For Judges and Other Volunteers

Help us promote research skills and a love of learning in students throughout Maryland!

As they progress through competitions at the school, district, state, and national levels, students rely on volunteers like you to evaluate their projects and help them to improve their skills that they have developed throughout the process.

While most judges include humanities scholars, teachers, librarians, and museum professionals, anyone who wants to support students in this exciting learning experience may judge. You can play an important role by volunteering as a History Day judge – reviewing student projects, interviewing contestants, selecting the winners to advance to the national contest, and providing constructive feedback.

The Role of Judges

Maryland History Day judges review student projects, interview students, rank projects and provide feedback through the rubric forms. Judges impact every part of History Day, by being the main point of contact for the students during their contest experience. For their time, judges gain a connection with young historians, learn about new History topics, and serve their community.

Judges can volunteer at the Maryland State contest in the spring, at one of the district competitions in February & March, and at the National Contest in June. Judges are responsible for going through a short training process, reviewing student materials, and showing up for the interview times.

Time Commitment

Judges must complete training to ensure they’re ready for the contest! Our online training can be completed at your own pace and will take less than an hour to complete.

The time you spend in advance of the contest date will depending on the category you select to judge. Judges in prejudged categories (papers, websites, documentaries) will receive their assignments two weeks before the contest and spend approximately 4 hours reviewing project, and about 1 hour meeting with their judge team. Judges in exhibit and performance categories should expect to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour reviewing student’s process papers and bibliographies in preparation for the contest.

At the contest, all judges will arrive at UMBC by 8:20 and will interview students for 2 hours. Most judges in prejudge categories will be finished by 11:30, while exhibits and performance judges may need to stay until 12 to finish ranking and writing comments. Judges who volunteer for a final round will view, rank, and write comments from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Learn About Judging for Maryland History Day

Judging Resources

Judge Toolkit
Do you want to know more about judging? Head to our Maryland Judge Toolkit, updated each year with interview tips, instructions, and training materials. The training module for each year will be added to the drive.
  • I’ve loved judging! It’s exciting to see the passion the middle schoolers have put in their projects. I hope that my critiques have helped strive for excellence throughout their lives.

    Dee Krasnansky, Maryland History Day Judge
  • “History Day has taught men how to interpret and effective use primary sources in my writing to create and support claims. Now I am much more likely to explore databases, go to libraries, and explore further external sources for credible and effective sources.”

    Maryland History Day 2019 Student
  • “[The students] learned a variety of ways to present their material and they could focus on what they wanted to learn about. The students had a choice in their learning. It was about their learning NOT what someone else felt they need to learn.”

    ​Maryland History Day teacher
  • “MHD illustrated the applicability of the study of history to contemporary issues and current events. It was very motivating to converse with the students about their historical topic and observe how they applied it to current events and their own life circumstances.”

    ​Maryland History Day parent
  • “It provided an opportunity for my child to learn through experiential opportunities. He had interviews and tours that were relevant to his topic that helped the history come alive and create unforgettable memories.”

    Maryland History Day 2015 Parent
  • “The students are now far more prepared for the high level of scholarship and achievement that will be expected of them in future years. MHD also elevated many other skills too. These include public speaking, the use of technology, learning to collaborate.”

    ​Maryland History Day teacher
  • “I had never done anything like this before so it was a totally new experience to write a paper, be interviewed, and defend my positions. I now really know how to do research and it has improved my writing skills.”

    ​Maryland History Day student
  • “My students went deeper with primary and secondary sources than ever before. They used critical thinking skills and applied the transfer goals and essential questions on a deeper level than they could have in class. It challenged them to think deeper and defend their findings.”

    Maryland History Day 2019 Teacher
  • “I had never done anything like this before so it was a totally new experience to write a paper, be interviewed, and defend my positions. I now really know how to do research and it has improved my writing skills.”

    ​Maryland History Day 2015 Student
  • “By using a variety of sources, I was able to get angles on my topic that I wasn’t able to before. Also, I learned so much about a topic near and dear to my heart that will enrich my learning later in life.”

    Maryland History Day 2015 Student
  • “History Day inspired me to become deeply invested in historical topics which I never thought I’d enjoy. It is an amazing experience that has the ability to make learning fun for everyone, no matter what you’re interested in.”

    Addie Skillman, National History Day Gold Winner
  • “The thing that had the most impact were the skills that I got from this project. I developed better hunting skills in terms of looking for reliable sources and I also learned to work hard and not procrastinate to achieve something great.”

    Maryland History Day student participant
  • “My students became more competent researchers, and took ownership of their work. They had total free reign to choose their topic, direct their research, and create their final project.”

    ​Maryland History Day 2015 Teacher
  • “The part of History Day that had the most impact on me was seeing all the other entries and entry categories. It was really inspiring to see so many different people of history honored for their leadership and legacy as that was this years theme. You forget that the whole world has a history and there are so many different people and leaders who make up that history. The fact that this day brings together all of us students, our imaginations, our creativity, research skills, and history really reminds you how much of us would be lost if we didn’t remember those who made an impact.”

    ​Maryland History Day student participant
  • “The researching and communicating skills have made me a more confident person in all academic endeavors. These are skills that will last me a lifetime.”

    ​Maryland History Day student participant
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports bold experiences that explore and elevate our shared stories to connect people, enhance lives, and enrich communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
info@mdhumanities.org
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