Judging Tips for Special Award Organization Judges
- Finalists may have worked on a research project for more
than one year. However, for the purpose of judging, ONLY research
conducted since the last Intel ISEF is to be evaluated. Although
previous work is important, it is not to be considered as part
of this year's ISEF project.
- Examine the quality of the finalist's work, and how well
the finalist understands his or her project and area of study.
The physical display is secondary to the student's knowledge
of the subject.
- When research is conducted in an industrial or institutional
setting, the finalist is required to include Intel ISEF
Form 1C with the project documentation. Judges should review
in detail supervisor's comments on Intel ISEF Form 1C when
evaluating research conducted in an industrial or institutional
- Look for evidence of laboratory, field or theoretical work,
not just library research or gadgeteering.
- Compare projects only with those competing at the Intel ISEF
and not with projects seen in other competitions or scholastic
- Judges should keep in mind that the Intel ISEF is not only
a competition, but an educational and motivating experience
for the finalists. The high point of the fair experience for
most of the finalists is their judging interviews.
- When submitting the score for each finalist's project, you
must enter only the cumulative score on the scan card for that
finalist as discussed in the preceding section.
- As a general rule, judges represent professional authority
to finalists. For this reason, judges should use an encouraging
tone when asking questions, offering suggestions or giving
constructive criticism. Judges should not criticize, treat
lightly, or display boredom toward projects they personally
consider unimportant. Always give credit to the finalist for
completing a challenging task and/or for their success in previous
- Please be discreet when discussing winners or making critical
comments in elevators, restaurants, or elsewhere, as finalists
or adult escorts might overhear. Results are confidential until
announced at the awards sessions. The Host Committee and the
individual judges for both Grand Awards and Special
Awards are responsible for ensuring that all items
associated with judging, with the exception of the official
results certification, are collected and destroyed at the conclusion
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