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I can appreciate the comments here. Judging the project for FLL is hard.
Especially when you consider that all of the judges are volunteers and may
not have any experience in the area that is being presented. Even if they
had an actual astronaut as one of the judges, that wouldn't necessarily
help at all if the team's project was about a piece of equipment to use on
Mars to help with mining oxygen or minerals. Astronauts don't necessarily
get training in mining. But that's not the point. You shouldn't need an
expert to evaluate the presentation. Nor should you expect one. Look at the
rubric. No where does it say, "How perfect is the idea? Is the idea ready
for deployment?". It would definitely take an expert to make that
assessment. Instead, the judges are looking to see if they did an
appropriate amount of research. Is the solution clearly explained? Is there
demonstrated added value with your idea? Was there a systematic approach
taken by the team over the course of the research and presentation
development? Again, look at the rubric and be sure that your presentation
covers everything on it.

So, what do you do as a coach?

Explain to the team that the judges are volunteers, and you may not get a
judge that knows anything about what you are presenting. So, you need to
present to a level that any fifth grader could understand. If you are using
special terms or concepts, explain them clearly in your presentation. Test
your presentation on multiple audiences, especially with people that you
can trust to give you honest, critical feedback. Keep finding new audiences
to share with in order to assess if changes actually result in an
improvement in clarity. It should be completely and perfectly clear to
everyone what problem you are trying to solve, and what your proposed
solution is. If your test audiences don't fully understand what you are
trying to accomplish, then maybe you are attempting too much? You may need
to address a smaller part of your problem.

Finally, be on the lookout for your own experts. Ask them the questions I
wrote above. "How perfect is our idea? Is our idea ready for deployment?".
Put the feedback from that in your presentation and tell the judges what
the experts think. You may have done that in your presentation, but I am
including it here for completeness.

Skip Morrow

.


On Sun, Nov 18, 2018 at 8:41 AM Frank Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> We were in the same boat.  Our experts (including a former NASA
> administrator) all liked our solution and said that it was clear that the
> kids had really researched and understood the problem.  The judges rated
> everything... quality of research, knowledge of the problem, and innovation
> in the "developing" column.  The comments on the rubric clearly indicate
> that the judges didn't understand the problem, nor did they understand the
> solution that the team presented.  I have judged for the project in prior
> years... I get it.  It's not easy.  That said, it's hard to explain the
> disconnect to the kids.
>
> -Frank
>
>
>
> On Sat, Nov 17, 2018 at 8:07 PM Sreeni Konanki <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>>
>> My point here is not to blame judges, but asking the judges to be
>> judicious about their skills and what they can judge and what they cannot
>> when given a judging event which they don't have a clue about. Yes we did
>> get a rookie judge team which had no clue about. Misjudging can disappoint
>> any team that gets affected.
>> Request to the organizers while assigning events (Project/robot/core
>> values) to the judge volunteers, to atleast put one experienced with a
>> rookie and not both rookies. I could see our judges during the event and
>> their face clearly tells they had no clue. Kids presented their project and
>> solution to experts and they all got appreciation.
>> While I understand judges are volunteers and humans, sometimes having
>> inexperienced judges and no knowledge on the topic can be really hurting.
>> Its not sour grapes (we have been to states and won awards earlier, so
>> winning an award is not a point at all). Point here is the feedback given
>> shows that the judges were not paying attention to the presentation at all
>> (which I noticed during their questions, as they were asking questions that
>> were already clearly explained and also given a handout the bio's of the
>> experts they showed their solution).
>>
>> It was clearly visible from the feedback that our team were not judged
>> correctly (even judging correctly may not have changed the outcome) and
>> kids were completely let down after they saw the feedback from the judges
>> for the project. They have done a lot of research and the subject on the
>> space radiation is huge, One comment was that the solution was not
>> original, explains it all they didn't have a clue what the solution was.
>>
>> So long mail is not to change the outcome of the event. But, an effort
>> for other teams not to get affected by misjudging and inexperience. This is
>> not to hurt feelings of volunteers who are doing excellent job, but
>> suggestion to make things better.
>>
>> Thanks,
>> Sreeni Konanki
>> Team Geminids - 23731
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