Judging FAQ

For official answers to questions about FLL judging, please email flljudge@usfirst.org.

Q: Can elimination or alliance rounds be used to determine Robot Performance Award?

A:  The Robot Performance Award recognizes a team that scores the most points during the Robot Game.   Teams have a chance to compete in at least three 2.5 minute matches and only the highest score out of the three matches counts.   While some events may hold elimination or alliance matches for the excitement and fun, these may not be used to determine the Robot Performance Award.  Instead, any awards provided for elimination or alliance matches may only be Local Awards. Note that scores from any alliance or elimination rounds will not be used to determine the Robot Performance bar (at or better than the top 40%) needed to be met for qualifier advancement or Champion’s Award consideration.

Q: Does FLL have an official policy on how teams advance to Championships from Qualifiers?
 
A: Teams are eligible for awards and advancement only at the first official FLL event of each qualifying level attended during season.  In most cases, event capacity within a region limits team participation to only one qualifying event each season.  In some cases, teams may be able to attend more than one qualifying event, but it is important to note that they do so for fun only—they would not be able to win awards or be advanced to a Championship based on performance at a second or additional event.

FLL’s qualifier advancement policy is based on Champion’s Award criteria.  As described below, Champion’s Award criteria require that the team, performs well in all three judged areas (Project, Robot Design and Core Values) and receives a Robot Performance score in the top 40% of official Robot rounds among other requirements.

Note that if more than 20% of teams will advance from a qualifier to a Championship, the FIRST LEGO League Partner may adjust the minimum Robot Performance Score “hurdle” for advancement up to twice the percentage of advancing teams.  For example, if 30% of teams will advance, the Robot Performance hurdle rate may be changed to include the top 60% of teams.  Contact your local FIRST LEGO League Partner or Tournament Director to find out what advancement hurdle will be used at the event you are attending.

It is important for teams to understand that it is possible for a team to receive a 1st Place Core Award but not advance to Championship based on a Robot Performance score below the top 40% of teams at the event.  Or, a team may win 1st Place in Robot Performance but not advance to Championship due to not having performed well in one or more of the three judged areas.

Q: Is it possible to win the Robot Performance Award based on field/game score without doing the Project?

A:
It is not possible to win the Robot Performance Award without doing the Project.  Teams must participate in all 3 judged areas (Project, Core Values and Robot Design) and the Robot Game to be eligible for any Core Awards…and Robot Performance is a Core Award.
The philosophy behind this rule is that if a team comes to the event and only participates in one area, it is almost like having a 20 or 30 member team relative to a team that does participate in all areas and embraces the spirit of discovery by focusing on all challenge elements.

Q: How is the Champion’s Award determined?  Are certain weights used?

A: FLL’s Champion’s Award recognizes a team that “embodies the FLL experience, by fully embracing our Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the Robot Game and Project.” 
At an official event judges will look for balanced, strong performance across all 3 areas; this means that all three judged sessions (Core Values, Robot Design, and Project) are weighted equally to determine the initial group of Champion’s candidates.  All candidates must also meet the following requirements:

  • Robot: The team must score in the top 40% of all teams participating in the Robot Game at the event.
  • Project: The team must complete all parts of the Project, including the identification of a real world problem related to the Challenge theme, creation of an innovative solution and sharing their research and solution with others, as well as any other season-specific requirements that may exist.
  • Core Values: The team must adhere to all Core Values throughout the event and the season.

All candidate teams are then reviewed during a deliberative process that considers Robot Performance placement and other qualitative factors.  Final determination of the award winner(s) is based on a vote of the full judging panel.

Q: What happens if my team goes past 5 minutes when giving their Project presentation?

A: Some judges may warn the team that they have gone over five minutes, while others will allow the team to finish. In some cases, the tournament may need to keep a very strict time schedule, so judges will end the presentation at five minutes. If the judges allow a team to go over five minutes, that may reduce the amount of time judges have to ask questions and could affect how the judges assess your team. Your team should practice timing their presentation before the tournament to reduce the chance they will go over five minutes.

Q: Can the Coach help the team setup their Project presentation?

A: As stated in the Project document, teams should plan a presentation that they are able to set up and break down with no adult help. The coach should refrain from helping the team setup any presentation materials or props. There may be rare instances when a presentation prop or other item is too bulky or heavy for team members to carry. In this instance, some tournaments may allow the coach to assist the team, or the tournament may provide volunteers to move the heavy/bulky item. Check with your tournament organizer before the tournament if you have any questions about tournament policies and procedures.

Q:  Do tournament directors have the flexibility to create own judging tools or additional requirements for teams, other than those specified in the Challenge document?

A:  Each official FLL tournament is held to a set of “Global Standards,” designed to provide a consistent experienced for teams attending official FLL events.  Some items, including the FLL rubrics, are required to be used by events exactly as provided by FIRST.  Other items may be modified to meet local needs.

Official FLL tournaments will not have any new or additional requirements, such as a binder or video, other than the required items outlined in the Challenge document, coaches handbook, and FIRST website.

Each region may choose to require teams to present a Core Values Poster or Robot Design Executive Summary.  In addition, some regions may have completely optional additions that are only used for local awards.  These local, optional additions will not be taken into account by the judges for any FLL Core Awards.

If you have any questions about what is required at your tournament, please contact your local FIRST LEGO League Partner or Tournament Director.