Apprentice Judges at a National Exhibition

Jeff Long

[A guideline for jury chairmen on the care, treatment and evaluation of apprentice judges – for information only – not New Zealand Philatelic Federation (NZPF) Policy]

Application to become an apprentice judge
The criteria for appointment of apprentice judges, their advancement to the National Judges Register and removal of apprentices from the National Judges Register are all covered in some detail in National philatelic judges’ criteria.
Selection of apprentices for a National Exhibition
Apprentices must be selected from the list of apprentices in the current National Judges Register. There should be no more than one apprentice per judging team. If the apprentices are to receive the support they need, then two or three apprentices for a full national exhibition would be appropriate. This will depend on a number of factors however, including the overall size of the exhibition and the availability of experienced team leaders to work with an apprentice before and during the exhibition. The NZPF coordinator is required to verify that all jury members, including apprentices, are selected from the current National Judges Register. It is helpful if the exhibition organisers can state whether or not there will be a contribution towards travel and accommodation expenses, as well as what event tickets they will receive.
Briefing apprentices prior to an exhibition
Once the apprentices have been selected and approved, the jury chairman must advise them of the classes they will be judging and explain to each apprentice the responsibilities and role they are expected to fulfil. In particular, emphasis should be placed on becoming familiar with the regulations and guidelines and any particular resources relating to the relevant discipline(s).Apprentices will be sent a list of the exhibits they will be judging, along with available title pages/synopses. This is to enable the exhibit topics to be researched. The apprentice also needs to understand the tasks likely to be faced, as well as how he/she will be assessed. It would be useful to have the relevant team leader(s) mentor the apprentice before the exhibition, to provide advice and direction.
At the exhibition
It is suggested that the jury chair and relevant team leaders meet with apprentices before judging starts to welcome them and put them at ease. Time should also be taken to explain procedures, protocols, how the teams will work and any special tasks. Any questions should be answered clearly and fully. During the course of the exhibition, the jury chair should make sure the work of the apprentices is progressing satisfactorily and make sure they participate as fully as possible in the workings of the jury. It is usual for the apprentices to have tasks relating to counting of votes (since they are not permitted to vote), checking the additions on critique sheets, and posting of awards. A good learning experience is acting as the recorder during judging, and later working with a team leader on critiques. For judging work, the apprentice should be part of a judging team while they assess a reasonable number of exhibits (perhaps 3 to 6 depending on the class and the number of entries) so that he/she can get a ‘feel’ for the judging process. After that, the apprentice should be asked to assess some exhibits alone. One of these should be in an area of which the apprentice has good knowledge and another of which they are unlikely to know much about. The team usually then reconvenes and assesses these exhibits as a team and compares the team result with that of the apprentice. Any differences in assessment should be fully discussed, perhaps in private if this seems appropriate. The closeness of assessment between the apprentice and the team should be noted in the apprentice assessment.

It is also common, if the apprentice appears sufficiently competent and confident, to then ask him/her to lead the team in assessing some exhibits. Judging in another discipline area is also useful to gain experience.

Assessment of apprentices
Team Leaders should be asked to provide a written assessment of each apprentice covering:

  • their level of preparation
  • working with the team
  • judging exhibits on their own
  • accuracy in evaluation and soundness of conclusions
  • leading the team after judging their own exhibits
  • ‘defending’ their assessment to the team
  • the breadth and depth of philatelic knowledge
  • knowledge of the relevant GREV, SREV and Guidelines
  • ability to communicate with team members and others
  • conduct within the Jury room
  • ability to work under pressure
  • the quality of any specific tasks allotted, including posting of results on frames
  • application to the tasks – on time, diligent, show initiative
  • an overall comment on their suitability
  • a recommendation to be forwarded to NZPF
Recommendations to NZPF
A written assessment should be made by the jury chair, along with his/her own observations, to make a recommendation to NZPF regarding whether or not the performance at the exhibition is of a sufficient standard to warrant either:

  • a second apprenticeship. Wording may be to the effect that “this be confirmed as a successful apprenticeship, and it is hoped he/she will be given the opportunity to complete a second apprenticeship assignment at an early date.”
  • for an apprentice completing a second apprenticeship, that the apprentice be recommended for adding to the National Judges Register. Wording may be to the effect that “this be confirmed as a second successful apprenticeship, and that he/she be considered for inclusion on the National Judges Register at the next meeting of NZPF.

If this is not regarded as a successful apprenticeship, then NZPF should obviously be notified of this assessment, along with some reasons and any thoughts about future involvement in an exhibition.

It is appropriate for the jury chair to indicate to the apprentice what recommendation is being made to NZPF, especially if the next NZPF meeting is some time off.

The NZPF secretary will then write to the apprentices to provide this feedback formally.

Assessment form for Apprentices

The Apprentice assessment form,based on the above guidelines, identifies the things apprentices should be assessed on and indicates the process to be used.

The team leader will complete the form (not necessarily commenting on every item but hitting the high and, if necessary, the low points. The comments will be reviewed with the apprentice who is given the chance to comment. The Jury Chairman then reviews the report, discuss any issues with the team leader and, in turn, the apprentice.

During the judging process the Jury Chairman should roam around the teams and take special note of the processes of the teams with apprentices.

Team leaders should be reminded of the process to be used and that their reports will be passed to and discussed with the Chairman.

Subsequently, the Chairman should speak privately with each apprentice seeking their views about the process and the comments made. The comments they make on the form will desirably be reflected in the discussion. The Chairman advises the apprentice had been observed during the judging and indicates whether the team leader’s view will be supported in the final recommendation to Federation.

The completed report made for each apprentice will be available at each step of their progress and retained by NZPF. If it were the first apprenticeship, the report will be made available to the Jury Chairman responsible for their second. If there had been any indication in their first apprenticeship something needed addressing, the Jury Chairman (and probably the team leader) will check if the issue was addressed.