Judging, Evaluations and Awards

General Information

There are three core pieces of information that are used for the purpose of evaluation of entries and determination of ranking. The official release of the PDF documents are in the links at the bottom of this page.

This website contains the online version of the General Rules and Requirements here), and the Category Descriptions and Recommendations (here). The rubrics are only available from the file below. Note that if there are discrepancies between the online version and the printed (PDF) version, the printed version is to be considered to be accurate and takes precedence.

General Rules

The General Rules are similar (with a few exceptions) to the rules from previous years. You can find the official rules in a document below, and the online version of those rules here

Category Information

STEM Expo 9  (2018-2019 school year) adds a new category and has some minor changes to last year in the other categories. Please see the category descriptions here

An additional document is available that provides discussion information on each of the categories. This is an "official" document (as in STEM Expo created it), but it does not contain any rules or requirements.


When looking at the rubrics (document below) while preparing a student project entry please consider the following:

  • There is no point value assigned to any specific portion of the rubric. While the various sections are not necessarily weighted the same, an outstanding entry will do well in all of them.
  • The judges will use all core documents when evaluating the entries.
  • Each category description tells what is recommended for a successful entry -- so be sure to review all documents when creating your project!
  • Each project will have areas of greater strength -- We do not expect those areas to be the same. Our intent is to recognize the successes in each project.
  • Rubrics and projects are evaluated with age appropriate guidelines. (e.g. A 12th grade entry is held to different standards than a 4th grade entry.)

The judges' filled-out rubrics will be returned to each project owner at the conclusion of STEM Expo.

General Judging Concepts

We direct you to review the judging concepts that will form much of the core of the judges decision making. These are adapted from the California Science and Engineering Fair core concepts and are listed in section 9.5 of the general rules.

In addition, our Judging Handbook (link below) provides detailed information about the judging process and the judging system that we use.

Please note: We give minimal requirements for each category as we want to encourage creativity as much as possible. 


Evaluation and Award age groupings are arranged as per the number of entries, so as to provide an appropriate base of entries for the awards. See the General Rules document for details.

Official Documents

These documents are always under review and may change at any time. Note, however, that any changes within three months prior to the event will be minor corrections or clarifications only.

November 25 2018 - Initial Release for STEM Expo 9 (2018-2019)
January 28, 2019 - Judging Handbook Rev 1: page size fixed on Judging Criteria
February 16, 2019 - Judging Handbook Rev 2: updated Judge Training information