Judging A&S competitions is an important service to the A&S community. Without judges, we can’t run competitions, and feedback matters a lot to people who enter them.
You don’t have to be a Laurel to judge a competition. If you’re interested in having a go and want to learn how, talk to your local A&S officer, or the A&S coordinator of the next local event that is holding a competition. You will always be working with at least one other judge, and the two (or more) of you can consult with each other about the process.
Lochac’s Kingdom A&S Competitions (and many local competitions) are judged using a standardised judging scheme (or ‘rubric’). This is designed to make it easier for judges across the Kingdom to judge entries consistently and fairly. The information below provides advice on the judging process using this rubric, but may also be helpful to people judging other kinds of competitions.
Preparation for judging
Ideally, the competition coordinator (usually the Kingdom or local A&S officer) will recruit the judges before the event itself. If you know you’re going to be judging a competition, you should:
- Check the time and place judging will happen
- Agree with the competition coordinator which competition theme you will judge
- Refresh your memory of the rubric
- Think about how to give good feedback
Evaluating the entry
The competition coordinator will make sure there is a quiet space to judge the entries, and give you copies of the scoring forms. Look at each item carefully, and read the documentation to see if it answers questions you may have.
Compare the entry to the rubric, and decide how many points it should receive in each category. There are five categories – workmanship, authenticity, interpretation, complexity, and documentation – and each one is scored out of ten. The rubric is there to help you judge entries fairly and consistently, and includes guidance on what to look for when deciding a score.
If you have trouble deciding how to judge one of the rubric categories, or deciding what fits under which category (e.g. authenticity vs interpretation) – that’s okay! Take your time, and talk to your fellow judges. If you feel like you need more expertise on a topic to judge an entry, you’re welcome to find someone who does have that expertise and ask them clarifying questions. It’s okay to ask for help.
Filling out the scoring sheet
On the scoring sheet, there is a section for each category on the rubric, where each judge can record the score they have given the entry, and provide comments. The scores of each judge are averaged, and added up for a total out of 50.
Every entry must receive feedback. The most common reason people enter A&S competitions in Lochac is to seek feedback on their work, and harsh or inconsiderate feedback can make someone give up on competitions altogether. As a judge, your words matter a lot, so when giving feedback, try to:
- Consider the experience level of the applicant
- Be aware of limitations they may have been working with (budget, access to resources, skill level)
- Be constructive and supportive
For more detailed advice, see our page on giving feedback
When you’re done
Inform the competition co-ordinator of the final scores for each artisan, and let them know if you think any entries are particularly worthy of acclaim. While the overall winners will only be announced at the Crown event at the end of each competition season, it is worthwhile to praise outstanding entries in court at the event where they were judged. As a rule of thumb, anything that scores higher than 30 may be worthy.
Once the scores have been recorded, the scoring sheets can be returned to the entrants. (The competition coordinator may organise this.) If you can, try to make yourself available in case entrants have questions about your feedback.