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Chicago Metro History Day will begin recruiting judges for next year’s contests in early January 2023. The regional contests will be held in March. Email cjohnson@chicagohistory.org to be added to the judge invitation list. Judges must register within our contest management system, zFairs: https://il-chimetro.nhd.org/


Judging Materials

Note that as of the 2020-21 school year, all CMHD projects, both Junior and Senior Division, will now be evaluated in accordance with the official NHD Rule Book using the official NHD Project Evaluation forms.

Judges who wish to preview judging materials and previous History Day project examples are welcomed to do so.

Click here to visit our zFairs contest page and begin the judge registration process!


History Day Judging FAQs

Who are the students?
Students come from both public and private schools in the city of Chicago, suburban Cook, Lake, and DuPage Counties. They are in grades 68 (Junior Division) and grades 912 (Senior Division).
What qualifications do I need to judge?
While there are no formal requirements, a volunteer History Day judge has an interest in history, a commitment to support student work, and a willingness to give constructive feedback. Our diverse pool of volunteer judges includes teachers, retired and active business persons, nonprofit organization staff, graduate students, professors, and parents.

  • You do not need to be an expert in history, but you should feel comfortable evaluating student research and arguments.
  • Novice judges are paired with veteran judges.
  • We can assign you to the category that best suits you: read text and images in exhibitions or websites; listen and watch performances or documentary films; or read historical research papers.
  • You will need to be comfortable with basic online computer-based tasks such as opening and sending email attachments, viewing multimedia links, filling out online forms, etc.

Do I need to attend an orientation before I sign up to judge?
No. All judges must attend an orientation either via Zoom or in-person the day of the contests. You will be able to choose an orientation after you sign up. If you’d prefer to get a preview of what judging entails, scroll down this page for project examples from past years and the judging criteria.
What is the judging process?
Although the logistics will vary depending on whether you are participating in a LIVE or VIRTUAL judging event, the general procedure for judging any History Day project is:

  • Receive the orientation.
  • Each volunteer is assigned a partner and projects to judge.
  • Judges evaluate projects.
  • They confer with their partner and then write final evaluations.

How does the overall competition work?
Volunteer History Day judges view student projects at the CMHD Regional Contests. The student projects evaluated for History Day have been selected by their schools as their top projects. Projects selected at CMHD Regional Contests have an opportunity to advance to Illinois History Day (state), and National History Day contests.
Where does judging take place?
We expect the 2023 contests to be in-person in March. We are still finalizing the contest date and locations.
What if I can no longer participate in the session(s) I signed up to judge?
Please give us as much notice as possible by emailing us at historyday@chicagohistory.org. Different judge attendance affects the quality of the experience for your fellow volunteers as well as the students. Please sign up for the day(s) you will commit to judging rather than to the days in which you may be available.
May I bring a friend to judge too?
If you know someone who would enjoy judging, please forward them the information to sign up through zFairs. Be aware that we cannot assign friends/spouses to judge together as it unintentionally blurs the evaluations, and therefore can affect students, who are our main concern. We ask that you respect the assignment given to you and consider that you and your friend will have twice as much to share when you meet up again after judging your projects!
How are the winners selected?
Chicago Metro History Day judges are responsible for working with their judging teammates to arrive at a consensus ranking of the projects that they view. Based on these rankings and the capacity at the next level of competition, CMHD will determine which projects will advance and notify the students.
How do I find out which projects have advanced?
We will hold a virtual award ceremony after the regional contests have concluded. We will also post the results on our website.

Ready to volunteer? Contact cjohnson@chicagohistory.org to be added to our judge invitation list or visit https://il-chimetro.nhd.org/.

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