Changes from 1996 - 1997

The California State Science Fair strives continually to improve the quality of the event for its participants throughout the State of California. As part of these ongoing efforts we will be implementing several policy changes this year. Some of these changes are the result of recommendations presented at the last County Coordinators' Meeting which was held during the 1996 California State Science Fair.

Policy Changes
 * Category Changes
 * Team Projects
 * Application vs. Registration

Category Changes

Several category definitions have been modified. In all but one case (below) these changes are minor and are made mainly to clarify earlier intent of the definitions. The category in which projects will be placed will ordinarily not be affected by these changes. For details, see Categories for the 1997 California State Science Fair.

Team Projects

The category Team Projects has been eliminated. However, students may still work in teams of 2-4 members, and present their project as a team. The only difference from previous years is that the judging of these projects will now take place in the appropriate science subject category.

As a consequence of this change, the restriction in previous years that Team Projects were not eligible for the Project of the Year award has now been lifted. All first place projects in every subject category, regardless of number of authors, will be considered by the Project of the Year judging committee.

In recognition of the greater resources of time and effort available to team projects, as contrasted with individual projects, all judges will apply slightly modified criteria in evaluating team and individual projects. As of this writing (November 1996) the wording of these criteria has not received final approval by CSSF. When it is approved (presently predicted for January 1997) these criteria will be listed here, as well as in the Judging Handbook.

Application vs. Registration

Submission of an Application to the California State Science Fair does not guarantee acceptance to the Fair. The Fair has always maintained the right to refuse admission to projects on the basis of inappropriate content, and this fact has always been published in the Application Packet. Beginning this year, projects which are substandard (poor quality) or incomplete will also be rejected. The basis for this judgement of quality is exclusively the Student Application Form and Project Summary on its reverse side, particularly the Project Abstract. The California State Science Fair does not consider other submitted materials or awards won at affiliated fairs.

By this approval process, it is not our intent to limit the number of participants but rather to improve the quality of the event and ensure that the students are able to effectively communicate their projects to the judges.

The following is the official list of acceptance criteria:

  1. Acceptance to present a project at the California State Science Fair requires the approval of an Application submitted by the student(s).
  2. Applications without a Project Abstract will be rejected without recourse to appeal. Each student on a team project must complete his/her own personal Application, but the Project Abstract need only be given by one member of the team. As long as the Abstract is provided by at least one member, other members of the team may choose to provide or omit the Abstract without penalty.
  3. Abstracts must demonstrate a level of knowledge and investigation that is appropriate for the grade of the student and discipline and which is beyond what is considered common knowledge. In other words, the investigations must demonstrate knowledge that is not found in middle or high school textbooks.
  4. Abstracts must communicate ideas effectively, use standard English, and be legible.
  5. The methodology and experimental design should be appropriate for the student's grade and discipline, and should include the following where appropriate:
  6. Projects which are merely demonstrations, display collections, and literature searches are generally not acceptable. In order to be acceptable, the student must use the demonstration, collection, or search results, to extract new information not previously known to the student.
  7. Applications may be rejected for failing to satisfy the rules of the Fair.
  8. The Application fee is not refundable if the application is rejected.
  9. All rejected Applications will be reviewed by the Directors of Judging and are subject to appeal (with the exception of those applications which do not contain an Abstract).
It is our sincere hope that by instituting these guidelines and requiring higher standards for project abstracts the quality of the Fair and the experience for the participants will continue to improve.

Last updated: Mon Jan 13 19:47:06 PST 1997
California State Science Fair / Changes for 1997 /