Every year when we announce the CyberFair results, we hear from one or two schools, who are not happy, because they believe their project deserves higher honors. Keep in mind that the Peer Review is only one aspect of the evaluation.
The most exceptional projects are those projects that (a) told wonderful stories about your local community, (b) provided details about the contributions of your team members, (c) explained how the project was organized, (d) documented your sources, (e) included original images and video and (f) explained the impact of your work.
Those projects that did not answer all the Project Narrative questions, include the CyberFair participants banner, provide a detailed bibliography, or failed to complete all Peer Review assignments, were NOT eligible to receive a top award.
We hope that you understand the importance of the Peer Review process. We know that the process is not perfect. However, we work extremely hard to ensure that every project is fairly reviewed.
These are the procedures we use to determine the Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Honorable Mention rankings:
1) When possible we assign schools to review projects created by students within the same age range.
2) We do not allow schools to review projects in their same category.
3) At the close of Peer Review we create two finalist lists, based on BOTH the RAW and the ADJUSTED scores submitted by each reviewer. Adjusted scores attempt to reduce the effects of reviewers who score either harder or easier than the overall average of all reviewers. We consider and compare these two lists to establish our FIRST finalist list.
4) Next, at least two staff members review the scores for all top projects in each category. We INVALIDATE any unfair high or low score that could MOVE a project TO or FROM our finalist list. (Note: Because of the number of projects submitted, we do not invalidate every possible unfair score... only those that could change the list of finalists. Therefore, if you see an unfair low score for your project, it is because changing that score would not have changed the overall finalists list.)
5) We then alphabetize this last finalist list and send it to the VIP judges. The VIP judges do not see the scores, and they are asked to rank the projects in each finalist list based on their wisdom and experience. (Judges give the highest scores for projects that include a site map, describe the research process and work plan, include interactive quizzes and surveys, original videos, and post news about their work on social media).
6) We assign several judges to each category, so that no one judge is responsible for selecting the winners.
7) Finally, if you have any specific questions about a review or score, you must SEND EMAIL to the reviewer who submitted that score. You will find the email address for each reviewer in your list of scores.
Please remember that the primary goal of CyberFair is to give students a rewarding learning experience. All of the elements in the program are intended to support this goal, including the peer review process. If your students learned and benefited from this project then they are in fact winners and deserve congratulations.
We will be HAPPY to consider any SUGGESTIONS you may have to IMPROVE this process.
Dr. Yvonne Marie Andres
President and Founder, GlobalSchoolNet.org San Diego, California
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