea was this?
  • Clear statement and appropriate scope of question to be investigated
  • Is this a continuation project? If so, has there been an expansion of the concept?

2) Experimental design and appropriate use of materials and methods

  • Clear definition of variables and use of controls
  • Sufficient description and understanding of methods used

3) Collection and analysis of data

  • Appropriate and sufficient data collected to provide conclusions
  • Appropriate number of replicates done
  • Appropriate statistical tests used to analyze data

4) Interpretation of findings and relationship to previous work in the field

  • Understanding of the meaning of the data
  • Limitations of the design, data collection, and interpretation
  • Relationship of the results to prior knowledge

5) Communication of findings in writing, graphically, and orally

  • Design and appearance of poster
  • Clarity of graphics and legends, ease of following the story
  • Appropriate ratio of text to graphics for the particular project
  • Clarity and depth of oral presentation and discussion
  • Facility and knowledge shown during questioning
  • Clarity and thoroughness of notebook and written paper

6) Understanding of research question and findings, and appropriate contributions to the project

  • How did this project extend our knowledge of the field?
  • What are some potential next steps in further exploring the question?
  • If the project was carried out in a major research facility, what were the original contributions of the student to the thinking and the experimental work?
  • If a team project, did team members contribute equally?

Middle School Criteria for Judging Engineering Projects for NWSES

1) Selection of engineering project by formulation of problem and criteria for solution.

  • Shows originality and creativity-whose idea was this?
  • Clear statement and appropriate scope of problem to be investigated
  • Is this a continuation project? If so, has there been an expansion of the concept?

2) Experimental design and appropriate use of materials and methods

  • Clear definition of variables and use of controls
  • Sufficient description and understanding of methods used
  • Generation of several possible solutions to the problem

3) Collection and analysis of data

  • Appropriate and sufficient data collected to provide conclusions
  • Appropriate number of replicates done
  • Appropriate statistical tests used to analyze data
  • Incorporation of appropriate modifications for repeated testing

4) Interpretation of findings and relationship to previous work in the field

  • Understanding of the meaning of the data
  • Limitations of the design, data collection, interpretation
  • Have the solutions been tested in the real world?
  • Is this solution an improvement over previous work?

5) Communication of findings in writing, graphically, and orally

  • Design and appearance of poster
  • Clarity of graphics and legends, ease of following the story
  • Appropriate ratio of text to graphics for the particular project
  • Clarity and depth of oral presentation and discussion
  • Facility and knowledge shown during questioning
  • Clarity and thoroughness of notebook and written paper

6) Understanding of design problem and findings, and appropriate contributions to the project

  • How did this project potentially solve the problem?
  • What are some alternative steps that might be tried?
  • If the project was carried out in a major research facility, what were the original contributions of the student to the thinking and the experimental work?
  • If a team project, did team members contribute equally?

Scoring

In the middle school division each project should be ranked in these six categories with a range of 1-5 for each, where:

1 = lacking
2 = adequate
3 = good
4 = very good
5 = outstanding

NWSE Digital Judging Guidelines 2021

The judging guidelines have been adapted to align with the instructions the students were given for making their presentations. The usual ISEF criteria are shown in parentheses for each criterion. The judging worksheet lists the ISEF criteria.

Because we are asking each judge to view all of the projects in their category, we have simplified the scoring system, as follows:

1) lacking

2) adequate

3) good-very good

4) exceptional

With the digital format, you will be seeing a digital poster or slide deck, the research plan and a video presentation.  Criteria are the topics students were asked to consider in their video. Listed below are areas to think about for each criterion, as relevant. Students will also have copies of their required forms and a Judge Question page in their folder. Some may also have a digital logbook.  Do not penalize students for what they do not provide; judge how well they did with what they provided.

Judging Criteria for Science Projects-Virtual

I.   Details, Impact, Hypothesis  (Research question)


  •   clear and focused purpose


  •   identifies contribution to field of study


  •   testable using scientific methods

II.  Procedures (Design and methodology)


  •   well designed plan and data collection methods


  •   variables and controls defined, appropriate and complete  

III.  Data and conclusions  (Execution: Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation)


  •   systematic data collection and analysis


  •   reproducibility of results


  •   appropriate application of mathematical and statistical methods


  •   sufficient data collected to support interpretation and conclusions  

IV.  Inspiration/Creativity (Creativity) 


  • project demonstrates significant creativity in one or more of the above criteria

A creative project demonstrates imagination and inventiveness.  Such projects often offer different perspectives that open up new possibilities or new alternatives.  Judges should place emphasis on project outcomes that were positively affected by creativity throughout the project. Credit may be given to reward a unique path that inspired the project idea, demonstrating independent and original thinking.

V.    Presentation 

   a. Poster/Slide deck  Do not count low resolution against a student.


  •    logical organization of material


  •    clarity of graphics and legends


  •    supporting documentation displayed

   b. Video 


  •    Understanding: of basic science relevant to project


  •    Changes: understanding interpretation and limitations of results and conclusions


  •    Favorite: the favorite moment in research that draws you in 


  •    Impact: recognition of potential impact in science, society and/or economics


  •   Next: quality of ideas for further research

Judging Criteria for Engineering Projects - Virtual

I. Details, Impact, Criteria/Hypothesis (Research Problem)  

  description of a practical need or problem to be solved

  definition of criteria for proposed solution

  explanation of problem constraints

II.  Procedures/Methods (Design and Methodology)


  •  exploration of alternatives to answer need and or problem


  •   identification of a solution


  •   development of a prototype/model

III.  Data, Conclusions (Execution: Construction and Testing)


  •  prototype demonstrates intended design


  •   prototype has been tested in multiple conditions/trials


  •   prototype demonstrates engineering skill and completeness  

IV.  Inspiration (Creativity) 


  • project demonstrates significant creativity in one or more of the above criteria

A creative project demonstrates imagination and inventiveness.  Such projects often offer different perspectives that open up new possibilities or new alternatives.  Judges should place emphasis on project outcomes that were positively affected by creativity throughout the project. Credit may be given to reward a unique path that inspired the project idea, demonstrating independent and original thinking.

V.    Presentation 

   a. Poster/Slide deck Do not count low resolution against a student.


  •    logical organization of material


  •    clarity of graphics and legends


  •    supporting documentation displayed

   b. Video


  •  Independence in conducting project


  • Understanding of basic science relevant to project


  • Changes: understanding interpretation and limitations of results and conclusions, entitled 


  •  Favorite: the favorite moment in research that draws you in 


  •  Impact: recognition of potential impact in science, society and/or economics

  •  Next: quality of ideas for further research

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