Guide to Judging: Introduction and Terms

Introduction

Judging is an important part of REC Foundation programs. Through the judging process, students have opportunities to practice both written and verbal communication skills, as well as demonstrate the values espoused in our Code of Conduct and Student Centered policies. Some awards may also qualify teams to higher levels of competition.

The purpose of this document is to provide the following:

  • Policies and procedures for the judging process
  • Criteria and descriptions for awards
  • Descriptions of the roles of Judges, Judge Advisors, and Event Partners
  • Additional tools and materials to conduct the judging process

This document applies to all events that include Judged Awards for VEX U, VRC, and VIQC. The goal is to help improve the judging experience for teams, volunteers, and event organizers, as well as increase consistency of the judging process across event regions.

Note: The World Championship judging process may differ from this guide due to the scale and complexity of that event.

Questions can be asked on the official Judging Q&A. Only the current season’s Q&A responses are valid. Q&A’s from past seasons should be ignored.

Key Terms, Definitions, and Links

Engineering Design Process – The process of exploring the problem, generating, and testing solutions, and documenting results in an iterative process.

Engineering Notebook – The document submitted by a team to record their Engineering Design Process. Notebooks are sorted by Judges, and some will be evaluated according to a rubric.

Event Partner (EP) – The Tournament Coordinator who serves as an overall manager for the volunteers, venue, event materials, and all other event considerations. Event Partners serve as the official liaison between the REC Foundation, the event volunteers, and event attendees.

Finals Matches – A Match used in the process of determining the champion Alliance and occurs after Qualification Matches.

Individual Recognition Awards – Awards that are given to a particular individual rather than a team. An example would be “Volunteer of the Year”.

Judge – Person who interacts with teams at an event to help determine winners of judged awards. Those who perform this role online are known as Remote Judges.

Judge Advisor – The coordinator of all Judges at an event. They are responsible for organizing Judge volunteers, guiding deliberations, and relaying the judged award results for the Event Partner/Tournament Manager Operator.

Judged Awards – Awards that are determined by Judges at an event based on standardized criteria and descriptions. An example would be the “Think” award.

Performance Awards – Awards based solely on a team’s on-field performance. Examples would be the Tournament Champion Award or Robot Skills Champion Award.

Qualifying – An event is considered “Qualifying” if it meets all of the requirements in the Qualifying Criteria. Certain Performance and Judged award winners at Qualifying events will qualify to the next level of competition, such as a region championship.

Qualification Matches – Matches in which teams are randomly partnered and share a score – all qualification matches factor into a team’s ranking for the event and determine which teams move on to Finals Matches. The exact ranking methodology is found in the Game Manual.

RECF – Acronym for Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, the organization which oversees the competition aspects of VRC, VIQC, and VEX U events.

Team Interview – An interview, typically 10-15 minutes in duration, during which students on a team are interviewed by Judges. Teams demonstrate their ability to explain their robot design and game strategy. The information shared in this interview and the Judge’s notes become the basis for award nominations and deliberations.

VEX U – Acronym for the college/university age level robotics competition program. VEX U is played using the VRC game, with notable exceptions to game play and robot construction contained in the VRC game manual’s VEX U Appendix. The student eligibility requirements are outlined in the Game Manual.

VIQC – Acronym for VEX IQ Competition, played by Elementary and Middle School age level students. The student eligibility requirements are outlined in the VIQC Game Manual.

VRC – Acronym for VEX Robotics Competition, played by Middle and High School age level students. The student eligibility requirements are outlined in the VRC Game Manual.

New For 2022-2023

The following items are new to this season’s Judge Guide:

  • The Judges Award is now a required award for any event that includes judged awards
  • Slight changes to award descriptions and criteria verbiage
  • Changes made to Engineering Notebook and Team Interview Rubrics for ease of use, understanding, and to be more in alignment with Award criteria
  • Consolidated all Remote Judging information into a single section
  • Additional judging tools provided to aid in Judge deliberations
  • Added a form to assist with note taking during interviews

Note: This document may be updated on August 15 and December 15. Any significant changes will be listed below.

August 15 Update Changes

  • Name of document changed from “Judge Guide” to “Guide to Judging” in order to be more indicative that this document is for use by both Judges and Teams
  • Modified the Engineering Notebook Rubric to clarify the Notebook Format Criteria. It is no longer called a “bonus” and is format neutral for both Digital and Physical Engineering Notebooks
  • Changed graphics and descriptions where appropriate
  • Precedence of Awards for consideration during deliberations has been added
  • Clarified volunteer staffing recommendations for Engineering Notebook judging
  • Added a note about cultural norms in communication for team interviews
  • Added a note about proper attire for Judging
  • Judges Award moved to the right-hand side of Initial Award Candidate Ranking Sheet and Final Award Nominee Ranking Sheet for clarity
  • Formatted volunteer age requirements for clarity
  • Made a change in Field Note to Judges to require the signature of the Event Partner, Division Manager, or Head Referee as appropriate
  • Various edits for clarity

Continue to the next section, Guide to Judging: Judging Principles