How does the judging process work?
Each separate division and category is usually judged as a whole by a team of three judges. Due to the number of entries, time constraints may require that some categories must be judged initially by several teams of judges; run-offs then become necessary. In such cases, the entries judged best by each team of initial judges are judged by a new team of judges to determine the winning entries in the category. The number of entries in a run-off and procedures for run-off judging vary by contest and category.
Judges will not assign a numerical score to each entry; instead, they will rank the entries in their group. Judges are required to consult with each other in determining individual rankings. Judges are allowed to review the results of their category upon completion of the judging in order to ensure accuracy of the judging process. As a final step, the judges will assign each entry an overall rating.
The subjective nature of judging
Judges must evaluate certain aspects of each entry that are objective (e.g. Were primary sources used? Is the written material free of grammar and spelling errors?). Also, judges must evaluate interpretive aspects of your entry, which are qualitative in nature (e.g. analysis and conclusions about the historical data). Remember, you must explain your topic's significance in history. Historians often reach different opinions about the significance of the same data. It is, therefore, crucial for you to base your interpretations and conclusions on solid research. Judges will check to determine whether you used available primary sources and if you were careful to examine all sides of an issue and present a balanced account of your research and presentation. Your annotated bibliography is critical to this process.
The decision of the judges is final
All involved (students, parents, and teachers) should realize that inadvertent inequities might occur in judging. HOTRHF officials want to be informed of any problems, but the decisions of the judges are final.