Noteboook format bonus

The notebook bonus states that it should be done in sequence of the design process and examples of fulfilling this requirement includes signed and dated entries in a bound notebook. Every page I write, I sign and date it. My table of contents is color coded with the design process steps. Does it require an additional witness signature?

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I should mention, I ask because what i did wasnt enough to count for the bonus

That sounds like enough. But I don’t understand how you knew whether or not you got the bonus because the rubrics are meant to be strictly confidential, and not to be shared beyond Judges.

It might be clearer with a screenshot of a page from your Engineering Notebook.


It has a twofold benefit if you engage your teammates, 1) it shows that the team is connected to the design process, and 2) your teammates can’t claim they did not know about a design change :slight_smile:


My team mate doesn’t even do anything on the notebook.

Someone should sign those pages. Not that is would effect the bonus as written, but could potentially lose points elsewhere on the rubric.

I had a student who became a one man team halfway through the season one year. He still made a point to have someone from another team sign as a witness throughout his notebook. A witness can be just that. Since multiple teams were working in the same shop it was easy to get other students to corroborate his process. Worlds Design Award winner.


at this point i am also a one person team, but I work on the robot at my house and honestly i dont even know the names and faces of the kids in other teams. Would getting my coach to sign work?

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yup - good way to get feedback during engineering design process.

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Either your coach or a trusted adult/student that can corroborate your progress on the robot throughout the season. Having your coach sign them also allows them to review your notebook and potentially give you feedback on it.


apparently it wasn’t enough. On the bottom of each page of my notebook is a place to sign and date for both user and witness, I sign and date it and as i dont really have a witness that line is usually just blank. Do you think that could be why?

Could be why what?

Are you asking if having no witness is a reason why your nb wouldn’t be given the 5 point format bonus? No. It has nothing to do with that.

Are you asking if that is why you didn’t win a design award? There are many other factors that go into that award; if you were dinged for no witness (which you might well have been, as that is something listed in the criteria for an outstanding notebook), it would only have been a small piece of a large whole.

If you repeatedly have expected to win design award but repeatedly have not, I find it pretty unlikely that ‘no witness’ was the main factor. Instead, you should be looking at your notebook and interview as a whole and seeing where they might be improved to better meet what the judges are looking for (per the judge guide, including rubrics).


my original question was asking why my notebook doesnt fulfill the format bonus. The bonus and possibly the interview are where I went askew, and I want to know how i can remedy the former. Not that it matters, but I’ve won design before for CU and i’ve only been to one comp so far this season.

To re-ask a question above, why is it that you don’t think you got this bonus? Do you just think that is what happened, or did someone you feel was in a position to know tell you, or did you see your specific rubric? (Note - these questions are rhetorical - rubrics and their data are supposed to be kept confidential).

5 point bonus info per the Judge Guide

The 5-point bonus for having a bound notebook has been removed and replaced
with a 5-point bonus for submissions of paper, printed, or digital submissions
containing evidence that documentation was done in sequence with the design
process. This change to the rubric is meant to allow judges to award the 5-point
bonus for submissions that provided appropriate evidence of sequential work
irrespective of the notebook submission format.
:black_small_square: Examples of this would include signed and dated entries in a bound
notebook, or time stamps generated by digital collaboration platforms.
The Judge Advisor will use reasonable discretion to determine whether
evidence is sufficient to warrant the bonus, and will apply that standard
consistently to all submissions at the event. When there is doubt or
question regarding evidence, the benefit of doubt should be given to the

Here’s my understanding, from my experience over the last few years as a judge and occasional Judge Advisor:

  • If you had ‘signed and dated entries in a bound notebook’, and that notebook was one that would definitely be considered bound (such as a Vex-provided one) and not one that could be potentially considered not bound, then your notebook fulfilled the requirements for the format 5 point bonus. (Note - witness signatures are not, and have not been, a required part of a notebook, although they are listed as an element to be looked for in an ‘oustanding’ notebook.)
  • If you happen to know (for whatever reason) that your notebook didn’t get the 5 points when it qualified (based on above), then the judge who completed the rubric was wrong. It happens; judges are human, and volunteers, and can often have little to no experience, and even if they have experience can get confused about new wording. There were some official q&a questions asked about whether bound notebooks still qualified; while the response showed clearly that they do, the fact that the questions were asked shows that some regions / events may be confused on that point.

You might consider talking with the Judge Advisor at the next competition and (very politely!) asking them to clarify for you what qualifies for this 5 point bonus. I’d make sure you have in-hand your notebook, the judge guide with notes marked, and the official q&a response regarding bound notebooks (so you can show you’ve done your ‘homework’ and are still confused). As a JA in the past, I wouldn’t have minded answering a quick question about something so simple (it’s by far the easiest question on the rubric and is just a “yes” or “no” decision, typically done in a short time with no real discussion needed). That way, you will have a better idea of how things are being done in your particular region.

Personal thoughts - they didn't really *change* this 5 point bonus from the previous season

There was really, from what I understand, no substantial change to the 5 point bonus for bound notebooks from the previous year (where the only real change from prior years was that digital notebooks were allowed and so digital timestamps were introduced, and ‘bound’ had to be tweaked to allow for printed digital). I think they pretty much just tried to make a wording adjustment to clarify that both were ok as we move forward into a world where both traditional bound and timestamped digital notebooks would get a bonus. In fact, the official Q&A response says:

The overall goal of this change to the rubric was to allow natively digital and natively physical notebooks to be evaluated equitably. This season will see some Event Partners ask for digitally submitted notebooks - some of which will be natively digital, and teams with physical notebooks will need to be scanned or uploaded. Alternatively, some events will still call for physical notebooks - and teams with natively digital notebooks will need to print out a physical copy. In all of these circumstances, the new rubric allows Judging to be done to all teams at an event with an equitable standard and a common rubric.


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