Guide to Judging: Judging Roles

Overview

The purpose of this section is to ensure a consistent judging process is followed at all VURC, VAIRC, V5RC, and VIQRC qualifying events, the planning and execution of which are led by adult individuals known as Event Partners. This section describes the roles and responsibilities of the Judges, Judge Advisors, and Event Partners in the judging process.

In VURC, VAIRC, V5RC, and VIQRC qualifying events, teams of students showcase their knowledge and skills in designing, building, and programming a robot. Students demonstrate their knowledge of the Engineering Design Process by documenting their design process in an Engineering Notebook.

Students exhibit their driving skills and game strategy during match play and skills challenges. All of these activities are to be completed by the students with minimal adult assistance. Students must make the decisions, complete the work, and demonstrate their learning and knowledge to Judges for their team to qualify for Judged Awards.

All Judge volunteers should take care to dress appropriately for the role, such as wearing comfortable footwear and professional attire. Judge volunteers should avoid wearing any clothing or items that would give the appearance of a conflict of interest with any team at the event.

Managing Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest occur when there is a relationship between a judging volunteer and one or more teams or organizations at the event. Additionally, that relationship could create—or appear to create—a situation where teams will not be judged fairly, and in which discussions during award deliberations will not be impartial. It is the responsibility of the Event Partner to avoid these situations whenever possible by recruiting Judges and particularly Judge Advisors who do not have these relationships. Due to the sensitive nature of the role of Judges at REC Foundation events, it is advisable for those roles to be filled selectively.

Due to the volunteer nature of most event staff, avoiding all conflicts of interest may not always be possible. If a Judge has conflicts of interest, it is their responsibility to declare those conflicts to the Event Partner and Judge Advisor. They must mindfully avoid advocating for or against the teams with which they have a relationship and not participating directly in the judging process for those teams, such as participating in Team Interviews or Engineering Notebook evaluations.

Judging Roles

JUDGE ADVISOR

  • Must have passed the current season Judge Advisor / Judge Training & Certification Course prior to the event
  • Has no or minimal conflicts of interest with any teams attending the event
  • Organizes and oversees the overall judging process at an event
  • Facilitates deliberations and delivers final award winners to Event Partner
  • Judge Advisor age requirements:
    • VURC / VAIRC – Must be at least age 21 or older
    • V5RC – Must be at least age 20 or older and not part of a V5RC team competing at the event
    • VIQRC – Must be at least age 20 or older

Note: Any exceptions to the volunteer age rules should be rare and require approval from the REC Foundation Regional Support Manager (RSM).

JUDGE

  • Highly encouraged (but not required) to have passed the Judge Advisor / Judge Training & Certification Course for local qualifying events. Event Partners and Judge Advisors should encourage all Judges to be certified for Event Region Championship or Signature Events.
  • Judges evaluate teams to determine eligibility for Judged Awards.
  • Judges who interact directly with students must work in groups.
  • Judge age requirements:
    • VURC / VAIRC – Must be at least age 21 years or older
    • V5RC – Must be at least age 18 years or older and not part of a V5RC team
    • VIQRC – Must be at least age 18 years or older. Younger volunteers ages 16-17 may be Judges if paired with another Judge who is 18 or older. Volunteers in this situation should be mindful of youth protection and avoid situations where they are alone with students.

Note: Any exceptions to the volunteer age rules should be rare and require approval from the REC Foundation RSM.

EVENT PARTNER

  • The Event Partner oversees the planning and operation of the entire event, including volunteer recruitment and providing support for the Judges and Judge Advisor.
  • The Event Partner is an adult over the age of 18 who is not a student on a V5RC team.
  • The Event Partner and Judge Advisor must be two different eligible people. An Event Partner may not serve as a Judge Advisor at their own event, and Event Partners may not recommend or assign Judged Awards to any team.
  • The Event Partner and the Judge Advisor should work together to come up with a schedule for judging teams at the event, and to ensure there are adequate Judges for the event. If judging in person, it is recommended to have two (2) Judges for every 8-10 teams at an event to conduct the judging process within time constraints.
  • It is helpful that some, if not all, Judges have a background in technology or robotics to better evaluate the more technical awards. Good sources of volunteers can be local STEM-based companies or sponsors, local colleges, VURC teams, or program alumni.

Continue to the next section, Guide to Judging: Event Preparation and Execution