California State Science Fair
Changes from 2006 - 2007


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 the changes listed below will be implemented. Some of these changes were discussed at the last County Coordinators’ Conference which was held during the 2006 California State Science Fair.

 * Category Award Structure Revised
 * Category Definitions Revised
Annual Update
 * Revised Project Allocations for 2007
Recent Changes (from last year's Fair)
 * Separate Awards Ceremonies
 * Project Removal Times
 * Application Fee Deadline

Category Award Structure Revised

In the first change since last century, Category Awards for 2007 will be expanded.

Category Awards have for many years been named “First Place,” “Second Place,” “Third Place,” and “Honorable Mention.” The Honorable Mention award was distinguished both in name and by the fact that it received no cash award. Honorable Mentions received only a medallion which was presented on stage at the Awards Ceremony.

In 2007 two changes will be made to this award structure:

It should be noted that the Fair's long-standing policy of recognizing one and only one project for each Category Award will be continued. In this context, Honorable Mentions are not considered “Category Awards.”

Incidentally, that “first change since last century” remark at the top of this announcement is not simply hyperbole. For as long as anyone around here can remember, the California State Science Fair has always had the same four Category Awards. While the first few Fairs had a different award structure, this is the first change in at least the last couple of decades.

Category Definitions Revised

Category definitions have been revised for the 2007 Fair. The California State Science Fair annually reviews the category definitions and how the division of scientific topics across panels is working to the benefit (or not) of both students and judges. After identifying several specific needs, the Fair this year has redefined several categories, eliminated a few categories, and consolidated some others. The end result of the current revision is that the Junior Division has the same number of panels as in 2006, but there has been a net reduction by one panel in the Senior Division, For reference, here are the 2007 Category Definitions.

As for the future, several categories are still being actively studied for possible revision, division, or elimination. Among other things, it is our intention that the number of panels in the Junior Division will be increased by at least one in 2008. This will be discussed at the 2007 Conference.

Revised Project Allocations for 2007

The allocations to affiliated fairs of the number of projects which may be sent to CSSF have been revised. Beginning in 1998, the number of projects which each affiliated fair is allowed to qualify to CSSF has been defined as an explicit limit by CSSF, rather than loose limits determined by each fair independently. Generally speaking, this new allocation process has been a success. Based upon current available space, determined needs across the entire State, and discussions with our affiliates, most notably all of those participating in recent County Coordinators Conferences, these allocations have been revised for 2007.

Separate Awards Ceremonies

Again in 2007, as in 2006, owing to limitations of space, the traditional single Awards Ceremony at the end of the Fair will be split into two ceremonies, one for each division, Junior and Senior. This year the Awards Ceremonies will again be held in the Wallis Annenberg Building, familiar to returning participants, parents, and advisors also as the site of the Keynote and Student Orientation Ceremonies.

Schedule of Awards Ceremonies
Ceremony Start Time End Time
Junior Division 4:00 pm 5:00 pm
Senior Division 5:30 pm 6:30 pm

We recognize that this schedule will impose some hardship on those families and school groups with participants in both divisions of the Fair. In order to minimize any impact on travel plans, the Junior Division Awards Ceremony has been pushed to an early time so that the later ceremony will conclude at the same time as our single Awards Ceremony had concluded in previous years.

Project Removal Times

In consequence of the separate Awards Ceremonies, the times during which particpants may, and must, remove their projects is strictly constrained. Participants should be aware that some judging operations will be continuing until 3:30 pm, so no projects in either building may be removed before that time. Owing to the separate Awards Ceremonies, separate times are provided for each division’s projects to be removed from the display areas, as described below:

Junior Division: 5:10 - 5:40 pm (All projects located in the California Science Center main building)
For security reasons, no projects will be allowed to be removed from the Science Center before or during the Junior Division Awards Ceremony from 4:00 - 5:00 pm. We will provide appropriate security for project displays from the end of the judging interview period at 12:30 pm until 5:00 pm when the Science Center closes its doors to the public. All Junior Division projects must be removed from the Science Center in the period from 5:10 - 5:40 pm, after which time the Science Center will be closed to all. Projects remaining after this time will be discarded.
Senior Division: 3:30 -5:00 pm (All projects located in the Wallis Annenberg Building)
Senior Division participants must remove their projects during the time interval 3:30 -5:00 pm. There will be no opportunity to reach projects left after this time, and in particular, there will be no opportunity to remove projects following the Senior Division Awards Ceremony. Since the Junior Division Awards Ceremony begins at 4:00 pm, we ask any Senior Division participants removing their projects after 4:00 pm to be appropriately respectful of the ongoing Ceremony in the room adjacent to their displays. Alternative access and egress will be provided to minimize disruption of the Ceremony.

Projects not removed during the times given above will be discarded.

Application Fee Deadline

The Application Fee Deadline for each student’s application is now a postmark deadline. Since 2002 when online applications were first made mandatory instead of optional for all participants, there have been separate deadlines for the submission of the online application, and the submission of the application fee. The Application Fee Deadline was originally expressed as a “received by” deadline set to a specified number of calendar days after the online Submission Deadline. Sadly, each year a number of students were not accepted owing to their mistaking this deadline for a postmark deadline. In order to eliminate any possible confusion, in 2006 the Application Fee Deadline was redefined as a postmark deadline, and is usually set to be two working days after the Submission Deadline. This policy has been continued into this year.

The two separate deadlines are: a Submission Deadline, by which time the Web application must be completed, and an Application Fee Deadline, by which time the Application Fee must be postmarked to the Fair. While applications are considered “received” when they are submitted, they are not considered “complete” until the Application Fee has been received. Each student’s deadlines are determined by the affiliated fair through which he/she has qualified to CSSF. Failure to submit and complete an application by the relevant deadlines may result in the application not being accepted in favor of earlier applications from students in the same affiliated fair.

Special Note for Alternates: All students from an affiliated fair, whether qualified by that affiliate or named as an alternate, must meet the same Submission and Application Fee deadlines. If an application is not accepted because the allocation from the affiliate has been filled, the corresponding Application Fee will be refunded.

Return of Duplicate Application Fees: CSSF recognizes that the Application Fees of some students will be paid by others, such as a school district. Nevertheless, the Application Fee deadline still applies. Since a late payment would jeopardize the application, it is recommended that students in this situation submit the Application Fee immediately upon submission of the Application. If another payment is subsequently received and identified as applying to the student, that student’s earlier Application Fee will be refunded.

See also: Changes in recent years: 2006 , 2005 , 2004 , 2003 , 2002 , 2001 , 2000 , 1999 , 1998 , 1997 .

Last updated: Fri Mar 9 15:30:11 PST 2007
California State Science Fair / Changes for 2007 /