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Judging involves four processes: registration/orientation, review of projects, finalists' interviews and selection of award winners. All Grand Award judges must register on Tuesday. Beginning at 1 PM, there will be an opportunity to review projects in the Exhibit Halls. In the evening, there will be dinner and training for the judges in their assigned meeting areas. Grand Award judges are encouraged to review and pre-judge the projects to which they have been assigned in preparation for their finalists' interviews on Wednesday. Wednesday is the day that all judging interviews are conducted and all official scoring and determination of winners takes place. The Grand Award judging day is divided into an open period in the morning and three judging sessions that conclude at 6 PM. The morning starts with breakfast, a Category meeting and roll call to determine final attendance. Each group of Grand Award judges will receive final instructions for conducting the finalists' interviews and receive their scoring scan cards before the first period of judging begins. Lunch will be available for the Grand Award judges in their respective meeting areas at noon. The second judging period begins at 1:15 PM and at the conclusion of this period all scheduled interviews will have been completed. Special Award judges can utilize the Finalists' Open Period Grid chart to determine when they can interview the finalists in the first and second judging periods. The third period is available to ALL judges to make their final award selections. At the conclusion of this session, awards must be determined and the certifications of those awards turned in to Society for Science & the Public.Once all of the judging work has been completed, all judges are invited to attend a Judges' Celebration.
Ideally, the ratio of judges to finalists in Grand Award judging would be approximately 0.8:1. This optimum ratio is a goal in the recruitment of judges, but in general the number of judges will either be greater than or less than the number of finalists. To account for these differences, the number of projects in each category, the number of Grand Award judges present, the number of potential interview periods, and the maximum number of finalist interviews allowed are considered in arranging a Grand Award judge’s interview schedule. The goal is to provide each finalist with up to a maximum of ten interviews. Usually, this translates to a judge being asked to interview between eight and fourteen finalists. The maximum number of interviews a judge can be assigned is fourteen (out of seventeen total interview periods).
Over 10,000 interviews occur on Wednesday morning and afternoon. An optical scan card system is used to assist in compilation of the scoring data. On Tuesday evening, each Grand Award judge receives an interview schedule and a blue Intel® ISEF Judge’s Record. Notes and scores relative to each project must be kept on the record as an aid to further discussion, and it becomes the judge's own record of how each particular project was scored. On Wednesday morning, each judge receives an envelope of scan cards for the finalists' projects on the schedule. An additional copy of the interviewing schedule is attached. The scan cards are preprinted with the appropriate information concerning interview time, the Judge’s ID number, and the project number (booth location) of the finalist's project. Judges should review these cards and check for accuracy against the schedule. Any discrepancy should be brought to the attention of the category co-chair immediately. Once the score has been determined (0-100), it should be written in the appropriate blocks on the scan card and the number indicated by filling in the proper ovals corresponding to the digits of the score. ONLY A BLACK SANFORD SHARPIE PEN SHOULD BE USED TO MARK ANY JUDGING SCAN CARD (they will be provided). Judges should turn in scan cards at the end of each interview, if possible, or at least at the next open period. All of the scan cards should be turned in at the designated areas of the HUB in the exhibit hall. HUB personnel will check the cards for completeness and can create replacement cards when necessary. It is important that scan cards are not held until the end of judging because it will seriously delay completion of the final scoring process.
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