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jmg

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Reply with quote  #1 
     I would like to address something that happened to our team at the Regional competition last year. We were judged very low for a lack of community involvement at our Regional competition last year and that killed our spirit and sportsmanship score. It was stated that we had too few parents in the stands for the number of students we had. While I agree with that statement, I think some common sense needs to be implemented in this stage of the contest. Our regional competition is almost 6 hours away from home so it requires 2 nights in a hotel as well as food, gas, and other costs associated with travel. The competition takes place about 3 weeks from Christmas. It is hard to convince a parent to take a day off of work to travel 6 hours away and spend $400 - $500 for a weekend with Christmas just a few weeks away. Many families have to decide between robotics or Christmas for their children. I know this because I fight this battle every year when trying to convince families to attend the competition. It is hard enough to convince them to plan to drive back home 6 hours on a Sunday night after the competition so that we can be at school on Monday. 
     Many people in our group choose to carpool with one parent driving and packing their child's friends in the car with them. That way the cost of a hotel room is split up, the cost of food is limited to one child, and the one who actually spent time on the contest gets to participate instead of no one from the non traveling family going at all. I know there is a part that is judged based on how far a team has to travel, but our team has rarely received that benefit in judging. I don't think that the college kids who judge our contest take into account the factors that come into play when they are judging this part of the contest. Through no fault of their own, most of them do not have families are not the one paying the bills in the family. 
     I honestly appreciate BEST Robotics and all that is stands for and it is the only robotics contest we participate in because of the way it is run. I also understand everyone is basically a volunteer which is why I did not complain last year when we received the scores. I just hope that some additional thought will go into how the scoring rubrics are created and the contest is judged.  
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EvansPhysics

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Reply with quote  #2 
This is an issue that my team has noticed too.  Our local hub has tried to de-emphasize that portion of the judging since we have had teams travel 4 & 8 hours in the past few years (for the "local" comp.).  Once regionals arrives, teams from our hub generally fly about 1000 miles to Fargo.  It makes for a long and expensive 4-5 day trip that only a few parents make.

Spirit & Sportsmanship is usually our weakest area.  We work hard to overcome the numbers, but it is a disadvantage.  We try to view it as just another challenging aspect of the game we have to work around.  

I could be wrong, but I am fairly certain that the issue has been brought to the attention of BEST as they are trying to bring a bit more consistency to the judging.  Perhaps it will be addressed as they continue to improve the rubrics.

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gyoung

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Reply with quote  #3 
I certainly do understand your concern and I assure you this has been discussed among the awards and judging committee. We have every intention of keeping the competition fair for all teams and limit judge's subjectiveness.  We have had discretionary points on the score sheets in the past for just this reason. We are trying to improve consistent judging by including more detailed rubrics with the score sheets this year. In addition, we are trying to improve our judge's training.  Thanks for your feedback. We ARE listening.
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jkane

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Reply with quote  #4 
We also have a very long bus ride to regionals in Fargo. One idea might be:
Award points for the number of people in your community that watch the event live. website stats can track this easily, the live feed probably (can) too.
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ptownrobotics

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Reply with quote  #5 
We are fortunate to have a very short ride to Regionals, but we do have problems with any level of community involvement. We are one of the poorest districts in the state. The community simply doesn't have the funds to make the trip.
Last year our team only had six students. With three drivers and three manning the booth...even being noticed by other teams or judges is hard, much less earning spirit and sportsmanship points. My students are pretty good sports about the low scores we earn in this category, but has been difficult to figure out how to improve here.
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EvansPhysics

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Reply with quote  #6 
FYI... Not sure not everyone has had their kickoff or a chance to look over the new judging rubrics (for Spirit & Sportsmanship), but they have been improved from last year.  The points allocated to each main area are unchanged, but there are now specific and quantifiable criteria listed for the judges.  While the changes may not address the main point of this thread, they should elicit more consistency in the judging and give the teams a better idea of how to improve.
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