Click here for useful judging tips and rules summary for all categories
Introduction: Benefits of the Judging Process
The goal of National
History Day is to provide students with a high-quality, educational experience –
regardless of whether they win a prize. The judges' evaluation is part of the
learning and skill-building process of NHD. The judges' evaluation helps
students improve their skills and provides positive
feedback and constructive criticism
for the hard work students have put into producing their projects. The judges'
comments also provide students with ideas for revisions and enhancements as
they move from one contest level to the next.
How Does the Judging
Judges are trained on how to judge and given
- Judges do NOT need to be historians or be
experts in the field.
- Judges work in teams of three with at least one veteran
- Judges interview students and talk with them
about their research.
- Judges evaluate students’ projects using a
rubric, and rank the projects.
- All projects are evaluated—and all students
interviewed—in the first rounds when finalists are determined. Finalists are evaluated in the final rounds
when winners are determined.
How long is the event?
7:30-1:00 for preliminary round judges.
- 7:30-4:00 for those who want to judge preliminary
& final rounds.
- Noon-4:00 for those who want to judge final
- The Awards Ceremony is held at 5:00 pm, and
judges are encouraged to attend.
Judging Paper and Web Site Categories:
Students who enter the Paper or Website
categories send their entries to the competition coordinator BEFORE the date of
- Coordinators will provide judges with their
entries at least a week in advance for viewing.
- Paper judges will receive their entries in the
mail and Website judges will be provided with a list of entry URLs.
- The judges will review the entries BEFORE the
day of the competition.
- On the day of the competition, the judging teams
will get together to interview the students and evaluate the entries.
Judging Performance and Documentary Categories:
In the Performance and Documentary categories,
students display their entries before a live audience which includes a judging
- Students have five minutes to set up their
performance or documentary, ten minutes to display their performance or
documentary, and five minutes to take down their props or equipment.
- Judges will interview students during the last
five minutes during takedown.
Students set up their exhibits in the Auraria
exhibit hall is closed to all students and spectators while the judging teams
make their initial evaluations. Judges will have one hour to preview the
entries before interviewing the students.
teams will call students into the exhibit area for interviews according to a
The judging teams will interview the students as
part of the judging process.
- The judges use the interview as an opportunity
to meet the students and learn more about the process the students used to
develop their project.
- Information that the students provide in the
interview is not included in the judges' evaluation of the entry. For example,
if students state clearly in the interview how their project relates to the
annual theme, but the entry itself does not convey that information clearly,
the judges cannot include the additional information that the students provided
in the interview. Each entry must stand on its own, without any extra input
provided during the interview.
Judges work as a team to rank the entries in
- Judges are required to consult with each other
to determine individual rankings and provide feedback to the students by
highlighting the strong features of each entry and suggesting possible
assign a final ranking to each entry by consensus.
- The teachers will receive the evaluation forms
at the end of the contest and return them to their students.
The Subjective Nature of Judging
Judges evaluate certain aspects of the entry that are
objective (e.g., were primary sources used? Does the written material have
correct spelling and grammar?). Judges must also evaluate aspects of the
entries that are subjective (e.g., how well did students analyze and draw
conclusions about the historical data?).
Historians often reach different opinions about the
significance of the same data. Therefore, it is important for students to base
their interpretations and conclusions on solid research. Judges will evaluate
whether students used primary sources that were readily available, and if
students were careful to examine all sides of an issue and present a balanced
account of their research in their presentations. The process paper and
annotated bibliography that the students prepare are important to assist the
judges with this process.
The Decision of the Judges is Final
Students, parents, and teachers should realize that
inadvertent inequities may occur in judging and that contest officials do want
to be informed of any problems. But the decisions of the judges are final.
Judging Forms and Instructions
Click here to access the judging forms and instructions from National History Day.
How Do I Prepare to Judge?
Attend a judge training on Thursday, April 24th (6-8 p.m.) or Saturday, April 26th (8-10 a.m.) at CU Denver on the Auraria Campus.