Many high school and college students compete in local, regional, and national competitions organized by SkillsUSA, FFA, or other organizations such as auto dealer associations. Volunteering to serve as a judge for a student competition is a great way to engage with students. It’s an opportunity to observe students working in a competitive environment, and a terrific occasion to get an up close and personal view of students’ skills and knowledge under pressure.
Student competitions consist of multiple ‘stations’ where a variety of skills are demonstrated and judged against pre-established judging criteria. Stations can present a variety of challenges: identify components both on and off the vehicle, demonstrate soldering and wire harness repair, read and record diagnostic information using a scan tool, perform precision measurements, and diagnose a car with multiple “bugs” set up by the committee, etc. Some competitions also include “soft skills” assessments, such as mock interviews.
The judging criteria are documented in a Skill Station Evaluation Sheet and Task List which is prepared by contest chairmen and each station’s competition committee. Point assessment for each task is specifically listed as part of each contest evaluation sheet to easily gauge contestant abilities. Points are totaled by the individual contest chairman or assigned individual. The maximum score for each station is 100 points. Task values are broken down as much as possible to enable objective judging. Judging sheets are typically color-coded per station.
Judges typically consist of volunteers from local repair shops and dealerships. The number of judges required may vary, depending on the nature of the station, but one judge per station is an absolute minimum.
You and your staff can help set up these competitions, run different workstations, donate prizes, and serve as judges. This creates an excellent venue to see these students compete and display their skills firsthand.
Judging tips & What to Expect – Become very familiar with the station’s technology you will judge. This can include ‘how things work’, station setup & reset time, the scoring form, consumable parts, tools needed, time allotted for station, and the expected tasks a competitor should demonstrate.
Time Commitment - 5 to 10 hours
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