First, if you are new to VEX IQ, get to know the rubics. They aren’t all out yet for this year, but the STEM one is.

If you aren’t new to VEX IQ, you will notice at the bottom that the new STEM Rubric that the ***judges ***should destroy the rubrics when you are done with the event.

As an event partner I liked passing these back to teams. Teams go to multiple events throughout the season and this helps them improve their projects.

As an event partner I also don’t like handing them back. Teams can get a perfect score on the rubric and still not win. This can create heartache for the judges and event partners.

I would really like some way to pass back some type of feedback, but maybe the teams just need to know the rubric better. When I was judging an event last year one of the groups nailed the rubric SO well that they were almost a shoe-in. They had a great presentation as well on top of it.

So, I would like to pass some kind of feedback as part of our continuous improvement model… But I want to protect the integrity of the events as well.

I am thinking that I would like to call down the top 5 in each category when I do awards. So, when I am calling for the design award I call down the top 5 teams, give them a short “good job,” then announce the winner out of those 5. That would at least let teams that are doing well know that they are doing well without having to win the whole thing.

I also would really like some way to give feedback to teams.

Any thoughts?

I’ve done this and seen this done at many VRC events in the past. I’ve always considered it like the Oscars where you announce the “nominees” for the award, followed by the winner. Any extra piece of acknowledgement/recognition/encouragement we can give these teams, the better. When we’ve done this at events, the judges have typically gone with three nominees, but in some cases have added more if they felt the need to recognize some extra teams.

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Love the idea of getting feedback on STEM projects so kids can develop projects as the season progresses.

My kids have rubrics at school for most big projects, and most of the time I see them as limiting the quality of the work. They just do the minimum exact things to check off that box, and then they’re done. If the project leads itself to be a bit broader, they don’t go there because the rubric is already maxed out. And some projects don’t fit nicely into the rubric.

So still use the rubric, but only as one tool. Reward creativity and dedication.

I’m happy to have a rubric as a guide, because as a parent coach, not teacher, it really helps give some guidance. However, I think the judged awards are the least useful teaching method that RECF provides due to never handing back the rubric. Everything else gives instant feedback, build it wrong it fails immediately and you re-work to learn, code it wrong it fails immediately and you re-work it to learn, enter a judge award and fail - nothing to re-work and learn, it’s just a huge guess. The kids have zero idea how well they did. I like the idea of a top three list or something. I think seeing the rubrics would have helped.

Our kids were fortunate to do well in STEM awards last year. it was their first year of trying it so we were grateful for the rubric, but they never knew how well, they just had to keep pushing. At World’s our VRC team had a good experience, but elementary IQ was terrible. I discussed it with RECF and VEX but the thing I never mentioned to them though was at the end of their STEM presentation at World’s they had to go up to the judges table to retrieve their iPads and noticed they had gotten a 21, perfect score, still didn’t win STEM for their division, so that was pretty confusing for the kids.

One thing handing back the rubrics does is hold the judges accountable. We had three tournaments last year where the judges would not judge our VRC team because they said that they had won too often. Just refused to review their notebook or any other judged component. We found this out in these cases, but didn’t find out until later that the same thing had happened to our IQ team. Getting the rubric back would at least let us know they actually did it.