Guide to Judging: Awards

Overview

The Qualifying Criteria contains charts that indicate which Awards will qualify teams from local events to a Regional or World Championship event. The exact number of qualifying spots allocated to each event is determined by the REC Foundation Manager for that region, and can be found on that event’s information page on RobotEvents.com.

There are two types of qualifying 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, and Judges Award are required. Single page award descriptions can be printed out for use in Judge Deliberations. Teams must have completed an interview in order to receive a Judged Award. Some Judged Awards additionally 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 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 may each optionally be determined in this manner. The Field Note to Judge Advisor and Sportsmanship and Energy Nomination Award Forms are helpful tools for staff to submit award nominees. Event staff should be mindful to have additional candidates for the circumstance that the team at the top of their list is in consideration for another Judged Award.

Each Award only occurs in a single instance at each event with the exception of the Excellence Award, which may be given to one team in each grade level at eligible blended events in accordance with the Qualifying Criteria, and the Judges Award, which is required to be given out in once instance, and optionally may be given out in a second instance at an event. 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/Volunteer Nominated award at an event. They may earn additional Performance Based awards.

The precedence of Judged Awards is Excellence, Design, Innovate, Think, Amaze, Build, Create, Judges, Inspire, Energy and Sportsmanship. This precedence is 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 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 help prevent confusion, Event Partners should ensure that teams understand which awards being presented are custom awards specific to the event.

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 is being conducted 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" would be the first four criteria of the rubric, outlining the initial design process of a single iteration.
  • Exhibit a high-quality team interview.
  • Engineering Notebook demonstrates clear, complete, and organized record of an iterative Engineering Design Process
  • Team demonstrates effective management of time, talent, 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.

Additional 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. If this is the case, event attendees should be given a brief explanation as to why. 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.
  • To be in consideration for the Design Award at the World Championship, teams are required to have earned the Excellence or Design Award at an event which is directly qualifying teams to the World Championship. Exceptions to this requirement may be made based on geographic circumstances.

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 is being conducted 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" would be the first four criteria of the rubric, outlining the initial design process of a single iteration.
  • Exhibit a high-quality team interview.
  • At the conclusion of qualifying matches, be ranked in the top 30% of teams* at the event in qualification match / teamwork match rankings.
  • At the conclusion of the Robot Skills Challenge matches, be ranked in the top 30% of teams* at the event, and have a score above zero.
  • At the conclusion of the Autonomous Coding Challenge matches, be ranked in the top 30% of teams* at the event with a score above zero. 
  • Be a candidate in consideration for other Judged Awards
  • Demonstrate a student-centered ethos.
  • Exhibit positive team conduct, good sportsmanship, and professionalism.

*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 should be based on the teams in each grade level for each award.

Additional notes:

  • Under certain conditions, at events which combine both grade levels (Middle School and High School for VRC, Elementary School and Middle School for VIQRC), one Excellence Award per grade level may be awarded. This is determined by the REC Foundation Manager and the Qualifying Criteria.
  • In the instance of two grade level specific Excellence Awards being given out at an event, teams are to be compared only among 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, 30% of 24 team would be 7.2, which rounds down to 7 teams. In order to be eligible for Excellence, a team would need to be ranked in the top 7 for overall Qualification Rankings, Robot Skills Challenge Rankings, and Autonomous Coding Skills Challenge Rankings.
    • If the event had 12 teams of each grade level, meeting the requirements for two grade level specific Excellence Awards, then 30% of 12 teams comes out to 3.6, which rounds up to 4. This will be true for overall Qualification Rankings, Robot Skills Challenge Rankings, and Autonomous Coding Skills Challenge Rankings. In this instance, teams would need to be ranked 4 or higher within their grade level to be eligible for the grade level specific Excellence Award.
    • For quantitative event data, Qualification and Skills Rankings can be found in the Reports tab in Tournament Manager at the event. Within Reports, under Awards there are Excellence Award specific reports, which will indicate teams’ eligibility based on performance data at the event. This report should be requested at the conclusion of Qualification and Skills matches to ensure that the report is complete with all match data.
      Excellence candidate reports.png
  • Excellence Award criteria, including performance metrics, are intended as a threshold for eligibility. Qualitative judgement on the part of judges is needed to discern an Excellence Award winner from among eligible candidates.
  • Submission of an Engineering Notebook is a requirement for the Excellence Award. If no team meets the requirements for this award, it should not be given out at an event. If this is the case, event attendees should be given a brief explanation as to why.
  • To be in consideration for the Excellence Award at the World Championship, teams are required to have earned the Excellence or Design Award at an event which is directly qualifying teams to the World Championship. Exceptions to this requirement may be made based on geographic circumstances.

Innovate Award

The Innovate Award recognizes an effective and well documented design process for a novel aspect of team’s design. The submission of an Engineering Notebook is a requirement for the Innovate Award. The team should indicate for  judges where this aspect can be found in their Engineering Notebook. 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 in their notebook a specific section or specific pages covering the origin and development of a 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 robot design process.
  • Team demonstrates effective management of time, talent, 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: For physical notebooks, submissions for the Innovate Award must be done either by using the Innovate Award Submission Information Form or through an entry in the Engineering Notebook with the equivalent information as the last entry in the notebook. For Digital Engineering Notebooks, this may be done for each team by using the RobotEvents Digital Engineering Notebook link upload feature found in the team’s dashboard on RobotEvents.com under “My Account”.

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
  • Autonomous programming is consistent and reliable.
  • 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.
  • Team interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, and a student-centered ethos.

Amaze Award

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

Key criteria of the Amaze Award are:

  • Robot consistently contributes to high-scoring matches with their alliance partner.
  • Robot performs at a high level in Driving Skills and Autonomous Coding Skills at the event.
  • Robot is designed and constructed to consistently execute an effective game strategy.
  • Robot programming is effective and consistently successful.
  • 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.

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 holds up under competition conditions.
  • 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.

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.

Judges Award

The Judges Award recognizes attributes that may not fit in other award categories and the 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. This is the only Judged Award that may be presented in more than one instance at an event.

Key criteria of the Judges Award are:

  • Team displays special attributes, exemplary effort, or perseverance at the event.
  • Team overcomes an obstacle or challenge and achieves a goal or special accomplishment.
  • 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.
  • Team interview demonstrates effective communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, and a student-centered ethos.

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

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. There are many partners and organizations that deserve recognition for their support of the REC Foundation and VEX competitions. 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 are willing to 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