Guide to Judging: Awards

Overview

The Qualifying Criteria contains charts that indicate which awards qualify teams from local events to an Event Region Championship or the VEX Robotics World Championship. The exact number of qualifying spots allocated to each event is determined by the REC Foundation RSM for that region and can be found on that event’s information page on RobotEvents.com.

There can be three different types of Awards at REC Foundation-qualified competitions:

  • Performance Awards: Based on robot performance on the competition field in match play (Tournament/Teamwork Champion, Finalist/Second Place, etc.) and Skills Challenges (Robot Skills Champion, Robot Skills Second Place, etc.). Performance Awards do not impact the eligibility of a team to earn a Judged Award.
  • Judged Awards: Based on the award criteria. Judges, in coordination with the Judge Advisor, determine Judged Awards using the REC Foundation judging process, award criteria, and rubrics. Event Partners who choose to include judging at their event may choose which awards are offered in accordance with the Qualifying Criteria. The selection of Judged Awards may vary, but the Excellence Award, Design Award, Innovate Award, and Judges Award are required. Single page award descriptions can be printed out for use in Judge Deliberations. Teams must have completed an interview to receive a Judged Award. Most Judged Awards require the submission of an Engineering Notebook.
  • Volunteer Nominated Awards: Based on the award criteria. A subset of Judged Awards, Volunteer Nominated Awards allow for volunteer event staff—such as the Head Referee, scorekeepers, and Emcees—to nominate teams for these awards based on what they’ve seen at the event. Alternatively, the awards can be determined solely by the Judges. Only the Sportsmanship and Energy Awards have the option to be determined in this manner. The Field Note to Judge Advisor and the Sportsmanship and Energy Nomination Award Forms are helpful tools for event staff to submit award nominees. Event staff should have multiple candidates in the circumstance that the team at the top of their list is in consideration for another Judged Award.

Each award is given out in a single instance at an event, except for the Excellence Award and Judges award in accordance with the Qualifying Criteria. If no team meets the requirements for an award, that award should not be given out at an event. A team may only earn one Judged or Volunteer Nominated award at an event. They may earn additional Performance Awards apart from these.

The precedence of Judged Awards can be found in the Qualifying Criteria and is the same precedence as qualifying spots to the next level of competition.

Additionally, there may be two other types of non-qualifying awards presented at some events:

  • Individual Recognition Awards: Recognize the contributions of a volunteer, mentor, teacher, or sponsor, and are determined by the Event Partner. Judges do not determine individual award winners. Event Partners may create their own process for judging these awards if needed.
  • Custom Awards: While nearly all events choose to use standard awards, it is possible to give out custom awards using the Tournament Manager software. To prevent confusion, Event Partners should ensure that teams understand which awards being presented are custom awards specific to the event, and emphasize those awards will not factor into qualifications.

Judged Awards

DESIGN AWARD

The Design Award recognizes an organized and professional approach to the Engineering Design Process, project and time management, and team organization. Student demonstration of the Engineering Design Process is fundamental to the educational value of REC Foundation programs. The Design Award recognizes a team's ability to document and explain their Engineering Design Process via an Engineering Notebook and Team Interview. The Design Award is a required award if judging occurs at an event.

Key criteria of the Design Award are:

  • Be at or near the top of Engineering Notebook Rubric rankings with a Fully Developed Notebook. The absolute minimum for a notebook to be considered Fully Developed is scores of two or higher for the first four criteria of the rubric, outlining the initial design process of a single iteration.
  • The Engineering Notebook demonstrates a clear, complete, and organized record of an iterative Engineering Design Process.
  • Both the Team Interview and Engineering Notebook demonstrate independent inquiry from the beginning stages of their design process through execution.
  • The Engineering Notebook is consistent with the qualities demonstrated in the team interview and robot design.
  • Team demonstrates effective management of time, personnel, and resources.
  • Team Interview demonstrates their ability to explain their robot design and game strategy.
  • Team Interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, and professionalism.
  • Engineering Notebook and Team Interview demonstrate a student-centered ethos.

Notes:

  • The submission of an Engineering Notebook is a requirement for the Design Award. If no team meets the requirements for this award, it should not be given out at an event.
  • The quality of a team’s Engineering Notebook and Team Interview may play a role in the consideration of that team for other award categories.

EXCELLENCE AWARD

The Excellence Award recognizes overall excellence in both the Judged Award and the Performance Award categories. The Excellence Award incorporates all the criteria of the Design Award, plus the added component of a team’s on-field performance at the event. The Excellence Award is a required award if judging occurs at an event.

Key criteria of the Excellence Award are:

  • Be at or near the top of all Engineering Notebook Rubric rankings with a Fully Developed Notebook. The absolute minimum for a notebook to be considered Fully Developed is scores of two or higher for the first four criteria of the rubric, outlining the initial design process of a single iteration.
  • Both the Team Interview and Engineering Notebook demonstrate independent inquiry from the beginning stages of their design process through execution.
  • Be a candidate in consideration for other Judged Awards.
  • Demonstrate a student-centered ethos.
  • Exhibit positive team conduct, good sportsmanship, and professionalism.
  • The Engineering Notebook is consistent with the qualities demonstrated in the team interview and robot design.
  • At the conclusion of Qualification Matches, be ranked in the top 40% of teams* at the event in Qualification Match rankings.
  • At the conclusion of the Robot Skills Challenge matches, be ranked in the top 40% of teams* at the event.
  • At the conclusion of the Autonomous Coding Skills Challenge matches, be ranked in the top 40% of teams* at the event with a score above zero.

*For events with a single Excellence Award, percentages are based on the number of teams at the event. For blended grade level events with two grade specific Excellence Awards, percentages are based on the teams in each grade level for each award.

Notes:

  • Under certain conditions, at “blended” events which combine both grade levels (middle school and high school for V5RC, elementary school and middle school for VIQRC, and high school and university for VAIRC), one Excellence Award per grade level may be awarded. This is determined by the Qualifying Criteria. In the instance of two grade level specific Excellence Awards being given out at an event, teams are only compared to teams of the same grade level. This includes quantitative event data, such as rankings. When only one Excellence Award is given out for an event with multiple grade levels, all teams are considered together without regard for their grade level.
  • For example, in a 24-team blended event with a single Excellence Award, 40% of 24 teams would be 9.6, which rounds up to 10 teams. To be eligible for Excellence, a team would need to be ranked in the top 10 in the event for the above performance metrics to be eligible for the Excellence Award. If the event had 12 teams of each grade level, thus meeting the requirements for two grade level specific Excellence Awards, then 40% of 12 teams comes out to 4.8, which rounds up to 5. In this instance, teams would need to be ranked 5th place or higher within their grade level in the above performance metrics to be eligible for the grade level specific Excellence Award.

INNOVATE AWARD

The Innovate Award recognizes an effective and well documented design process for a novel aspect of the team’s robot design or gameplay strategy. The submission of an Engineering Notebook is a requirement for the Innovate Award. The team must indicate to Judges where this aspect can be found in their Engineering Notebook via the Innovate Award Submission Information Form, placed behind their table of contents. Teams can only submit a single aspect for consideration at an event. The team who earns the Innovate Award should be among the top contenders for the Design Award.

Key criteria of the Innovate Award are:

  • Teams identify a specific section or specific pages in their notebook covering the origin and development of a single design element, strategy, or other attribute that is a key part of their team’s robot design or gameplay.
  • This design element, strategy, or other attribute is unique or uncommon among Innovate Award candidates at the event.
  • The development of this design element, strategy, or other attribute is well-documented from initial conception through execution.
  • Engineering Notebook demonstrates a clear, complete, and organized record of the Engineering Design Process.
  • The Engineering Notebook is consistent with the qualities demonstrated in the team interview and robot design.
  • Both the Team Interview and Engineering Notebook demonstrate independent inquiry from the beginning stages of their design process through execution.
  • Team demonstrates effective management of time, personnel, and resources.
  • Team Interview demonstrates their ability to explain their robot design and game strategy.
  • Team Interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, and a student-centered ethos.

Note: Submissions for the Innovate Award must be done using the Innovate Award Submission Information Form. This should be included directly after the Engineering Notebook’s table of contents. In the case of physical notebooks, this form can be printed out and placed in the notebook. For digital notebooks, this form can be scanned in and included.

THINK AWARD

The Think Award recognizes the most effective and consistent use of coding techniques and programming design solutions to solve the game challenge.

Key criteria of the Think Award are:

  • Participation in the Autonomous Coding Skills Challenge, with a score greater than zero.
  • Programs are cleanly written, well commented, and easy to follow.
  • Team clearly explains the programming strategy to solve the game challenge.
  • Team clearly explains their programming management process / version control.
  • Students understand and explain how they worked together to develop their robot programming.
  • Programming is effective at solving the game challenges for both Qualification Matches and Autonomous Coding Skills Challenge matches.
  • Team Interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, and a student-centered ethos.
  • The Engineering Notebook is consistent with the qualities demonstrated in the team interview and robot design.

AMAZE AWARD

The Amaze Award recognizes a consistently high-performing and competitive robot.

Key criteria of the Amaze Award are:

  • Robot reliably contributes to high-scoring matches with their alliance partners.
  • Robot performs at a high level in Driving Skills and Autonomous Coding Skills at the event.
  • Programming is effective at solving the game challenges for both Qualification Matches and Skills Challenge matches.
  • Students understand and explain how they worked together to develop their robot design to consistently execute an effective game strategy.
  • Team Interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, and a student-centered ethos.
  • The Engineering Notebook is consistent with the qualities demonstrated in the team interview and robot design.

BUILD AWARD

The Build Award recognizes a well-constructed robot that is constructed with a high degree of attention to detail in order to hold up to the rigors of competition.

Key criteria of the Build Award are:

  • Robot construction is durable and robust.
  • Robot is reliable on the field and withstands the rigors of competition.
  • Robot is designed with attention to safety and detail.
  • Students understand and explain how they worked together to develop their robot design.
  • Team Interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, and a student-centered ethos.
  • The Engineering Notebook is consistent with the qualities demonstrated in the team interview and robot design.

CREATE AWARD

The Create Award recognizes a creative engineering design solution to one or more of the challenges of the competition.

Key criteria of the Create Award are:

  • Team demonstrates a creative approach to accomplish game objectives.
  • Team has committed to ambitious and creative approaches to solving the game challenge.
  • Team explains how they worked together to develop their robot design and game strategy.
  • Team Interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, and a student-centered ethos.
  • The Engineering Notebook is consistent with the qualities demonstrated in the team interview and robot design.

JUDGES AWARD

The Judges Award recognizes attributes Judges felt were deserving of special recognition. The Judges Award is a required award if judging is being conducted at an event. Optionally, a second Judges Award may be presented at an event at the discretion of the Event Partner and Judge Advisor.

Criteria to consider for the Judges Award are:

  • Team displays special attributes, exemplary effort, or perseverance at the event.
  • Team stands out to Judge volunteers as being deserving of special recognition.
  • Team Interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, and a student-centered ethos.

ENERGY AWARD

The Energy Award recognizes outstanding enthusiasm and excitement at the event.

Key criteria of the Energy Award are:

  • Team maintains a high level of enthusiasm and excitement throughout the event.
  • Team exhibits a passion for the robotics competition that enriches the event experience for all.

INSPIRE AWARD

The Inspire Award recognizes passion for the competition and positivity at the event.

Key criteria of the Inspire Award are:

  • Team exhibits passion and a positive attitude at the event.
  • Team exhibits integrity and goodwill toward other teams, coaches, and event staff.
  • Team overcomes an obstacle or challenge, or achieves a goal or special accomplishment at the event.
  • Team Interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, and a student-centered ethos.

SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD

The Sportsmanship Award recognizes a high degree of good sportsmanship, helpfulness, respect, and a positive attitude both on and off the competition field.

Key criteria of the Sportsmanship Award are:

  • Team is courteous, helpful, and respectful to everyone, on and off the field.
  • Team interacts with others in the spirit of friendly competition and cooperation.
  • Team acts with honesty and integrity, enriching the event experience for all.

Individual Recognition Awards

The Mentor of the Year Award recognizes a team mentor who has helped students achieve goals that were seemingly out of reach. This individual is a role model, a leader, and an extraordinary mentor who helps show students new ways to expand their knowledge and solve problems in the world of STEM.

The Partner of the Year Award recognizes an organization that consistently supports students and schools as they pursue excellence in competitive robotics. The recipient of this award is recognized as a champion who dedicates their time, abilities, and resources to ensure affordability and accessibility for all participants.

The Teacher of the Year Award recognizes a teacher who shows true leadership and dedication to their group of students. The winner of this award continually exceeds expectations to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and educational experience for all students.

The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual at the root of each event who leads the effort to "make things happen.” Hosting a robotics event takes the collective effort of many people who give their time and effort for the sake of the participants. The Volunteer of the Year demonstrates a commitment and devotion to their community, putting in many hours of hard work with persistence and passion to make events happen.

Continue to the next section, Guide to Judging: Judging Engineering Notebooks