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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about judging in the Galveston County Science Fair

When judging what do you look for?

How important is the physical display?

How important is library research?

How important is it that the student does all the research?

How do I rank the project at today's fair?

How long should I interview the student?

There are several judges in my group. May we interview the student together to save time?

 


When judging what do you look for?

We are looking for the quality of work done by the student. This includes how well the student understands his project and the scientific background of his work {TOP}.

 

How important is the physical display?

The quality of the physical display is of secondary importance. Students come from varying economic backgrounds and some have limited funds to devote to the display. The display does count in evaluation of the student's ability to clearly present his project {TOP}.

 

How important is library research?

We want to see a project that includes laboratory, field or theoretical work. Projects that are only library research and gadgeteering (building something from a kit) are not ranked as high. However, the student's use of the library and other information sources to obtain scientific background for the project should be considered in judging {TOP}.

 

How important is it that the student does all the research?

This is one of the more difficult questions to answer. A student should not be penalized for taking help from others (everyone receives help to some degree). Through questioning, you must determine what contribution the student made as opposed to what others have done for him/her. We want to judge the student's work, not that of a Ph.D. candidate or professional who may have helped the student {TOP}.

 

How do I rank the project at today's fair?

Compare the project you are ranking to other projects in the same classification (relative ranking) and not with projects seen elsewhere and under other circumstances {TOP}.

 

How long should I interview the student?

Every interview should last at least three minutes. For many students this is the most gratifying part of the fair. Remember that you as judge represent the professional authority to the student. Please act in a way that will provide encouragement to the student when asking questions, offering suggestions, and providing constructive criticism {TOP}.

 

There are several judges in my group. May we interview the student together to save time?
 
We want the student to interact on a personal basis with the judges. Judging in a group takes away from this experience so we discourage group interviews. A more detailed judge's manual will be provided at the fair {TOP}.