Judging Massachusetts History Day
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Why judge at Massachusetts History Day?

Judging is key to the success of the Massachusetts History Day program! Hundreds of judges are needed to meet with students at regional and state-wide contests. Judging is a fantastic way to connect with students, support your community, and learn about history. Some of the perks of judging:

  • Support Massachusetts students
  • PDP credits for educators
  • Massachusetts History Day swag
  • Free breakfast and lunch
  • Meet other history enthusiasts
  • Promote the learning of history
  • Learn something new!

Who are the judges?

Hundreds of judges are needed across the four District contests, as well as for the State finals. Judges are history lovers from all walks of life - educators, librarians, archivists, history students, professors, historical society affiliates, museum personnel, national park rangers, History Day alumni, even armchair historians & history buffs!

What does judging involve?

Competition days starts approximately 8:00 AM and generally ends about 2:00 PM. You will attend a judge’s orientation in the morning before you meet with the students. This provides an opportunity to review any rule changes, discuss the annual theme, and to answer any questions you have about specific entries. We will provide morning coffee and pastries and a lunch at midday.

 Students are divided up into 2 divisions: Junior (grades 6-8) and Senior (grades 9-12). Within these divisions there are five categories: Research Paper, Exhibit, Documentary, Performance, or Website. While the physical rules vary from category to category, the underlying rules (historical accuracy, relation to theme, quality of bibliography, etc.) are the same across the board, from historical research papers to websites.

Judges will be assigned categories in teams of three. Judging assignments are handed out on contest day, with the exception of Papers and Websites--those judges receive projects in advance to review. (Web judges will be provided URL links to access the projects online. Papers will be distributed in PDF format). On contest day, Website and Paper judges will have a brief interview with students and then time to deliberate with your team. All other category judges will both view projects and interview students on contest day. Once your interviews are complete, you will meet with your team to decide the final winners and fill out the judges’ consensus forms that are then handed back to students.

2020 Virtual Contest

In light of recent safety precautions implemented regarding COVID-19, the Massachusetts History Day 2020 State Contest will be entirely virtual. This will be a state-wide contest and all students who registered for our Regional competitions are invited to compete. We have over 840 students competing, so we are looking for 200+ judges to help with our digital competition! Sign up now at our Judge Registration Form.

This contest will involve all MHD students from across the state, so it will be structured a little differently from our usual competitions. Since we have so many projects competing, we will be modeling this contest after Nationals in two rounds of judging. Student projects will be judged in groups of 8-12 projects at a time. The finalists from Round 1 will be judged in a second round to decide who goes to Nationals.

Round 1: Friday April 17-Thursday April 23. Judges will review 8-12 projects in their category and make notes on their projects. The Team Captain will organize a virtual meeting (conference call, Zoom call, etc) where judges will discuss their feedback and select 2 finalists. Judges will submit virtual feedback forms to return to the students.

Round 2: Friday April 24--Thursday April 30th. Judges will review the top finalists in their category (between 5-12 projects, depending on number of submissions). As with Round 1, the Team Captain will organize a virtual meeting (conference call, Zoom call, etc) where judges will discuss their feedback and select 2 winners and 2 honorable mentions. The winners will be eligible to compete in the virtual National Contest.

You can sign up to judge using our Judge Registration Form, which also has more information about this year's judging process. Are your friends and colleagues bored at home? Please encourage them to judge as well: we need all hands on deck!

How do I sign up? 

Sign up to judge for our virtual 2020 State Competition below:

Massachusetts 2020 Virtual State Competition

 More information about the State contest can be found on our Contest Info page.  For more information, please contact the MHD State Coordinators at education@masshist.org

Please remember, students are counting on you.  They have been working on these projects since September!  If for any reason you cannot fulfill your commitment, please call or email your contest coordinators as early as possible before contest day.