Judge Orientation and Scheduling

Orientation

Judges should check in to the event as volunteers and will be directed to the Judges Room. Once in the Judges Room, volunteers will sign in on the Judge Sign-in Sheet and disclose team affiliations that may lead to conflicts of interest. 

Once all Judges have arrived, the Judge Advisor will coordinate introductions and review some key concepts and judging tools.

Judging activities during the event:

  • Orientation meeting
  • Sort and judge Engineering Notebooks
  • Interview all teams in groups of 2 or more Judges
  • Short meeting to regroup and check progress
  • Working lunch to identify remaining interviews and nominate teams for awards
  • Collect reports for Skills Challenge and/or Qualification Match Rankings
  • Complete deliberations and determine award winners

Judging Concepts and Guidelines

Judges are in a position of trust. To ensure the judging process is an effective, equitable, and positive experience, it is important for Judges to understand these concepts and follow these guidelines.

  • Confidentiality: The judging process includes frank discussions about teams. These discussions must remain confidential, and Judges should take precautions to ensure that these discussions are not shared with or overheard by teams or other event participants.
  • Impartiality: You should proactively advise the Judge Advisor and Event Partner of any possible conflicts of interest and remove yourself from discussions and decisions in which you may have a personal interest. Event Partners may not recommend, advise, or assign judged awards to any team.
  • Engagement: Demonstrate your full interest and involvement in discussions with students and your Judge Team by refraining from distractions such as phone usage or side conversations.
  • Youth Protection: Do not be alone with students. Always work with at least one other Judge and two or more students. Do not meet with teams in a private space.
  • Discretion: All written judging materials, including Judges notes, completed rubrics, and awards worksheets must be given to the Judge Advisor for disposal after the event. None of these materials may be shared with teams or the Event Partner. Judges should not discuss deliberations, awards, or judging with teams after an event. These discussions are easily misinterpreted or misunderstood by students, coaches, mentors, and parents. Please refer any inquiries about the judging process to the Judge Advisor.
  • Judgement: Judges are expected to apply qualitative judgement when making final decisions on all judged awards. For example, the Engineering Notebook Rubric is quantitative in nature, but Judges must deliberate and apply qualitative judgement when making a final decision on the Design Award winner.
  • Inclusion: Only a limited number of teams at an event will earn a judged award. However, every team at an event should be given an opportunity to be interviewed by Judges regardless of their status for a Judged award.
  • Equitability: No team shall be awarded more than one judged award at an event. Top teams often win robot performance awards in addition to judged awards. Individual awards that are presented to adults, such as a Volunteer of the Year Award, do not affect a team’s eligibility for a judged award.
  • Common Sense: When reading and applying the judging rules, criteria, and processes, please remember that common sense always applies.
  • Team Ethics and Conduct: Ethics is an important part of every engineer’s professional training and practice. The REC Foundation considers the positive, respectful, and ethical conduct of teams to be an essential component of the VEX competition. A team includes the students, teachers, coaches, mentors, and parents associated with a team. Judges will consider all team conduct when determining judged awards.

Student-Centered Teams

The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, sustainable, and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the U.S. and internationally. Judges play an important role in our efforts to ensure that our program remains student-centered. We believe that the student-centered model of learning is aligned with the REC Foundation’s mission and provides effective educational benefits to students. 

Teams must be student-centered. There are a variety of definitions for the term “student-centered” in the educational community, and the REC Foundation has created a definition for student-centered that will apply for teams that participate in the VIQC, VRC, and VEX U competitions to increase the transparency of the expectations and increase the student learning opportunities. The term student-centered is encompassed in both the learning and application settings for REC Foundation events and activities.

Student-Centered Learning: Students are actively involved in learning opportunities to increase their knowledge and skills in the engineering design process, mechanical design, programming, and teamwork under the guidance of adult mentorship.

Student-Centered Application: Students have ownership on how their robot is designed, built, programmed, and utilized in match play with other teams and Robot Skills matches.

Through observation and interviews with teams, Judges identify teams that are student-centered. These teams understand that the purpose of the program is to enhance the learning process, not to win at any cost. Judges shall give higher consideration to teams that favor the enhancement of student learning over teams that favor winning at any cost.

Judges, with input from event staff, should identify teams that are not student-centered. Teams that are not student-centered should not receive judged awards.

For more information, reference the RECF Student-Centered Policy.

Overview of the Competitions

The competition area is where matches and skills challenges take place. Judges should spend time observing teams in the competition area. Judges can validate statements made by teams during their interview and can evaluate their robot performance and game strategy. Additionally, Judges can assess a team’s sportsmanship, energy, and enthusiasm while observing them in the competition area.

VIQC

VRC

VEX U

Matches take place on a 6’x8’ field.

Matches take place on a 12’ x 12’ field.

Matches take place on a 12’ x 12’ field.

A match lasts 1 minute

A match lasts 2 minutes, including a 15-second programming-only period.

A match lasts 2 minutes, including a 45-second programming-only period.

Scored by Referees

Scored by Referees

Scored by Referees

Teams play 6-8 qualification matches, randomly paired in each match in an alliance with another team.

Teams play 6-8 qualification matches, randomly paired with other teams.

Teams play 6-8 qualification matches. Each team brings two robots so pairing or alliances are not needed.

Matches are played with 2 robots on the field.

Matches are played with 4 robots on the field: two paired as the Red Alliance and two paired as the Blue Alliance.

Matches are played with one team as the Red Alliance and one team as the Blue Alliance.

Teams work together to score as many points as possible, and both teams are awarded the same points.

Two allied teams work together to score more points than the other alliance, and both teams in an alliance receive a win, loss, or tie for the match.

Each alliance works to score more points than the other alliance, and each alliance receives a win, loss, or tie for the match.

After qualification matches are played, teams are paired by ranking in an alliance. Each alliance plays one finals match. 

Qualification matches are followed by Alliance Selection and Elimination Rounds, played in a sports bracket format. 

After qualification matches are complete, teams are ranked and play Elimination Rounds in a sports bracket format. 

The alliance with the highest score in the finals matches becomes the Teamwork Champion. 

The alliance that completes Elimination Rounds undefeated becomes the Tournament Champion. 

The alliance that completes Elimination Rounds undefeated becomes the Tournament Champion. 

Teams may also demonstrate their own team’s abilities by participating in Programming and Driving Skills Matches. Each type of skills match lasts 1 minute. Teams may run a maximum of 3 of each at an event.

Teams may also demonstrate their own team’s abilities by participating in Programming and Driving Skills Matches. Each type of skills match lasts 1 minute. Teams may run a maximum of 3 of each at an event.

Teams may also demonstrate their own team’s abilities by participating in Programming and Driving Skills Matches. Each type of skills match lasts 1 minute. Teams may run a maximum of 3 of each at an event.

In-Person Scheduling

Sample In-Person Judging Schedule

7:30am
8:00am

Judge Advisor arrives, reviews awards offered, and gathers judging materials.

8:00am
9:30am

Judges arrive and receive training. Judge Advisor assigns Judge Teams and teams to be interviewed. Engineering Notebooks are reviewed, and Judge Teams begin team interviews.

9:30am
9:45am

Judges attend the Opening Ceremony.

9:45am
11:30am

Judge Teams complete the initial interview of assigned teams. Engineering Notebook Judges complete the Engineering Notebook Rubric for the select notebooks that qualify.

11:30am
12:30pm

Working lunch/Initial deliberations: Each Judge Team identifies their top candidate(s) for each award and uses sticky notes to list teams under the award categories. Judge Advisor identifies teams that require follow-up interviews, especially for Design and Excellence awards, and assigns Judge Teams for follow-up interviews.

12:30pm
1:30pm

Judges observe teams in the pit and competition areas and conduct follow up interviews as necessary to complete rankings for each award category. If possible, several Judge Teams should visit with the top contenders for each award.

1:30pm
2:30pm

Judges return to the Judges Room to conduct final deliberations and determine judged award winners. Judged award winners should be determined between the last round of qualifying matches and before the first round of VRC Finals matches or before VIQC Finals matches. This allows qualifying rankings to be considered for the Excellence Award and allows awards to be announced during finals matches.

2:30pm
2:45pm

Judge Advisor oversees entry of judged award winners into Tournament Manager software.

2:45pm
4:30pm

If possible, Judges attend finals matches and the award ceremony. Judges may be asked to read an award script and announce a judged award winner if comfortable doing so.

Remote Scheduling

Remote Judging formats can include:

  • Judge Interviews and/or Engineering Notebook reviews that are conducted remotely either before or during an event
  • In-person events where Judge Interviews and/or Engineering Notebook reviews are conducted remotely, with the teams being present at the event and the Judges are participating remotely
  • In-person events where both Judges and Teams are present at the event, but Judge Interviews and/or Engineering Notebook reviews are conducted remotely in separate rooms to maintain physical isolation

Before the event

  • Event Partner communicates the judging format to teams and, if needed, provides instructions to submit Digital Engineering Notebooks and for teams to select or be assigned interview times.
  • Judge Advisor meets with Judges for training and to assign interview times
  • Judges receive links to Digital Engineering Notebooks for review

Sample Remote Judging Schedule

Ahead of event
3:00pm
8:00pm

Judge Advisor and Judges interview teams in 30 minute increments. The interview itself takes about 10-15 minutes; the additional time allows for teams to connect and for judges to discuss the interview after the team leaves the interview environment. This can take place over several days if needed.

Day of event
9:00am
4:00pm

Judge advisor and available judges watch matches, review rankings, and complete deliberations for award assignments.

Day of event
4:00pm

Judge Advisor communicates with Event Partner for the entry of judged award winners into the Tournament Manager software. The Judge Advisor should confirm with the Event Partner that these were entered correctly.

Awards Ceremony

Judges who are present at the event may be asked to read an award script and announce a judged award winner if comfortable doing so.