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. 
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.