POL #2: Judging and Subjectivity

These are responses from our Poetry Out Loud professional development discussion on judging and subjectivity issues. Please comment with your own ideas!

How do you and your students grapple with issues of subjectivity in the judging process?

  • The performances you like aren't always the ones that win--the numbers on the rubric dictate who wins.
  • Conflict of interest--teaching/coaching vs. judging.  It's much easier to just be a teacher and coach than have to be a teacher, coach and judge.
  • The judges struggle with the subjectivity of the rubric categories--each can interpret differently, for example, "Level of Difficulty"--what makes for a difficult poem? Is it length? Is it irregular meter and lack of rhyme? Is it how inaccessible the writing of the poem is? 
  • This issue of subjectivity often is an adult conflict rather than a student conflict.
  • The new required categories of poems help increase the level of sophistication of the poems chosen. (Make sure to check the list--POL has retired many poems this year!)
  • The judges may need time to "warm up" - the people who went first consistently didn't didn't do as well.  Maybe this year we should have a few past winners start first to warm up the judges?
  • There needs to be diversity on the judging panel.
  • First time judging is really hard.
Created on: 
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Arizona Board of Regents