Important Dates & Times

Thursday February 27, 2020 at 12:00 AM
Monday April 06, 2020 at 12:00 AM
Saturday April 11, 2020 at 12:00 AM
Friday May 01, 2020 at 11:59 PM
Thursday April 02, 2020 at 11:59 PM

Setup Needed...

About Page

Tell about this contest (history, purpose, benifits, etc)

Setup Needed...

What to Expect During the contest




Group Documentary
Group Exhibit
Group Performance
Group Website
Individual Documentary
Individual Exhibit
Individual Performance
Individual Website

Purpose of Judging

NHD's goal is to provide young people with a high-quality educational experience—whether or not they win a prize. It is critical that judges' interactions with the students be fair, helpful, and positive. Judges' spoken and written comments are fundamental to the learning process. Together we succeed or fail based on the quality of the learning experience.  

How Does the Evaluation Process Work?

At NHD contests, each division and category (e.g., Junior Group Exhibit, Senior Paper, etc.) usually is judged as a whole by a panel of judges. Judges do not assign a numerical score to each entry; rather, they will rank the entries in their group. Judges are required to consult with each other in determining individual rankings. Judges are encouraged to review the results of their category to assure accuracy in the evaluation process.

Judging Criteria

Regardless of which category a student enters, the following principles of evaluation will be used in the judging of National History Day entries.

Historical Quality--60%

This is by far the most important factor in judging a student's History Day project. The judges’ evaluation will rest on the students’ success at conducting historical research, interpreting their research, and drawing conclusions. A superior rating generally reflects positive responses to the following questions:

  • Is the entry historically accurate?
  • Does the entry provide analysis and interpretation of the historical data in addition to an accurate description? The entry should not simply recount facts but interpret them.
  • Does the entry demonstrate an understanding of the historical context – the intellectual, physical, social, and cultural setting?
  • Does the entry reflect historical perspective – the causes and consequences of an event, for example, or the relationship of a local topic to larger events?
  • Does the annotated bibliography demonstrate solid research?
  • Does the entry demonstrate a balanced presentation of materials?
  • Does the entry use a variety of viewpoints (e.g., those who suffered as well as those who benefited, males, females, people from different racial or ethnic socioeconomic groups, as appropriate to the topic)?
  • Does the entry demonstrate the use of available primary sources and secondary sources?

Adherence to the Theme – 20%

The entry must clearly explain the relation of the topic to the annual National History Day theme. The topic should be placed in historical context, and the entry must demonstrate the student’s understanding of the significance of the topic in history. The entry should not confuse fame with significance. In other words, the entry should answer the questions, "So what? Why was this important?" It should not be just descriptive. The relationship of the entry’s topic to the yearly theme should be explicit and should be integrated into the entry itself.

Clarity of Presentation – 20%

Although historical quality is most important, entries must be presented in an effective manner. Do not be carried away by glitz; simpler is often –but not always- better. The following questions will be considered by judges when looking at clarity of presentation:

  • Is the entry original, creative, well organized, and imaginative in subject and presentation?
  • Is the entry effective in communicating the significance of the topic?
  • Is the written material clear, grammatical, and correctly spelled?
  • In exhibits, are the title, sectional divisions, and main points easy to discern?
  • Are photographs and images appropriate in terms of content and location?
  • Is the overall project pleasing to the eye?
  • In a documentary or performance, is the script clear?
  • In a performance, do the students display stage presence?
  • Is the visual material clear and appropriate for the type of entry?
  • Do the students display adequate familiarity with their equipment?



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