Scoring Criteria

The following evaluation criteria are used for judging at NAIVSEF and by the Intel ISEF. As shown below, science and engineering have different criteria, each with five sections as well as suggested scoring for each section. Each section includes key items to consider for evaluation both before and after the interview.

Full details on the scoring categories listed below can be found in the Division Policies Documents:

Students are encouraged to design their slideshows (PowerPoints) in a clear and informative manner.  Judges should examine the student forms and application submitted online and, if present, any special forms such as Form 1C (Regulated Research Institution/Industrial Setting) and Form 7 (Continuation of Projects). Considerable emphasis is placed on two areas: Creativity and Presentation, especially the Interview section, and are discussed in more detail below.


Creativity:  A creative project demonstrates imagination and inventiveness.  Such projects often offer different perspectives that open up new possibilities or new alternatives. Judges should place emphasis on research outcomes in evaluating creativity.


  • If the project was done at a research or industrial facility, the judge should determine the degree of independence of the finalist in conducting the project, which is documented on Form 1C.
  • If the project was completed at home or in a school laboratory, the judge should determine if the finalist received any mentoring or professional guidance.
  • Please note that both team and individual projects are judged together, and projects should be judged only on the basis of their quality. However, all team members should demonstrate significant contributions to and an understanding of the project.

Phase One Scoring

For Science Projects

I. Research Question (10 pts.)
II. Design and Methodology (15 pts.)
III. Execution: Data Collection, Analysis and Interpretation (20 pts.)
IV. Creativity (15 pts.)
V. Presentation/Slideshow (20 pts.)

For Engineering Projects

I. Research Problem (10 pts.)
II. Design and Methodology (15 pts.)
III. Execution: Construction and Testing (20 pts.)
IV. Creativity (15 pts.)
V. Presentation/Slideshow (20 pts.)

Phase 2 Scoring

  • Teleconference Interview for Science and Engineering (20 pts.)

The final interview provides the opportunity to interact with the finalists and evaluate their understanding of the project’s basic science, interpretation and limitations of the results and conclusions.


If the project is a multi-year effort, the interview should focus ONLY on the current year’s work. Judges should review the project’s abstract and Form 7 (Intel ISEF Continuation Projects) to clarify what progress was completed this year.