Judge a Contest

For each of their recitations, students receive an accuracy score and a cumulative performance score.

At the classroom contest, the teacher can be the sole performance judge. Another teacher or a student can play the role of accuracy judge.

At the school contest, you’ll need one accuracy judge and three performance judges. If students will be reciting in French, you’ll need additional French-speaking judges.

At the Online Semifinals and the National Finals, Canadian poets, writers, and performers are judges.

For more information about judging, refer to our Judge’s Guide.


An accuracy judge silently reads the poem being recited (using the version from our website) and uses our Accuracy Score Sheet to give the student an accuracy score.

Our accuracy scoring system differentiates between small errors (saying “a” instead of “the,” for example), big errors (like skipping a line or a stanza), and using the prompter.

A perfect accuracy score is 8, and no matter how many accuracy errors a student makes, the lowest possible accuracy score is 1.

Review the Accuracy Score Sheet carefully and ask the contest organizer any questions you may have.

Before the Contest

Read through the poems that will be recited (the contest organizer should provide you with these). Devise a system for marking up each kind of error. For example:
  • T = transposed words
  • X = a dropped word
  • P = help from the prompter
  • XX = a dropped line
  • During the Contest

  • As each student recites, follow along, mark any errors, and fill out one Accuracy Score Sheet accordingly. Keep in mind that it’s not unusual for most students to have perfect accuracy scores.
  • As soon as you’re done, give the sheet to the tabulator.

    A performance judge uses our Scoring Rubric and Evaluation Sheet to give each student a performance score.

    As each student recites, you will closely watch their performance and evaluate for physical presence, voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, interpretation, and overall performance.

    Each aspect of a student’s recitation can be rated from Very Weak to Outstanding, and the maximum performance score is 33.

    Review the evaluation materials carefully and ask the contest organizer any questions you may have.

    Before the Contest

    The contest organizer will provide you with a copy of the poems that will be recited. It’s helpful to read through the poems and become familiar with them.

    You may want to practise judging by watching a few recitation videos using the Evaluation Sheet.

    During the Contest

  • When you arrive, the organizer will provide you with the appropriate Evaluation Sheets.
  • As each student recites, fill out the Evaluation Sheet.
  • For each criterion, a solid performance earns a 4 (or 5 for overall performance); please keep this in mind as you are scoring the early recitations. You would not want to score higher or lower than the student deserves, and the early scores will set the standard for the rest of the competition.
  • Be sure you score each category separately and carefully — you should not find yourself circling all 3s, for instance.
  • A score of 9 for overall performance is generally very rare. Save this for truly exceptional recitations.
  • When the recitation is over, take a few seconds to review the sheet and ensure you’ve assigned a score for each criterion.
  • As soon as you’re done, give the sheet to the tabulator.