Distributed Block - View: Magazine: Latest Cover

Standards for Science Fairs

The standards were written by SSP staff based on consultation with a diverse group of science fair directors that met in February 2012, in an open forum session onsite at Intel ISEF in May 2012 and again in a January 2013 meeting.  SSP distributed this information to all fairs in April 2013 and held sessions at the Intel ISEF 2013 to seek feedback from the science fair community.  We believe that it is an ongoing dialogue and welcome any further feedback or suggestions.  Please contact us at sciedu@societyforscience.org.  

THE ROLE OF STANDARDS IN SSP AFFILIATION

The SSP Standards for Science Fairs offer best practices for the management of science fairs.  The Standards are intended to provide guidance and expectations for the management of a science fair affiliated with the Intel ISEF. [1]

The SSP Standards for Science Fairs describe how the most well-managed and responsibly-governed science fairs should, and do, operate. They provide benchmarks to determine how well a fair is fulfilling its obligations to those who benefit from its work and to provide core concepts and recommended policies from which a science fair will benefit.

The SSP Standards for Science Fairs serve several important functions.  Most important, they serve as a mechanism to improve individual fairs, thereby raising standards for science fairs as a whole. The purpose of the Standards is not to make all science fairs look alike. SSP respects the individual nature, character and traditions of each science fair. The diversity of our fairs in the audiences they reach, the territories they cover and their management and organizational structure enriches the global network of science fairs.  Although the Standards for each affiliate fair are the same, there are significant differences in the ways fairs can adhere to them.

INDICATORS of QUALITY

Indicators of Quality have been developed for each Standard. Neither the Indicators nor the Standards are to be used as a checklist. Rather, Indicators amplify a Standard and show possible ways that a science fair, fair director, board member, judge, participating teacher or student can demonstrate that a particular Standard is met.  Indicators provide greater clarity regarding best practices for each Standard. SSP-affiliated science fairs and those involved in their management are encouraged to expand upon the Indicators in order to emphasize unique characteristics of each fair.

SSP-affiliated fairs represent a highly diverse group. The standards serve as expectations for quality in a science fair and as guidelines for improvement through planning and future development. The Indicators provide multiple ways to apply Standards. Although it is expected that all affiliated science fairs will meet the Standards, not all Indicators will apply to or be appropriate for each fair.

As the standards are developed, subsets of Indicators will be developed to enhance the standards.  For instance, a fair’s management structure may affect its governance and finance standards.  Likewise, state, national and multi-national fairs might have indicators that are specific to their multiple jurisdictions and additional considerations that would not apply to a local or regional fair.  Each science fair uses only the Indicators that are applicable and appropriate for their situation.

STANDARD for PHILOSOPHY/MISSION

STANDARD for GOVERNANCE AND LEADERSHIP

STANDARD for FINANCES

STANDARD for PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

STANDARD for JUDGING


[1]The structure and language of these standards are derived from the Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools, Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools, “Standards for Educational Service Agencies” (© 2010), and is used with permission.  Additionally, several of the indicators have a basis in the language of the Maryland Non-Profits Association’s, “Standards of Excellence.”   These two guiding documents are based on fundamental values that apply to science fairs – fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, compassion, responsibility, and accountability.

From the SSP Newsroom

Science News

Loading...

Science News for Students

Loading...

Eureka! Lab

Loading...