Deliberations should begin during the last round of qualifying matches and conclude before the first round of Finals matches. The Judge Advisor will guide the pool of Judges through deliberations for award recipients. Qualification Match Rankings and Skills Rankings will be used to guide many of the award decisions, and the Event Partner or Judge Advisor should ensure that the Judges room gets a copy of those match and skills rankings.
- Post or share your top-ranked teams for each award as advised by the Judge Advisor. Typically, the Judge Teams will post the top five teams for each award or 25% of the judged teams, whichever is greater. A white board, flip charts, or sticky notes may be used to post the top ranked teams underneath the award descriptions so they are visible to all Judges. A printed set of Standard Award Descriptions is recommended, and can be taped to a white board or similar surface.
- Work cooperatively with other Judges to reach consensus on the award recipients. If the Judges can’t agree on which team should receive an award, they should read the description of the award out loud, then closely consider the criteria for that award to help them make the decision. The Judge Advisor, time permitting, may send Judge teams to cross-interview teams that are leading contenders for awards, especially the Excellence Award or Design Award.
- All deliberations must take place in the Judges Room or a private remote meeting. Deliberations include frank discussions about teams and are confidential. What is discussed in the Judges meeting stays in the Judges meeting. Only Judges are allowed in the Judges meeting.
- Remove yourself from discussions involving affiliated teams or any teams that may present a conflict of interest.
- Share all questions or concerns with the Judge Advisor.
- Leave notes, rubrics, and all other judging materials with the Judge Advisor after deliberations. The Judge Advisor will destroy these materials, which are not to be returned to teams, the Event Partner, or anyone else.
- Do not discuss any judging or deliberations with any teams, the Event Partner, or anyone else. The judging process is confidential.
Judging Process for the Excellence Award
Judges should determine rankings for the Design Award following the Design Award Judging Process. The top contenders for the Design Award should be considered candidates for the Excellence Award.
Excellence Award candidates should:
- Be at or near the top of the Design Award rankings, and meet the first three criteria of the Engineering Notebook Rubric
- Be ranked in the top 10 or top 30% of teams (whichever is larger) in qualifying rounds during the last round of qualification matches played (does not apply to Skills-Only events)
- Be ranked in the top 5 or top 20% of teams (whichever is larger) in Robot Skills (does not apply to events that do not offer skills)
- Rank among the top teams in other judged awards
- Exhibit a high-quality team interview with the Judges
- Exhibit a high-quality robotics program
- Be student-centered and show positive team conduct and dynamics, sportsmanship, and professionalism
Note: A team does not have to be among the Teamwork or Tournament Champions or Finalists to receive the Excellence Award, but must be competitive in the qualification and skills rankings (skills rankings does not apply to VAIC-HS or VAIC-U).
Judges use their best qualitative judgment based on observations and interactions with the teams to choose the team they believe best exemplifies the best overall robotics program at the event. Judges should ask themselves the following questions:
- Has the team met the criteria to be considered excellent?
- Does the team exemplify overall excellence?
- Would the Judges want the team to be emulated by other teams?
- Do the Field Notes to Judges returned by event volunteers reflect the candidate’s overall excellence?
Minimum Criteria Not Meet
There may be circumstances where the Judges should not award the Design Award—and by extension the Excellence Award—to any team at an event. This may happen when 1) no teams submit an Engineering Notebook, or 2) no Engineering Notebooks meet the first three criteria of the Engineering Notebook Rubric. In either case, the minimum requirements for the Design Award—and by extension the Excellence Award—have not been met and therefore neither should be awarded to any team at the event.
The Event Partner must be notified as soon as possible if the Design Award and/or the Excellence Award will not be awarded at the event. The results of the event cannot be published until the Event Partner adjusts the award configurations for the event.
The objective in not awarding Design or Excellence under these circumstances is:
- To avoid situations where only one or two teams turn in notebooks that consist of a title page and little more being recognized as Design or Excellence winners.
- To avoid recognizing a team as excellent and worthy of emulation by other teams when no team has yet achieved at least the minimum level of excellence.
This is not meant to punish teams but rather to encourage them to improve. It is expected that these circumstances will be rare and will only arise early in the season before teams have had time to organize themselves. If Judges decide not to award Design or Excellence, the Judge Advisor should make an event-wide announcement and remind teams that the Engineering Notebook Rubric and the instructions in the front of the supplied notebook may be used as guides to help teams develop their notebooks.
Finalizing the Judged Awards
After deliberations for judged awards have concluded, the Judge Advisor will record the results of all judged award winners. The Judge Advisor must be careful to accurately record the team number and letter (e.g., Team 123A) for each judged award. The Judge Advisor should promptly inform the Event Partner when judging has concluded and coordinate with the Event Partner for entry of judged award winners into the Tournament Manager software. The Judge Advisor should confirm that these have been entered correctly.
Some events may provide a tablet or computer for the Judge Advisor to personally enter the results of the judged awards. If this is the case, ensure that another Judge reviews the entries for accuracy.
Once the award winners are entered into Tournament Manager, the Judge Advisor should obtain printed copies of the award scripts from the Tournament Manager operator or Event Partner for each judged award. The Event Partner will decide when the judged awards are announced and will typically ask the Judge Advisor to make some general comments on the judging. Judges and the Judge Advisor may be asked to present awards at closing ceremonies.
Return the Engineering Notebooks to the Teams
This is usually done by placing the notebooks on a table in the competition area before the finals matches begin and making announcements in the competition area and the pits for teams to pick up their notebooks. The Judge Advisor should ensure that the emcee announces where and when the notebooks can be picked up.
Collect all written judging materials, including Judges notes, completed rubrics, and awards worksheets. After the event, the Judge Advisor should shred or destroy all of these materials. Under no circumstances are any of these materials to be shared with teams, coaches, or the Event Partner.
Feedback to Teams
We celebrate the student-centered experience of competitive robotics, in which judges serve a key role. However, Judges should be cautious in giving individual feedback to teams as details of the day's judging process must remain confidential. Judges should not discuss deliberations, awards, or judging with teams during or 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. The Judge Advisor or Event Partner can recommend that teams refer to the blank Team Interview Rubric, the blank Engineering Notebook Rubric, judging guidelines, and the Standard Award Descriptions to use as a reference.
World Championship Excellence Award
The key criteria and judging process for the Excellence Award at the VEX Robotics World Championship are the same as for local events and events that qualify teams directly to the VEX Robotics World Championship. Online Challenges are not required to be eligible for the Excellence Award at the VEX Robotics World Championship. However, Judges will consider Online Challenges as part of the overall team evaluation if they are submitted.
To be eligible for the VIQC or VRC Excellence Award at the VEX Robotics World Championship, a team must have been awarded the Excellence Award at an event that qualifies teams directly to the VEX Robotics World Championship during the current competition season. Eligible teams must submit their Engineering Notebook for the VEX Robotics World Championship. Eligible teams will be notified by email after the second weekend in March.
There are no pre-qualification requirements for the VEX U, VAIC-HS, or VAIC-U Excellence Award at the VEX Robotics World Championship. Teams must submit their Engineering Notebook for the VEX Robotics World Championship
World Championship Design Award
The key criteria and judging process for the Design Award at the VEX Robotics World Championship are the same as for local events and events that qualify teams directly to the VEX Robotics World Championship.
To be eligible for the VIQC or VRC Design Award at the VEX Robotics World Championship, a team must have been awarded the Excellence Award or Design Award at an event that qualifies teams directly to the VEX Robotics World Championship. Eligible teams must submit their Engineering Notebook for the VEX Robotics World Championship. Eligible teams will be notified by email after the second weekend in March.
There are no prequalification requirements for the VEX U, VAIC-HS, or VAIC-U Design Award at the VEX Robotics World Championship. Teams must submit their Engineering Notebook for the VEX Robotics World Championship.