Judging Process

How does the judging process work?
Each separate division and category is judged as a whole by a team of three judges. Due to the number of entries, run-off rounds may be required. 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.

Consensus judging
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 ranking.

Judging Criteria
All projects must be connected to the NHD annual theme. Additionally, all projects must adhere to general and category specific rules set out in the NHD Contest Rule Book. Any rule infraction will be taken into consideration in the final rankings. Projects are judged on the overall following criteria:

  • Historical Accuracy (60%)
  • Clarity of Presentation (20%)
  • Relation to Theme (20%)

Click here to view sample judging sheets.

The subjective nature of judging
Judges evaluate each entry as objectively as possible, although the HOTRHF recognizes there is an inherent subjective nature to judging. 

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.

Please take a few moments to watch this excellent overview of the judging process that was put together by Minnesota History Day.