Can't attend tournament - alternate assessment ideas

Our robotics program is one that is a class period during the school day. So I’m using the tournaments that we attend as a form of test for the class along with a reflection activity after the tournament…both for a grade in the class.
I’m looking for ideas on what a fair, alternate activity would be for a student that doesn’t attend a tournament. Any ideas?

I mean an in-house tournament with all the robots playing is always fun. A couple qual matches (with custom rules maybe) and then a round robin much like a normal tournament. Winning alliance gets 100% and the everyone else who competed gets 95%. Idk just something that we do in speech and debate for instances like this.


Is this assessed by rankings in the tournament or robot performance?
Because some teams do get luckier than others and go farther than their robot should be able to do.
(Not doubting your grading system or anything :slight_smile: l


I like this idea of doing an in-house tournament of sorts. We only have 3 teams but MAYBE we could invite a neighboring school to do a scrimmage? Hmmmm…

My school’s robotics program is structured similarly where we have a class and a club. The people who were in the class and on a non-competition team were still required to attend a competition, but if they couldn’t make it to a competition then the assignment would consist of going on to Youtube, finding an archived event stream or some match videos, and then take notes on robots, designs, strategies, etc.

The rest of our grade consists of participation points, and a presentation once a quarter on our team’s robot progress (ie, going over robot issues they encountered that week, how they evaluated potential solutions, and overall how the solution worked out).

Hope this helped!


My middle school had a robotics class, with only 2-3 competent teams. The way we were graded was in an in-class competition, where robots competed one on one in a round robin style tournament. It was a fun way to be graded on our robots performance, and the winners were chosen to go to an actual (still unofficial) tournament with other middles schools.

I had a robotics class in middleschool, everyone went to the tournaments but if the student is an active part of the team and can’t show for an out of school event have them exempt.

Like as long as they’re working as hard as all the other students.

Real tournaments are a lot more rewarding, an in-house tournament could also be performed.

This is the email that I send to all students (and their parents) before our first class session:

Welcome to second trimester Robotics Club!
If your student has enrolled in the Engineering class and/or joined the after school program, they are automatically enrolled in the Robotics Club. As members of the club and students in an Engineering class, members are expected to attend a minimum number of tournaments as part of their grade and commitment to complete the Engineering pathway:

  • Level 1 students must attend 3 events & complete 4 modules (in Google Classroom)

  • Level 2 students must attend 4 events & complete 2 modules (in Google Classroom)

  • Level 3 and above students must attend at least 5 events (all is preferred)

  • NM Tournament and VEX State Championship are mandatory for all students

Tournament Schedule: (I typically list 6-7 regional events plus state championship)

My grading system is based on qualification rankings:
A = Beat 15% of the teams participating
B = Beat 10% of the teams participating
C = Beat 5% of the teams participating
D= Any thing less than 5%

This way, no one “fails” a tournament if they go, has more than one opportunity to “make up” a missed tournament, and it keeps them engaged throughout the qualification rounds. The only rule is that all robots must run at EVERY tournament so I generally encouraged mixed level teams. As I am also an event partner, I offer students the opportunity for extra credit if they show up when I do to set up and tear down and don’t leave before I do…without complaining. :wink:


Some people might not be able to make it. You should do an assessment of each person’s performance as a whole, then the whole team’s (and remember that sometimes the match schedule can make or break how well you do).

1 Like

You could have the kids do driver / programming skills in class. I grade the notebooks weekly as well and have some individual work they can do towards certification testing.


Since you only have three teams, you should run in house 1v1s to assess specific strengths instead of having to rely on their alliance partner, and would more accurately reflect their robot performance.

I think they should go to one competition and see how their robots stack up against robots that are built by teams and not classes, but 3-5 tournaments is a lot of extra curricular time that they are spending just for an elective class.

Definitely have the skills field open for a few runs for each team, again to assess how strong they are. For grading, I would give skills its own grade and match performance its own grade.


This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.