Have you ever wondered what happens after you press submit on your International Virtual Science Symposium (IVSS) report?
The GLOBE Implementation Office (GIO) Education team gets to work!
Ok, that might be a little misleading because work on the IVSS already started back in August when we started planning for the 2021 IVSS. And while learning about planning webinars and recruiting judges might be something you are interested in; this is not what this blog post will cover. This is the “story” of what happens after teachers upload their students’ projects and press the big blue SUBMIT button.
The first thing we do after reports come in is what we call the “triage” process. During this step, GIO Education team staff briefly look through every single report to make sure that it contains the necessary information that qualifies it as an IVSS report. We are looking for the five required project elements that are listed by grade band on the IVSS Rubrics page: 1) a title, 2) an abstract or summary, 3) clear research questions, 4) research methods involving GLOBE data, and 5) a conclusion. It is helpful for us when these elements are clearly labeled in the report. (Students might consider using one of our report templates on the IVSS Resources page to make sure their report contains all of the required information and is clearly labeled.)
Another thing we check for during this step is that the report and presentation files can be opened. If the report is uploaded in a format other than .pdf, .doc, or .docx, we typically email the teacher who uploaded the report and ask them to re-submit the report in a file type that can be opened universally (this is one of the reasons it is so important to include an email address when uploading the report!). Fortunately, this type of problem is easily solved and projects can be properly evaluated!
Any project that does not meet the IVSS requirements, does not “pass” triage. The most common example of a project that does not pass triage is a report that does not use any GLOBE data. The projects that do not pass triage are given a 0-star score. These projects may be read by and commented on by GIO staff, but will not be sent to the panel of volunteer judges for scoring and feedback (a unique feature of the IVSS).
Projects that do pass triage go to the next step of the GIO process: sorting and assigning judges. Judges are carefully assigned to each project to ensure that there is as little bias in the scoring process and that there is at least one scientist or STEM professional assigned to each project (we love connecting our students to STEM professionals). To eliminate bias, we look for judges that come from different countries and GLOBE regions than the students who wrote the report. We also check to make sure the potential judges are not listed as contributing members on the project. After this step is complete, we email the judges a list of the projects they have been assigned to score and eagerly wait for their reviews (one week). Sometimes judges are unable to complete their scoring and it is up to the IVSS staff to either find a replacement judge or score some projects themselves. Of course, we always strive to have more than enough judges, which is why we are always recruiting (interested in judging? Sign up at globe.gov/judge).
Next, we review all of the judges’ comments to make sure they are appropriate (judges – remember you are talking to students!) and then send the comments to the teachers (another reason we need teacher emails). We also do some math (#STEM) in order to determine the project’s final score and which additional badges the students have earned.
Now that the scores have been tallied and badges have been determined, we have a “badge party” where IVSS staff, with a little help from our friends from the Community Support Team (those same helpful people behind firstname.lastname@example.org), add the virtual badges from each project to their school’s About Me page.
Finally, we take all of the projects that earned 4-stars and at least 2 additional badges and put them into our “randomizer” to select the projects that will receive stipends and an invite to the Annual Meeting Student Experience. At the same time, GIO Director Tony Murphy is filmed announcing each winner for our special Earth Day celebration video.
As you can imagine, doing all of these steps with just a few staff members can be very time-consuming, but we absolutely love getting to see all of the hard work the students put into their projects and truly enjoy being a part of the IVSS year after year! Because of how manually intensive all of these steps can be, we ask that you please make sure to follow the instructions carefully so that every project passes triage and every student can experience the full benefits from the IVSS!
TL;DR: When IVSS reports come in, the GIO Education team gets hard at work. Follow the graphic below to get a peek “behind the curtains” of the IVSS!