JSHS Judges Resources

JSHS competition papers, Score Sheets and Instructions are located here. Please log in to view the documents.

Judges Instructions*

A copy of this year’s Student Program and Abstracts Booklet will be available to you electronically the week before the symposium. Please read all of the abstracts and articles (in your group), to familiarize yourself with the types of projects that will be presented.

On the morning of the symposium you will receive Program and Proceedings hard copy booklet and the semifinalists abstracts that you will be judging, in your folder. The symposium schedule includes a maximum fifteen-minute student presentation, a 5-minute Q&A followed by a five-minute break between presentations. This will give you time to write additional notes about a student’s presentation and to evaluate their abstract. The symposium directors will moderate the entire session.

On the day of the symposium, you will receive the following:

  • A copy of the symposium schedule
  • A packet of the abstracts and articles submitted by the semifinalists
  • Copies of the Judge’s Scoring Sheets (1/presenter)
  • Two pencils
  • Name badge (with your name)
  • “Session Judge” and/or “Session Chair” badges.

Session Chairperson: (appointed by the symposium organizing committee)

The following materials will be available for the chair of each session.

  • A final list of Sunday judges in your session;
  • Research papers for the semifinalists in your group
  • An extra copy of the judge's instructions
  • Laser pointer (this may already be in room 201 A/B);
  • Timing watch and time cards (3-min., 1-min., and STOP).

Comments Regarding Determination Of Place Winners:

(1st-8th place amongst the finalists)

Place winners are ultimately determined by a decision of you, as a group. The scoring sheets are to help you in that decision-making process, as well as to give feedback to students about their presentations. Scoring sheets are also used by most teachers as one part of a student’s grade for their project, so they are returned to students! Formal papers are available should you want to refer to them in order to help in the decision-making process, but this is not required.

Score all presenters on the scoring sheets provided and leave them with the symposium directors. Your moderator scoring sheets will be returned to students (via their teachers). Your comments should consist of constructive criticisms for the purpose of enhancing the student’s learning.

To ensure anonymity, judges names should not be included on the score sheet.

Do not feel bound by the score sheet. Some projects are not well suited to the ‘scientific method’ as outlined on the score sheet. For example, there are mathematical proofs, some engineering projects, or Carl Tape’s mirage project that won at the national symposium in 1997, all of which are given ‘special scoring attention’, as they did not fit the norm. In such cases, feel free to make comments in lieu of scoring each category, but please do include a total score (out of 50) that reflects the overall quality of the project.

The NYC Symposium will award:

1st earns a $2,000 scholarship (to a school of their choice) and presents their paper at the National symposium, where they compete for additional awards.

2nd earns a $1,500 scholarship (to a school of their choice) and presents their paper at the National symposium, where they compete for additional awards, and is the 1st place ALTERNATE speaker for the National symposium.

3rd earns a $1,000 scholarship (to a school of their choice), and is the alternate 2nd place speaker for the National symposium AND will compete in the National JSHS Poster Session.

1st -5th attend an all-expenses-paid trip to the National symposium (6th & 7th are automatic alternates).

1st -8th earn one-year (two semester) full tuition scholarships to UAF.

We will also ask you to rank order the remaining finalists, in case we need more alternates for nationals.

NOTE about Multi-year Projects: If a student has continued a research project that was previously presented at the ASHSSS, their paper and presentation must focus on the current year’s work. Data and results from previous related research may be included, but the year(s) during which data were collected must be clearly indicated. Continuing research must document a significant expansion of the experiment.

NOTE about IRB/SRC approval: Students are required to submit paperwork showing IRB approval if their project involves human subjects (and school district approval if the subjects are students), and SRC approval if their project involves non-human vertebrate animals or potentially hazardous materials. You can assume these forms are completed even if the student makes no mention of this during their presentation.

Symposium Format And Schedule (Sunday)

During Presentations:
1.    SESSION MODERATOR will welcome all students present and congratulate them for making it to the finals, then introduce self and the panel of judges.
2.    Before each student presents, MODERATOR will ask if that student wishes to submit a revised abstract and/or paper at the beginning of each of the four sections. Revised abstracts/papers will not be accepted after the student’s presentation. Revised abstracts should be used in place of originals in the judging.  Original papers should be discarded if a revised paper is submitted. (Please write today’s date on any revised papers submitted so we can be certain which paper should be considered and which should be discarded.)
3.    Schedule changes and special speaker needs should be noted/addressed and any necessary changes made at the beginning of the session.
4.    Students should present in the order of the program (and at their scheduled time) unless there has been a planned/announced program change. IF a student is not prepared to present at their scheduled time, they should be eliminated from the program unless there are extenuating circumstances. The director will be present to help make any decisions regarding students who are not present.
5.    MODERATOR will introduce each presenter and read his/her project title.
6.    Each presenter has a maximum of 15 min. for delivery of the presentation and a maximum of 5 minutes for questions (even if their presentation is less than 15 minutes).
A student Timer will have “warning” cards to hold up at key moments 
(3 min., 1 min., and STOP), and should verbally announce, “STOP”, when the time is up (at 15 minutes for the presentation and at 5 minutes for the questions).
It is important to follow these time limits strictly, in order to be consistent even if that means interrupting a presenter, judge, or member of the audience.
IF there are equipment problems that are outside the student’s control and which require lengthy time to fix, the session MODERATOR will decide that time should be “paused” until the problem is resolved.  (This would be appropriate if a projector stops working, for example, but NOT if a student is having a software problem with a PowerPoint presentation or is not ready.) 
Judges may adjust the starting times slightly as needed to allow time to mark scoring forms and read abstracts.
7.    The MODERATOR will direct questions from the "floor" after each student presentation, judges first. Remember, these are "beginning" scientists; your questions should provide encouragement as well as constructive criticisms directed at suggestions for improvement.
8.    Conversations with student presenters during breaks are appropriate, but should be such that they could not be construed as continued judging. (Perhaps giving comments/advice, instead of asking for more information. If a more lengthy conversation is desired, it might be more appropriate to invite the student to contact you at a later date.)
9.    Breaks are indicated on the schedule. 
(Short breaks after each set of four presenters, and an hour for lunch at noon.  Lunch will be provided for judges and assistants.)
10.    Audience entry/exit should be permitted ONLY at times between presentations. 
If possible, one of the student assistants can be posted at the door to keep it closed during presentations & questions, and open it during the breaks between speakers.
11.    Dr. L. will be available for help with logistics.

After Presentations:
12.    Once all presentations have been completed, the panel of judges should retire to decide upon the overall winners (1st-8th). REFRAIN from awarding ties.

NOTE that there is not a great deal of distinction between 4th & 5th places, in terms of awards, so the order of these place determinations is less critical.

We would also like you to rank the remaining presentations in order (8th-14th).  These rankings will not be announced publicly, but will allow us to select additional alternates for nationals, if the need arises.

Once the decisions are made, each judge should make sure all scoring sheets are complete, with each item scored, a total score indicated, and any desired comments included.  For the 1st place winner (and the 2nd place alternate), suggestions for the student’s next presentation at national symposium would be welcomed. ALL DECISIONS BY THE JUDGING PANEL ARE FINAL!

Before You Leave:

All Judges: Please deliver all scoring sheets and “Session Judge” badges to Judges Area (Faculty Dining Room  before leaving.
Chairperson: Make sure you have all scoring sheets (complete) from each judge before they leave.

Please deliver the following to Judges Area (Faculty Dining Room) before you leave:

  • Results    (Rank all 16 finalists; there is no real distinction between 4th -8th places, other than locked in ‘all-expense-paid’ national travel.)
  • complete score sheets from all judges for the session
  • one copy of each student’s most recent paper
  • one copy of each revised abstract that was submitted
  • ”Session Judge” badges for all judges
  • laser pointer
  • stopwatch
  • time signs