Guidelines for Judges
Judges should keep in mind that a science fair is not only a competition, but an educational and motivating experience for the students.
The high point of the fair experience for most of the students is their judging interviews.
Examine the quality of the student’s work, and how well the student understands his or her project and area of study.
The physical display is secondary to the student’s knowledge of the subject. Look for evidence of laboratory, field or theoretical work,
not just library research or gadgeteering.
As a general rule, judges represent professional authority to students. For this reason, judges should use an encouraging tone when asking
questions. Judges should not criticize, treat lightly, or display boredom toward projects they personally consider unimportant.
Always give credit to the student for completing a challenging task and/or for the hard work they invested in their project.
It is important in the evaluation of a project to determine how much guidance was provided to the student in the design and implementation of
his or her research. If the research was conducted in an industrial or institutional setting, this information is documented on ISEF Form 1C.
If the research was conducted at school or at home, this information is documented on TNJSF Form 1CC.
These forms will be available in the Judges’ Room for each category. Judges should review this information in detail when evaluating research.
Compare projects only with those competing at this Fair and not with projects seen in other competitions or scholastic events.
Students may have worked on a research project for more than one year. However, for the purpose of judging, ONLY research conducted within
the current year is to be evaluated. Although previous work is important, it should not unduly impact the judging of this year’s project.
Judges should review the project’s ISEF Form 7 (ISEF Continuation Projects) to clarify what progress was completed this year.
The TNJSF allows team projects with two students.
Both team members should demonstrate significant contributions to and an understanding of the project.
Judges should NOT discuss projects or make critical comments in the exhibit hall, hallways, restaurants, or elsewhere, as students or adult escorts
might overhear. Judges should only discuss projects in the Judges’ Room. Results are confidential until announced at the awards ceremony.