Making judged awards like design award not qualify

Recently I went to a competition and obviously the organization that was hosting the event had some of their teams in the event (this is expected), but one of their teams had a chassis with just a descorer on their arm and won the design award which qualifies for state. I’m not salty or anything about this happening because I already qualified, but giving the design award to a team with a drive and a descorer isn’t fair to teams that have put a lot more effort into their designs. It would be nice if Vex made it mandatory for awards that qualify for events like state or worlds to be based on performance instead of solely judging.

Yeah, no.

The criteria for design award is solely dependent on the Engineering Notebook, which documents the design process. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards in Vex. It is usually given to the runner up for excellence.


They probably weren’t the runner up for excellence because they were not in top 3 skills, top 8 in qualifications, or even in eliminations.

I would recommend you read the Judge Guide about the process for selecting awards. It may be your event did not have correct procedure in place.

I personally believe that judged awards are important to the mission of the RECF and should qualify for advancement.

I have been fortunate to have met many teams with excellent design process and that usually helps them get better results on the field.

and you are coming across as salty :slight_smile:


We’ve had issues with this as well. It would be nice to see enforcement of the rules as they are written.

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usually, there is a REC official there to enforce the rules at events we have been to.

I do think that the Design award should go beyond the notebook and judging, but not really into performance. A design award should go to the team with the best designed robot, as judged by the notebook and interview. Maybe the team in question had a spectacular notebook and their design was more extensive and extravagant than came across as a spectator, but you just don’t know these things.

I agree it is not just about the notebook. I look at it as:
what does the notebook -
what does the team -
what does the robot -
tell you about how the robot came to be?

a good process will make it clear.

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Can you give an example of how the robot could tell you about how the robot came to be? I’m a big confused on that part.

Basically just making sure it isn’t a dad bot, and the kids actually designed it. Like if you ask “Where did you get the idea for this?” and they can’t answer that’s a sign they didn’t design it.

there’s a lot more than that. Some teams will do a lot more analysis, they’ll do a lot more prototyping, and they’ll really take an idea and implement it well and a lot of that comes through in the interviews - a lot of the tiny details that they implemented, some things they noticed and thought would be good if they added, basically: it shows the process of how they ended up at this point.

Our judge teams watch every robot in competition and inspect it up close.

SO scenarios where teams have fantastic notebooks, but performs poorly on field do not demonstrate the connection to design process to implementation. As others have noted, if team can not explain robot, that could be a problem.

The primary focus of the Design Award is the Engineering notebook. It is, and as far as I know never intended to be, the best designed robot, but rather an award that rewards the ability of the team to document the design of the robot. It is NOT a performance award. I have seen outstanding robots, whose teams turned in awful notebooks and mediocre robots that have turned in outstanding notebooks. I train my judges to sort out the notebooks to the top 5-7, then go interview the teams. That interview is primarily to see whether; one, the team can articulate what was in their notebook and two, does the robot do what they designed the robot to do. There may be teams out there with limited time and resources that make it difficult to build an incredible robot, but they do an outstanding job of documenting the design process that they followed to solve the game problem with the resources that they had.

That may be the perception, however it is not a performance based award. Whereas it has been pointed out already, the Excellence Award does take performance into account.


I think a better idea is making the Design and Excellence awards not qualify anyone to states or worlds.

Design process is of course important, but if you go through a great design process to build a robot that can’t score points, I’m not sure why you deserve a spot at states.

I won an excellence award at a competition a few months ago, but my notebook was complete nonsense. I skipped big parts of the design process, omitted a rebuild altogether, and created the entire notebook in the 4 days before the competition. Yesterday, at a different competition, the recipients of the excellence award had a competition robot that was totally different from the one described in the notebook. Their actual robot was documented nowhere.

The notebook might seem great to mentors, but for most students, it creates an incentive to change facts, BS work, and remove big parts of robot design altogether. There are a handful of teams who really do write down everything that happens in every meeting in their notebook the day of the meeting, and those teams’ organization is commendable, but the ability of your robot should take priority over the documentation of your design process every time.

I think of the design and judges awards as an opportunity for people who don’t have a great robot or driver to get to state. I do agree about not qualifying for worlds, but qualifying for state is not that bad of an idea.

Doesn’t matter how bad the robot itself is, if the notebook is amazing it deserves design.

As someone who’s served a lot as a judge,
Design Award = Great Documentation + Interview (Not based on performance).
Excellence Award = Great Documentation + Great Performance + Great Skills

But I mean I guess it doesn’t really make sense to make awards like Energy or Amaze qualify, I’d rather have teams with better performance qualify in that case.

Disagree - design is not about just the notebook and interview - it is also the robot - seriously if you have a design process that does not produce a good product and better ones on each iteration then the process is flawed.

There is a context for this design process - it is the game and the robot you implement.


I think we agree on this point - hence why we have our judges on the fields, in the pits, and scrutinize the robot for design and excellence.

Where we differ, is that great teams are able to create great robots, perform well, and communicate their designs. Important skills to have, and in the context of RECF VRC program, worthy of a seat at the table.

The design award is flawed in that sense. The way they judge it now, it doesn’t taken into account robot performance based on the rubric.

No, that’s the excellence award…