Changes from 1997 - 1998

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 1997 California State Science Fair.

Policy Changes
 * Project Allocations
 * Application Deadline
 * Application Fee
Substantive Changes
 * New Categories

Project Allocations

New limits have been placed on the number of projects which each affiliated fair may qualify to CSSF. These new limits do not affect any prior rule regarding the qualification of projects from affiliates to CSSF. In particular, projects which qualify for CSSF must still have won an award of first, second, or third place in their subject categories as determined by the affiliated fair. Special or Recognition Awards determined by outside organizations do not affect CSSF eligibility. In previous years, many affiliated fairs were able to guarantee that all first, second, or third place winners qualified to CSSF. This is no longer the case.

The allocations have already been sent to each affiliated fair. The text of the letter announcing this policy is as follows:

Saturday, September 13, 1997

It is the goal of the California State Science Fair (CSSF) to promote science and science education in the state by providing student participants with a meaningful experience in a Science Fair of the highest quality possible. The Science Fair Committee is dedicated to providing an equal opportunity for participation by all students across the State of California.

As you are probably well aware, CSSF has experienced approximately a 10% annual growth rate since 1987. As was discussed at the 1997 Affiliated Science Fair Coordinator's Conference, the State Science Fair has reached a size which strains our resources. We have been reluctantly forced to reach the conclusion that this growth rate is no longer sustainable if we wish to maintain the quality standards that we have set for the State Science Fair. The CSSF committee has therefore decided to freeze the size of the State Science Fair at the level of 850 projects.

In order to attain this goal, the number of projects (not number of students) allocated to the CSSF from each affiliated fair will have to be limited. To determine this allocation the following three criteria were applied: size of the population represented by the affiliated fair, number of projects from the affiliated fair in previous State Science Fairs, and numbers of winning projects from the affiliated fair in previous State Science Fairs. This is basically the scheme that was outlined at the 1997 Coordinators Conference.

The allocated number of projects for your fair is <allocation>. This should be compared with the 7 year average for your fair of <count>.

We trust that you and your students will recognize this new ruling as a positive approach to equity throughout the state and the overall improvement it will provide to the quality of the CSSF. If you have any questions or wish to discuss this issue further please contact me at (310) 336-5713 or by e-mail at

Yours truly,

Edward Ruth
Chair, 1998 California State Science Fair

As a practical matter, the result of the algorithm referred to in the above letter is an allocation which is, for almost all affiliated fairs, within a few projects of the affiliate's seven year average participation. Students, parents, and advisors who wish to know the impact of this policy on their own affiliated fair should contact that affiliated fair directly.

Application Deadline

Your Deadline is the earlier of:
Application Deadline 14 days following
Awards Ceremony
Final Deadline April 27, 1998

Applications to CSSF must be submitted by the Application Deadline or the Final Deadline, whichever is earlier.

For students participating in an affiliated county or regional fair whose Awards Ceremony takes place before April 13, 1998, applications must be submitted within 14 calendar days including holidays of that Awards Ceremony. If the fourteenth day is a federal holiday (i.e.the Post Office is closed) then the Deadline will be extended to the next working day.

The submission date of an application is determined by its postmark for US Mail, or equivalent time stamp for applications sent by independent delivery companies. US Mail submissions must be sent First Class. Submissions by independent delivery companies must use overnight or second-day delivery options.

Electronic Applications to CSSF have a two day Grace Period. Upon submission of the Electronic Application, a time stamp will be provided to confirm its receipt. That time stamp may be two days later than the Application Deadline or the Final Deadline, whichever is appropriate.

Applications which fail to meet the Application Deadline, but which still meet the Final Deadline will be subject to a higher Application Fee (described below). No applications will be accepted after the Final Deadline.

Application Fee

On-Time Applications
Prior to Application Deadline
Late Applications
Prior to Final Deadline

The Application Fee has not changed this year. However, since the earliest processing of all applications is our goal, a late fee of an additional $10 has been added to encourage timely submission of Applications.

New Categories

Two new categories have been added to the Junior Division only.

In response to growing crowding of several related categories in the Junior Division (caused directly by the continued strong growth in participation at the California State Science Fair), two new categories have been established:

The addition of these categories will affect the character of several related categories in the Junior Division. However, the Project Abstract Review Committee will still review the assignment of all projects to assure placement in the correct category, regardless of Division.

Note: the establishment of these categories should have zero impact on any affiliated fair. No affiliate is under any obligation to create a category structure which mirrors CSSF's.

See also: Changes in the previous year.

Last updated: Mon Jan 12 18:55:10 PST 1998
California State Science Fair / Changes for 1998 /