Changes from 1998 - 1999

The California State Science Fair strives continually to improve the quality of the event for its participants throughout the State of California. As part of these ongoing efforts we will be implementing certain policy changes this year. Some of these changes were discussed at the last County Coordinators' Conference which was held during the 1998 California State Science Fair.

Policy Changes
 * Sixth Grade Students Now Eligible
 * ISEF Fair Qualification
 * Science Fair Teacher of the Year Applications
 * Revised Project Allocations for 1999

Sixth Grade Students Now Eligible

The 1999 California State Science Fair will be open to students in all grades 6-12. Previously, only students in grades 7-12 were eligible to participate in CSSF. In recognition of the growing number of middle schools in the State of California, however, sixth grade students will be admitted to the 1999 Fair into the Junior Division along with students in grades 7 and 8.

This change in policy will not affect any affiliated fair's allocation of projects, nor will it affect how any student may qualify for CSSF. Affiliated fairs are responsible for choosing the best projects representing their geographical region, and are the sole authority for determining the distribution of those selected over all eligible grade levels. All affiliates have been informed of this change in policy in the announcement letter from the Chair of the Fair.

No decision regarding the admissibility of sixth grade students in future years will be made until after the 1999 Fair.

ISEF Fair Qualification

Students qualified for ISEF participation no longer automatically qualify for the California State Science Fair. Students qualify to participate in the Fair almost exclusively through affiliated fairs throughout the State. In addition, Eligibility Rule #1 allows a small number of students to be admitted through alternative routes. For many years, one of these alternatives was to qualify to participate in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) through an ISEF-affiliated fair, on the grounds that participation in one of these fairs has on occasion precluded highly qualified students from participating in a direct CSSF-affiliate.

Beginning in 1999, students will no longer qualify through ISEF affiliates, except for those fairs which are also CSSF affiliates. Since time conflicts between ISEF affiliates and CSSF affiliates in the same geographical region are rare, the impact of this change should be minimal.

However, CSSF has always maintained the right to admit qualified projects on an emergency basis where no defined route to the Fair has been available to the student. This rule may be invoked if conflicts between fairs cause problems as described above. Admission through this process is subject to serious review, and has never accounted for more than 2% of the total number of projects admitted to the Fair in any year.

Science Fair Teacher of the Year Application

Teachers nominated for the California State Science Fair Teacher of the Year Award no longer need to submit a personal statement as part of the nomination process. Students who are participants in the California State Science Fair may nominate a teacher or advisor for this award. In an effort to broaden the information base provided to the Award Committee charged with selecting the most qualified teachers as finalists, in 1998 the nominated teachers were asked to provide a supplemental personal statement. However, given the concerns expressed by some participants in the process, the California State Science Fair has decided to solicit this additional information not from the nominee, but rather from a supervisor, either a department chair or school principal. Details of this process are provided in the Application Packet where the nomination forms are located.

Revised Project Allocations for 1999

The allocations to affiliated fairs of the number of projects which may be sent to CSSF has been revised from 1998 levels. Beginning in 1998, the number of projects each affiliated fair is allowed to send to CSSF has been defined as an explicit limit by CSSF, rather than by loose limits determined by each fair individually. Generally speaking, this new allocation process was a success. Based upon discussions with our affiliates, most notably all of those participating in the County Coordinators Conference at the 1998 Fair, these allocations have been revised for 1999. Here are these allocations, along with their determining factors. All affiliates have been informed of their allocations in the announcement letter from the Chair of the Fair.

See also: Changes in the previous year.

Last updated: Tue Sep 22 13:30:33 PDT 1998
California State Science Fair / Changes for 1999 /