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National History Day in Colorado

Judging Criteria

How Will A Project Be Judged?

The information given below is from the official judging forms and instructions provided by NHD. Click here to access copies of the judging forms and judging instructions. We provide this information so that students, teachers and judges will know how the entries will be evaluated. ​Plagiarism and reusing a project from a previous year will result in disqualification.

A. Historical Perspective

Did students

  • Place their topic in historical perspective?
  • Examine the significance of the topic in history?
  • Show development and change over time?

B. Analysis and Interpretation of Topic

Did students explain

  • Why the event happened?
  • What factors contributed to its development?
  • What was the impact or lasting influence of this event on history?
  • How did this topic change the course of events?
  • What effect did the topic have on a community, society, nation, and/or the world?

C. Investigation

  • What primary and secondary sources did students use?
  • Did students use a wide range of credible sources?

Superior entries will include original research.

Students: Checklist for Historical Quality

You should ask yourselves the following questions to ensure that your project is strong on historical quality:

  • Is my entry historically accurate?
  • Does my entry provide analysis and interpretation of the historical data, rather than just a description?
  • Does my entry demonstrate an understanding of the historical context?
  • Does my annotated bibliography demonstrate wide and solid research?
  • Does my entry demonstrate a balanced presentation of materials?
  • Does my entry demonstrate use of available primary sources?


Although historical quality is most important, the entry must be presented effectively.

Students: Checklist for Historical Quality

You should ask yourselves the following questions to ensure that your project is presented effectively:

  • Is my entry original, creative, and imaginative in subject and presentation?
  • Is my written material clear, and correct in spelling and grammar?
  • Is my entry well-organized?
  • Is the visual material clearly presented?
  • For a performance, did I/we display stage presence?
  • For a documentary project, did I/we understand and properly use all equipment?


Students may address any aspect of the theme. However, the entry must clearly explain the relation of the topic to the annual History Day theme​. The topic should be placed in historical context, and the entry must demonstrate the students' understanding of the significance of the topic in history. The relationship of the entry's topic to the annual theme should be explicit and should be integrated into the entry itself.

Students: Checklist for Satisfying Theme Criteria

You should ask yourselves the following questions to ensure that your topic is focused on the annual History Day theme and its significance:

  • How does my topic relate to the theme? Why is my topic important?
  • How is my topic significant in history in relation to the History Day theme?
  • How did my topic influence history?
  • How did the events and context (social, economic, political, and cultural aspects) of my topic's time period influence my topic in history?


Judges will take infractions of the rules into consideration in determining their final rankings. Failing to comply with the rules will count against your entry. You should correct any rule infractions before competing in the next level of competition.