Saturday, September 29, 2012

What Every Contestant Should Understand about their Score

It's that time of year again for me......that time when the scores from nationals are being posted on the Talent Quest website and individual contestants are receiving the breakdown of their scores via email. Inevitably, contestants are upset when they see the breakdown of the scores and it's hard for me not to take it personally. Although I have never been a Talent Quest contestant, I really DO understand how important this is to all the contestants and I put ALL of my effort and energy into carefully tabulating and analyzing the scores to ensure that it is fair for all who are putting their extraordinary talents up on that stage.

Having tabulated at the local, regional and national level for 7 years, there are a couple of things I wish contestants could understand when looking at their scores. Since I don't have time to give a seminar at nationals about this, I decided to put these important points into a blog so everyone will better understand and hopefully won't be so hard on themselves and actually have a breakdown!

Important Facts:

#1: Comparing your scores to previous year's scores or between rounds is not a fair assessment of improvement or weakening of your skills

It would be a rare case that a contestant would have the same 3 judges from one year to the next in ALL rounds of competition so comparing this years scores to last years (or round one scores to round two; pop score to country) is a moot point.

#2: A low score from a judge doesn't mean that judge was unfair to you or didn't like you

Some judges just score low. That means they score EVERYone lower- not just you. When you get your score breakdown it's just your scores not the contestant before or after you, so you don't see the consistency that I look for when tabulating. In addition to putting in all the scores for every contestant, I chart out the scores to make sure that even if one judge is scoring low, all the scores move basically up and down in conjunction. This allows me to spot any abnormalities by sight. Below is sampling of scores I pulled from a regional contest about 5 years ago to give an example of how a lower scoring judge's scores "go with the flow".

Here are how the scores look when I enter them in the spreadsheet.

Once entered, I take the total scores for each contestant and graph them by judge on a line graph.
It's clear to see that even though there is variance between the judges, the scores basically move in tandem on the graph.

There are other ways I look at the scores as well, but I don't want to bore anyone with my love of analyzing statistics! Just keep these 2 things in mind when you get your scores in the coming days and weeks. Everyone did an amazing job at nationals! And although most of what I do is done behind the scenes, please rest assured that I am vigilant with these scores to ensure that each year is a fair competition!