Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science

Research & Presentation Scoring Rules

Students' research and presentations must conform to following set of Research and Presentation Rules.   Students and their research projects are judged on their OWN merit in meeting the Criteria for Judging rather than in comparison to other Students or research projects.

These following rules are designed to teach students better presentation skills and provide the judges with a uniform set of guideline:

  1. Each student's research project & presentation will be judged on its own merit in meeting the Criteria for Judging rather than in competition with other research or students.
  2. The student doing the presentation must be the one who conducted the research. (ABSOLUTELY NO SUBSTITUTES).
  3. Although students may present a new phase of an on-going project, no student may present a research topic from a previous year without conducting significant additional research on the topic during the current year.
  4. Measurements must be in metric except where highly specialized equipment is calibrated in other units. Presentations in which the measurements were not done in metric will not receive a first place award, regardless of score.
  5. Each student will give their presentation in the same order as listed in the program booklet. The judges may make an exception for unusual circumstances.
  6. The judging team may not add a student to the program without official notice from the Registration Committee or its representative.
  7. The presentation will not exceed a maximum time limit of ten (10) minutes and will be given proper notice by a timekeeper. No reduction in score will be given for a presentation of less than ten (10) minutes. Presentations exceeding ten (10) minutes will not receive a first place award, regardless of score. There will be a grace period of approximately 10 - 15 seconds before this penalty is applied.
  8. Presentation specifics:
    1. A student shall not be interrupted during his presentation and no one shall be permitted to enter or leave the room during the presentation.
    2. The researchers may use notes in their presentations but reading the report to the judges is considered bad form.
    3. Any two-dimensional representation (charts, pictures, graphs, posters, slides, projections etc.) may be used to enhance and supplement the talk, but not to replace the speaker.
    4. No three-dimensional objects may be used in the presentations.
    5. The actual experiment may NOT be used in the presentation*.
    6. No materials may be passed to the judges during the presentation. Only in rare, unique situations might the judges request materials during the questioning period.
    7. Only a PJAS technician may assist with the use of the audiovisual equipment.
    8. Specialized presentation media such as video recording, tape cassettes, computer screens, etc. should be used only when absolutely necessary to establish a point that cannot be made with standard media and should constitute at most 10% of the total speech.
    9. In cases of doubt as to the appropriateness of a presentation, the State Judging Chairmen will make the final ruling.
  9. Upon completion of the presentation the researcher may be questioned BY THE JUDGES for a time period of NOT MORE THAN 5 MINUTES. Judges may ask questions to seek clarification of a student’s methods, conclusions, and/or understanding. It is inappropriate for judges to criticize or comment on a student’s project.
  10. Scoring specifics. Each category of the Judging Criteria shall be scored on a 5 point integer system:
    (Excellent) 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 (Unacceptable)
  11. The student shall receive award based on the average score per judge, calculated by the following formula:
    Average Score = Total Score of All Judges
    5 x (Total Number of Judges)
  12. The standards for awards at the State Meeting are:
    1st award - average score 4.0 or higher
    2nd Award - average score 3.0 or higher
    3rd Award - average score below 3.0
  13. If there is a question of student eligibility, ONLY the judging committee or judging chair may disqualify the student.  Judges may not disqualify a student. The judging committee or judging chair may ask for input from any source they wish.
  14. Questions concerning infractions of the State Rules for Judging are subject to the investigation and ruling of the Chairmen of the State Judging Committee and the Regional Directors if appropriate.
  15. Non-PJAS Awards. Judges should be aware that outside agencies often are interested in rewarding some of our participants, identified either by judges' high scores or a set of criteria of their own.


* However, in Computer Science projects, it may be appropriate to show the actual operation of a computer program. cases of doubt as to the appropriateness of the presentation, the Judging Committee will make a final determination. For additional details regarding the use of Audiovisuals, see General Notes on the Use of Audiovisuals.


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Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science