Judging Process

How does the judging process work?
Each entry is judged within its division and category (e.g., Junior Group Exhibit, Senior Paper) by at least one team of judges. Sometimes there are too many entries in a specific division and category to be judged by one team of judges in a reasonable amount of time. Multiple first-round judging teams followed by a final round then become necessary. In such cases, the entries judged best by each team of first-round judges are re-evaluated by a new team of judges to determine the winning entries in the category. The number of entries in finals and procedures for judging vary by contest and category and are within the discretion of the Contest Coordinator.

Consensus judging
Instead of assigning a numerical score to each entry, judges work together to rank the entries in their group after fully evaluating all of the entries and discussing the strengths and areas for improvement of each entry based on the evaluation criteria.

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 (80%)
  • Relation to Theme (20%)

Click here to view sample evaluation sheets.

The subjective nature of judging
Judges must evaluate certain aspects of entries that are objective (e.g., whether primary sources are used or whether the written material is grammatically correct and accurately spelled). Judges also must evaluate aspects of entries that are subjective (e.g., analysis and conclusions about the historical data). The HOTRHF recognizes there is an inherent subjective nature to judging. 

The decision of the judges is final
Judges alone will determine each entry’s ranking and whether a project advances to the next level of competition. The decision of the judges is final.

Conflict of interest
All judges agree to let the Heart of Texas Regional History Fair coordinator know if a conflict of interest exists in judging a student, or category with several students, in which they have mentored a participant, personally know a participant or have previously judged a participant this year.