At Judges Training, you will be asked to sign up for the particular job you will do on the day of the tournament. The following are brief descriptions of the various judging jobs for you to review. These will be covered in more detail at Judges Training, but are presented here so that you can think about which of these positions you might like.
For small judging teams in Spontaneous, a judge could assume more than one role, and all judges will be scoring. If there are enough judges on the team, one or more of the roles might not score.
Long-Term Judging Positions
Head Judge: The problem captain usually assigns this position to an experienced judge before the day of Judges Training. Head judges do not do any actual scoring of teams, but lead the judging team and are responsible for keeping the problem site on schedule. They are also the ones who will give the coaches their raw scores, and will handle any problems or complaints.
Staging Area Judge: These judges are the first judges a team meets. They greet the team and make sure they have all the proper paperwork (style forms, outside assistance forms, cost forms, etc.). They also make sure the problem solution meets certain requirements (props of a certain height/width, membership sign is present and correct, etc.) and make sure the team is not violating any of the safety rules (everybody has foot coverings, they’re not using helium balloons, etc.). It is important that these judges be outgoing, warm, and friendly. They deal with very anxious kids who are about to perform, so they need to be able reassure the teams. Usually there is one staging area judge on a judging team, but sometimes there are two.
Problem Judges: These judges are responsible for scoring the long-term section of the problem. They are responsible for a mix of objective (Did it pop the balloon?) and subjective (How creative was the theme?) criteria. These criteria are defined in section D of the long-term problem description. There are at least two and sometimes as many as four problem judges per judging team.
Style Judges: These judges are responsible for scoring the completely subjective style portion of the problem. There are five categories that receive 1 – 10 points. The categories are outlined in section F of the long-term problem description. Usually, there are three required categories and two that are “free choice of team”, which means you will be judging whatever the team specifies for those categories. There are at least two and sometimes as many as four style judges per judging team.
Timekeeper/Emcee: This person is the announcer for each performance, explaining basic rules to the audience, introducing the team, and starting the timing for the performance. Every problem has a time limit and the timekeeper will stop the team at the end of their allotted time. There is one timekeeper per judging team.
Score Checker: This judge will not be directly scoring any teams. Score checkers are the keepers of the paperwork. They average the individual judges’ scores, enter them onto the master score sheets, and make sure all of the right paperwork is in the right order when it is sent to the score room. Score checkers are asked to bring a laptop with Excel in order to use a tournament-provided spreadsheet that insures data consistency. Well organized people are needed in this position. There is usually one score checker per judging team; sometimes there are two.
Weigh-In judges: These judges are needed for the balsa wood problem only. These judges check in the balsa structures and make sure they meet all the building criteria (height, weight, size, etc.). They get a chance to take a good, in-depth look at each structure and how it’s built. There are at least two and sometimes three weigh-in judges.
Doorkeeper: This person makes sure that no one enters or leaves the performance area during a team’s presentation of their solution. There is one doorkeeper per judging team.
Spontaneous Judging Positions
Head Judge: The head judge leads the judging team and is responsible for keeping the problem site on schedule.
Timekeeper: The timekeeper reads the problem instructions and keeps time.
Score Checker: This judge will be the keeper of the paperwork. This involves averaging the individual judges’ scores, entering them onto the score sheets, and doing any other calculations required by the particular problem.
Escort: This judge goes to the holding area to get the team, ensures that the team is the correct one, escorts them to the problem site, and escorts them back to the holding area after they have finished.