Essay Contest Scoring Rubric For Writing

 

Fae Savignano, Senior Vice President and expert on all things promotional, weighs in on what good criteria are for judging a contest in her blog post for the month.

As you are all probably aware, a contest is a game of skill; whereby entrants are judged on their ability to successfully perform skill-type activities. For example, writing an essay, preparing a recipe, answering trivia questions or solving puzzles would all be deemed to require skill.

To solidify the importance and absolute necessity of skill in a Contest, sponsors should focus on and clearly identify the scoring and judging process to be employed. The contest requirements, the criteria on which each entry will be judged, and the relative weight given to each criterion should be clearly identified. It is also important to state who will be judging these entries, their qualifications if applicable and explain the method of judging each entry.

Good judging criteria for contests should be thoughtfully considered when designing a contest, as the sponsor must clearly define their specific criteria for judging entries within the Official Rules. Selection of the appropriate judging criteria should be based on what are the sponsor’s goal(s) for the contest; what type of ROI and product/customer information they are trying to collect; how this fits into their advertising/social media plan; and, what has proven to work best in past “like” promotions.

For example, essay contests can be judged on originality, content, clarity of expression, humor and creativity; photo contests on composition, originality, clarity and quality of photo, color and creativity; video contests on originality; overall artistic impression; audience appeal, audio and visual quality of video and entertainment quality; recipe contests on ease of preparation, visual appeal and taste. In trivia and puzzle games, winners are judged by their ability to correctly answer the questions or solve the puzzles, sometimes with a time factor applied. Additional judging criteria examples include: appropriateness to theme; functionality, visual design, Creativity and uniqueness of concept and innovative means of delivering the message to name a few.

Once the judging criteria have been established, appropriate percentages must be assigned to each for an overall total of 100%. The percentage assigned to each criterion should be weighted upon the relevance to the promotion; the brand requirement and the sponsor’s goals. It is also important to ensure that judging criteria is objective, judges are expertly qualified, entrants compete on a level playing field, and tie-breakers are based on skill. And, remember that skill promotions require more administration than games of chance, because all entries must be considered and judged.

To learn more about running a skill contest and customizing the judging criteria to meet your goals, contact us.

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The Gilder Lehrman Institute presents an annual essay contest for Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School students in grades 6–12. Students examine the nation’s most divisive conflict through letters, speeches, songs, photographs, newspapers, military orders, and other documents, conducting research in primary as well as secondary sources. 

Prizes

High School

  • First Place: $1,000 to the student and $500 to the school
  • Second Place: $750 to the student
  • Third Place: $500 to the student
  • Honorable Mention: $100 to seven honorable mention students
  • In addition, the student with the top entry from each school will receive a Gilder Lehrman publication to recognize their achievement. The school with the most entries and the school with the highest average judges’ score (minimum 10 entries) will each receive a special certificate and pack of materials.

Middle School

  • First Place: $300 to the student
  • Second Place: $200 to the student
  • Third Place: $100 to the student
  • In addition, the student with the top entry from each school will receive a Gilder Lehrman publication to recognize their achievement. The school with the most entries and the school with the highest average judges’ score (minimum 10 entries) will each receive a special certificate and pack of materials.

NEW Documentary Film Category

This year, students have the option of submitting a written essay or an entry in our new Documentary Film category. Top films will be well researched, well organized, and edited in a manner that is clear, articulate, and visually impactful. We strongly encourage collaboration between language arts and social studies departments to assist students with all aspects of the writing process, and between social studies and arts teachers to assist students with aspects of documentary film production and editing.

  • First Place: $1,000 and an archive of great Civil War documentaries to the student
  • Second Place: $750 to the student
  • Third Place: $500 to the student

Submission Requirements

The 2017–2018 Civil War Essay Contest is now closed. Winners will be announced in mid-March. Additional information, contest forms, a scoring rubric, and other important details on submissions can be found in the 2017–2018 Civil War Essay Contest information packet.

 

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