My judges said that the scoring sheets were "over-engineered". It took one of them about 20 minutes to figure out how to use them and explain it to the rest.

Darlene Pantaleo
Judge Advisor
Maggie Walker

On Nov 9, 2009, at 7:15 PM, Sandy Furman wrote:

Feel free to pass along any helpful hints- I don’t check the list serve at all
From: VA/DC FLL tournament directors and officials [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Phil Smith III
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2009 5:42 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-TOURNAMENT-L] Welcome FLL Head Judges!
I quite like that option. One of my judging pairs did that, and it was OK. I wasn’t going to suggest it lest it cause trouble, but now that you have, I’d say it’s a fine option!
From: VA/DC FLL tournament directors and officials [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sam LaPlante
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2009 5:22 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-TOURNAMENT-L] Welcome FLL Head Judges!
What I had instruted my judges to do was to in each subcatogory circle one score (X1, X2, X3, or X4, corresponding with needs improvement, fair, good and excelent). So for the robot design they circle the 7 numbers and the score keeper added the 7 numbers, then divided by 7 for the average score. 
The boxes within each of those subcatagories were used for qualitative guidence as opposed to quantitative analysis. It seemed to work well for the newport news tournement, and didn't seem to cumbersome for the judges. 
I hope this helps for the second week tournements. 

Sam LaPlante
Newport News / Norfolk Head Judge

From: Phil Smith III <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 09 Nov 2009 15:29:13 -0500
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-TOURNAMENT-L] Welcome FLL Head Judges!
Thank you for asking this – I’m including the entire list because they all need to know. This scoresheet came from FLL Galactic, and yes, the divide/multiply is useless. Basically there are 7 categories: 6 on the front page, 1 on the back. So what you need is a big sum that you can divide by 7. My 17-year-old figured this out after everyone puzzled over it for a few minutes.
I have a calendar item for the new year to contact FLL HQ about the scoresheets: everyone said they were too granular this year, made it hard to judge. Other opinions/thoughts of course welcome.
Phil Smith III
Virginia State Judge Advisor, 2007, 2008, 2009
Judge Advisor, Northern Virginia Regional tournaments, 2007, 2008, 2009
Division 1 Judge Advisor, Virginia State tournament, 2006
Coach, The Capital Girls, Oak Hill (retired)
Team 1900 (2002)
Team 2497 (2003)
Team 2355 (2004)
Team 1945 (2005)
From: Barbara Bragg [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2009 3:26 PM
To: Phil Smith III
Subject: RE: [VADCFLL-TOURNAMENT-L] Welcome FLL Head Judges!
Hi Phil,
Question about the robot design score sheet
1st page, at bottom, Final Mechanical Design Score = Sum/6
2nd page, at bottom, Enter 6 multiplied by the Final Mechanical Design Score =
Do we divide and then multiply to get the same number?
Barbara Bragg
Interim Grants Administrator
Central Virginia Community College
3506 Wards Road
Lynchburg, VA  24502
(434) 832-7672
(434) 832-7761 FAX
From: VA/DC FLL tournament directors and officials [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Phil Smith III
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009 11:37 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [VADCFLL-TOURNAMENT-L] Welcome FLL Head Judges!
Welcome! As you're all aware, the Regional FLL tournaments are fast approaching. I’m the state Judge Advisor for Virginia; you’ve been identified by your Tournament Director as being Judge Advisor for your Regional. Your TD has seen most or all of what I’m about to say, so some of it may look familiar if (s)he has forwarded it to you already, but there’s some new content in this note, so please do read it. I’m CCing the TD list, so they’ll see this updated version.
I’ve attached several files:
-          The Judges’ Handbook.
-          Missions.doc.
-          Rubrics, in two formats.
-          Scoresheets.
-          Three Feedback forms.
-          An Excel spreadsheet for aggregate scoring. I’ll call this “the spreadsheet” later in this note.
-          FLL Judge Info and FLL Judge Assistant Info. These are the “Info Sheets”.
I’ll discuss each of these and why they’re (hopefully) useful. Feel free to send this note on to your Judges, too, including the attachments; there’s nothing here that they shouldn’t see.

The Judges’ Handbook

The Handbook tells you everything you need to know as a Judge. Well, probably not everything, or I wouldn’t still be typing, but it’s a pretty decent book. It’s also 39 pages. That’s smaller than it used to be, but still not tiny. If you haven’t Judged before—and even if you have—if you can possibly take time to at least skim it before the tournament, you’ll be doing yourself and your Judges a favor. I’d recommend printing one copy for the tournament; your Judges don’t each need a printed copy, but having one in case you need to look something up would be a goodness.


This is just the missions in a (hopefully) readable format; you can get this from the web but sometimes it’s easier to work with as a document, especially if you need to extract one or two for some reason.


The Rubrics are provided in letter and legal size. Most folks just use the letter size. These are helpful for the Judges to remember what they’re scoring the teams on.

The Scoresheets

The Scoresheets are how numeric scores are provided, based on the Rubrics. Important: If a judging pair wants to both fill these out, that’s fine, but the must return only one as the official copy. Also important: They must fill out the team number and name on these – otherwise there will be no way to tie them back to the team! Please make sure this is clear. There’s nothing worse than getting a high-scoring scoresheet with no team info on it! Because we have the Feedback Sheets, there’s no point in filling out the “Additional Comments” section at the bottom.
I realize that these are legal size, which can be a pain to print; I’m trying to get them in letter size from FIRST, and will forward that if/when I do.

The Feedback Forms

The Feedback Forms are very important, as they provide the only real feedback most teams will get from you. They were created last year by a volunteer, and the teams loved them. Some Judges will write novels, some will write a few words. All we can do is ask that they try to give as much constructive, gracious feedback as possible. Time is always an issue at a tournament, and some Judges would like to write more but just don’t have the time. Even if all you do is the checkboxes, it gives them some idea of how they did.

The Spreadsheet

The spreadsheet is for the Judge Advisor’s use at the tournament.
Before the tournament, make a copy of this spreadsheet for each division. (I’d also make one to experiment with.) The teams get filled in on the Team Data sheet. The XLS was designed by FIRST for a playoff-style tournament, which we don’t use in Virginia, so ignore those aspects.
During the day, your Judges be filling out scoresheets as they go. Your Judge Assistants will run these to you in batches (and you can pick them up, too, as you circulate). You really want to keep on top of these, filling in values on the “Judging Entry And Standings” sheet.
You also want to get table scores and fill those in, on the “Score Entry And Standings” sheet.
As you do this, you’ll notice that the “Judging Entry And Standings” sheet highlights the highest-scoring teams.
At the end of the day, when all is filled in, you can pick the highest team in each category when you do the awards deliberation. Of course, with the one-award-per-team rule, the highest in each area doesn’t necessarily win that area—if they’ve already won a “higher” award, you have to find the next one down. The area to the right shows team rankings; the “Awarded” section is just a scratch area for your use.

The Info Sheets

The Info Sheets are “cheat sheets” for your Judges and Judge advisors. They seem to appreciate having something to remind them what they’re doing (especially the JAs).

The Judges’ Meeting

The morning of the qualifiers, what I do is to get my Judges together in the judging room and go over the “cheat sheets”. Same for the Judge Assistants. I give them the scoring sheets and Feedback sheets and we discuss those, reminding them that they can do one or two Feedback sheets per team, but that we want ONE scoring sheet.
Some Judges will want to hold onto scoresheets, either at first (until they get a feel for a baseline) or perhaps for the really exceptional teams, so they can adjust their scoring as necessary. This is fine; you just don’t want to get 32 scoresheets at the end and have to enter the scores with the judges sitting there looking over your shoulder (and the teams getting restive in the gym).
I also promise the Judges that I’ll be around and will sit in on a session or two, mostly because I like to see the teams. I emphasize that the schedule is important, and tell the JAs that part of their charter is to keep their Judges on track. Then they ask some questions. About then it’s usually time for me to head off to the Coaches’ Meeting, and for them to head to the Opening.
The overall messages I try to transmit are:
        I’m here to help and will be circulating to see what you (Judges) need
        The kids come first
        This should be fun, for you and the kids
        DON’T PANIC
        Remember Gracious Professionalism!

During the Day

During the day, I circulate as promised. This lets me keep an eye out for any developing problems, and of course also lets the Judges ask questions. I collect scoresheets as I go, and encourage the JAs to bring them to the deliberation room too.

Stuff To Bring If You Can


You’ll want a laptop for the scoresheets, of course. Your TD may be able to provide one, but you might want your own. Judges do not need one.


Judges, please bring a kitchen timer or watch with a stopwatch/timer so you can time sessions. You can use a watch without a stopwatch/timer if you must, but having a timer is better, and most folks have one or two kicking around the kitchen (and many of us geeks have watches that do countdown). Remember that cellphones may not work in the school, so you can’t count on using that for time!

White Boards

I have a couple of small (12x14 or so) white boards that I give my JAs. They use these to record which teams are “on deck”. This reduces the confusion and noise in the hallway outside judging: as teams arrive, if they see their name on the board, they know they’re in the right place and don’t make noise asking. It also lets them know if there’s another team ahead of them.


Coordinate with your TD to make sure you have:
        Plenty of paper scoresheets—two of each per team.
        Paper feedback sheets—two of each per team.
        Rubrics (one set per judging pair, appropriate to their area).
        Info sheets (one per judging pair, a few for JAs).
Nobody will be happy if this doesn’t happen. L

OK, there’s a lot in this note, so I’ll stop typing. If you have questions, of course fire ’em off at me. Other than next Wednesday and Thursday, I should be on email all day.
And let me take this opportunity to thank you for volunteering to be a Judge Advisor!
Phil Smith III
Virginia State Judge Advisor, 2007, 2008, 2009
Judge Advisor, Northern Virginia Regional tournaments, 2007, 2008, 2009
Division 1 Judge Advisor, Virginia State tournament, 2006
Coach, The Capital Girls, Oak Hill (retired)
Team 1900 (2002)
Team 2497 (2003)
Team 2355 (2004)
Team 1945 (2005)

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