National Contest Judges’ Information

The 2020 National History Day Contest will be held June 14-18, 2020 at the University of Maryland at College Park. National History Day (NHD) is looking for historians, educators, and others to judge student projects at this year’s contest. Judging will take place on Monday, June 15 for the Junior Division (grades 6-8) and Tuesday, June 16 for the Senior Division (grades 9-12).

Students in 6th through 12th grades conduct extensive research on topics related to an annual theme and present their findings in historical papers, exhibits, documentaries, performances, and websites.

Evaluation and discussion with your fellow judges will be an all-day commitment from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In return for your time and effort, we offer free parking and lunch, endless gratitude, and a positive perspective on our nation’s youth.

The sign up process for judging of the 2020 National Contest is now open. Sign up here.

If you have any questions, please contact

Please note: If you would like to judge for your local or affiliate NHD contest, please contact your affiliate coordinator.

What to Expect on Judging Day
Judging Process
Judging Criteria
What to Expect on Judging Day

If you are confirmed as a National Contest judge, you will receive detailed instructions and materials to help you prepare. The morning begins with a judging orientation and meeting your fellow judges.

Entries are scheduled at specific time intervals, depending on which category you are judging. There will be a lunch break midday. You will complete evaluations for each entry and submit other paperwork.

After the last entry in your judging group has finished, you and your judging teammates will discuss comments and ratings, and come to a conclusion about the final overall rankings for the entries in your group.*

At the end of the day you will be tired, but refreshed with the spirit of youth who value history and are eager for your feedback about their year-long projects.

*The process described here varies for the website and paper categories. If you are interested in these categories, the process will be explained to you.

Judging Process

NHD relies on consensus judging. That means that instead of giving entries numeric scores, you will be ranking them. If you are confirmed as a judge, you will be assigned to a team of 3 judges, one of whom will be designated as the captain. It is important that everyone on your team agrees on the overall rankings of the entries you judge.

Judging Criteria

Historical Quality (60%)

  • Historical accuracy
  • Historical context
  • Analysis and interpretation
  • Use of available primary sources
  • Wide research
  • Balanced research

Relation to Theme (20%)

  • Clearly relates to theme
  • Demonstrates significance of topic in history and draws conclusions

Clarity of Presentation (20%)

  • Presentation, written materials are original, clear, appropriate, organized and articulate
  • Entry is organized; visual impact is appropriate to topic

Below are the Judging Instructions for each category, which confirmed judges will receive with their assignments:

Documentary | Exhibit | Paper | Performance | Website

Contest Rule Book English
Contest Rule Book Spanish
Sample Evaluation Forms