View Full Version : Disappointed in Chairman's Award Feedback for 2006

03-05-2006, 08:03 AM
At the NJ regional, I was disappointed in the feedback that they gave back to the team regarding improvements and highlights.

In 2005, they gave us a big writeup of the things that we could improve upon and bits of encouragement for things we were doing well. It was essentially a full page of comments, and I really thought it gave our students realistic feedback for our submission.

This year, we simply received back a six-question checkoff, and two to three handwritten lines of simple one-line statements. Our team reps felt that it wasn't really indicative of what we've done, and that it didn't really give us a good sense of feedback of where we should go in the future.

This obviously could have been how the judges felt about our submission or interview, but I would be very surprised because the improvements that our team made -- we thought we'd get more encouragement from the panel.

Did anyone else find the feedback meager, or am I complaining about nothing?

Rich Kressly
03-05-2006, 03:51 PM

Without having been there, I'll take a shot at the possibilities since I've helped to staff judges in Philly in the past. My guess is that most teams at your regional got similar feedback (in format) to what you got this year. Obviously the wonderfully detailed response you received last year was great, but it's not always possible for the judges to pull off given the time and resources they have in a given year.

Here are factors that could contribute to the format and amount of feedback you get from judges:
1. The number of judges at the event. Perhaps there weren't as many dedicated to the CA interviews this year.
2. The number of teams submitting a CA entry. If it's more entries and the same amount of time, obviously something has to give.
3. The event week you are competing in. This year the NJ event was week one (last year was week three). Judges can view the entries for their event electronically, but with you being up in the first week, I'd bet a lot of the entries were read for the first time on site in NJ. Wanting to spend a lot of time in interviews and with teams, that would limit the amout of feedback per team that is possible.

Those are all possibilites. I do know for sure, you should NOT feel your team didn't perform as well this year. It's more of the format/limiting factors in a given year. I've heard great things about the growth of 1089. I vividly remember when I attended NJ as a mentor with Team 103 in 2003, that a very excited Sarah Reffler came to our team wanting to know more about the
Chairman's Award process and she consequently spent a good chunk of the morning with two of our team members. 1089 has been making great progress ever since. Keep going and you'll be showing Wayne your medal someday.

03-05-2006, 04:56 PM
Chris, I've been on both sides of this issue. I was a mentor on a team feeling very frustrated, wishing the judges had given more specific feedback given all the work put into trying to explain why the team should be a strong candidate. There was only a two word comment.

I've been a judge for Chairman's and had about 5 minutes to write up the feedback form, trying to be as helpful as possible, while there were still hours of interviews and write-ups ahead.

Like Rich said, a lot of this depends on how many interviews these judges had to do in the time given. I know that last year at Chesapeake there were around 18 Chairman's interviews to be conducted. There are some regionals where they may be only a few. I believe that VCU had 8 this year (I think that is what Jeff Seaton announced.) To date, FIRST does not dictate guidelines on where a team should submit Chairman's. Both the Chairman's judges should have received your entry in advance and so should be familar with your team when your team enters the room for the presentation/follow-up interview. They also review your yearbook page.

So to summarize, these volunteer judges are doing the best they can, given the circumstances. It appears that you received an extra special bonus last year, but truthfully, this year is probably more the norm. Others can correct me if their experience is different. I agree that the goal to strive to is to make these feedback forms as detailed as possible, given all the work put into the year and the entry, but it is not always possible.

Congrats on your WFA winner! Mr. Cokely is very deserving. There is a very funny picture of him taken at the Capital Clash during the mentor-only driving round that had me laughing so hard I had to sit down. But I digress...

Chris Fultz
03-06-2006, 10:02 AM

The one pager has been our experience. Like stated above, it is driven by the number ofteams and the time allowed for the interviews and decision making process.

If you can, try to remember the Chairman's judges by name, and then after the awards ceremony is over, try to locate them and see if you could get mre detailed feedback. Ask if you can email with them, explain that you would like more feedback and want to know how to learn and improve.

Most judges I know will provide feedback if they can.

03-06-2006, 06:36 PM
I also received a 6 item checkoff last year at Chesapeake. We received two check in the "Needs Improvement" category. We also received a check under currently strong in every category. They gave us a quick sentence in the two they wanted us to improve in and on quick comment on overall summary. You said after all that you team made huge improvements. I think that they fewer the comments the better, it could mean they liked what you were doing. Sometimes the best comment is none.

03-07-2006, 10:32 AM
I appreciate everyone's insight on the matter. I guess I had more expectations than I should have, given last year's great responses. The point that I was trying to get at was that given more feedback from judges, we would have a better sense of direction of where to improve. But all of the points made above are valid.

Unfortunately we received the feedback after the finals were over, so we really didn't have enough time to ask the judges for more elaborate feedback.

I think a more valid source of feedback for us would be to see the work that other Chairman's winners were doing, as to try to emulate them better.

Thanks everyone!

Joe Matt
03-07-2006, 10:33 AM
I believe that VCU had 8 this year (I think that is what Jeff Seaton announced.)

VCU had 20 this year.

Lil' Lavery
03-09-2006, 02:15 PM
I could have sworn VCU had 23 submissions (or was it 28? :confused: )

Anyway, during my 3 years working with 116 chairman's team, we have received a varying range of submission feedback, from both the VCU and Chesepeake Regionals (and we'll see what we get from Peachtree this year). They have never been very long for us, but have given us great details (just make sure you don't relent on your strong points next year trying to make up where you lacked).

03-09-2006, 03:02 PM
VCU had 20 this year.

I thought the number I thought I heard was low. Thanks.

Re: the suggestion above to find the judges and talk to them, I would disagree. If someone approached me after the competition to talk again about what I had already commented on, I would as gently and as graciously as possible tell them I could not comment further.

There is a procedure here, and I would not want to show favoritism. This is already a long day.

Just my thoughts after being a Chairman's judge.

Eugenia Gabrielov
03-09-2006, 03:48 PM
Dear Galewind and others with same issue,

Let me say first that I understand your frustration and your desire to produce an excellent award. From what I hear of your team, you have done many amazing things.

However, let me recommend a new idea:

This is the competition season - after your next regional (if you have one), or if you don't you can do this now - sit down and re-read your Chairman's award critically. Present it to a member of the community, or someone who isn't that familiar with the award.

Send the award to individuals whos' teams have experience with the Chairman's award and have earned one. Send a polite email asking for them to read it for you, and ask for what you want them to look for.

I volunteer my time immediately to give you feedback should you ever want it, and I am sure there are other people who will happily read it for you as well.

I wish you the best of luck, and just remember that many of these judges are just like the members of your community - they have other jobs and other commitments, but what all of these people give you is valuable. :) Just don't be afraid to ask. However, just as Robomom said very eloquently, all of these people are busy, and that is why I recommend other community members rather than judges who have already looked at your material.

03-20-2006, 09:31 PM
Perhaps this needs it's own thread but I was disappointed about the feedback from the judges this year. Rather that the judges gave no feedback. There was no sheet with a checklist and a space for comments this year at Peachtree like there had been at Chesapeake and VCU in the past two years, in fact there was no sheet at all. I though 116 did very well, I mean in my opinion and a few others we were a contender which says a lot going up against 1002. I did not think we were going to win, but I didn't care about that, all I cared about was going in and giving it my all and doing the best this year, and we achieved that. The judges feedback sheet is my guideline for the entire next season, I use it to help give me some direction on what to improve on or what to keep. It wasn't just 116 it was the entire regional that didn't get any feedback.