Guide to Judging: Introduction and Terms


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.

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.

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