2018 Competition Guide


Welcome & Introduction

Rules & Clarifications

Scoring Spreadsheet

General Competition Information

Design Tips

Eligibility Requirements
Paper Competition
Business Meeting

Judges Training Meeting

Team Captain Meeting

Display Judging

Site Layout



Post Construction

Lateral Load Test

Vertical Load Tests
- Loading Devices
- Deflection Measurement
- Sway Measurement

Bridge Weight

Data Entry

History & Results


Display Judging

Rule 6.2.1


Competitor Equipment:

  • A bridge meeting the requirements of the competition.
  • The name of the school of the chapter that created the bridge in 1" or taller letters (see Rule 
  • A poster meeting the requirements of the display rules (Rule  Make sure that all the itemized requirements are met. Note that there are some new requirements with the 2014 rules.


Host Equipment/Preparation:

  • Three to six judges. See the discussion below.
  • A venue for the bridges. Most competitions have all the chapters erect their bridges in one place so that the Display Judges can do their work with all bridges before them. This makes life a lot easier for the judges plus allows everyone to see the bridges.
  • A set of display judging forms (printed from the scoring spreadsheet) for each Display Judge.
  • A ruler or tape measure for measuring letter height.
  • A computer with the scoring spreadsheet on it. The results of the display judging must be entered while the Judges are all there and with the bridges still on display so that they can break any ties if necessary.
  • A list of the school names as listed on http://www.asce.org/find-a-chapter for all the participating chapters.


Display judging has always been a bit confusing since the rules introduced the name and poster components of the competition. This section is designed to help ASCE student conference hosts and their judges learn about how the process is to be conducted.

Display consists of three parts: appearance, name, and poster board.

The rules do not give any specific guidance on how to combine these three components to arrive at a final ranking of the participating bridges. There is a sheet and judging forms in the official scoring spreadsheet which are used to determine display scores and the display ranking at the national competition.

Appearance: At the national competition (where 40+ bridges are ranked) six members of the Rules Committee judge the appearance. Instead of ranking the bridges, the judges provide scores for each bridge. Each of the judges determines their favorite and least favorite bridges. The least favorite is given a score of 1 and the favorite is given a score of 10. Bridges that don't show up are given a score of zero. All other bridges are scored by each judge in relation to their favorite and least favorite--there can be ties for a given judge and decimal values are permitted. The Judge's scores are then averaged by the spreadsheet and the bridges are ranked by average score. Any ties are broken by an algorithm in the spreadsheet. The tie breaking algorithm uses standard deviations of judges scores. The algorithm works best with lots of judges. The spreadsheet can accommodate up to six display judges. In the spreadsheet, a small number is added to the bridge score to break the tie.

Name: There has been lots of discussion over the years about how to judge appropriate names for display on the bridges. Several variations have been tried and found to be unmanageable. Consequently, the only standard that has been found is the school name listed on the ASCE Student Services website (http://www.asce.org/find-a-chapter) for each chapter. The display judges must check to see that the correct name is used. The host should print out a listing of acceptable chapter names for the use of the Display Judges. If an entry does not appear to meet the requirement, all the judges must agree that a violation has occurred or a majority vote is taken. If it is deemed that the name requirement is not met, then that is indicated on the display data entry sheet.  Rule states "A bridge that lacks appropriate identification will receive a very low display rating". This is automatically assessed in the spreadsheet ensuring a low ranking of the bridge within the Display judging category.  Judges can alter the effect on scoring resulting from incorrect name by changing the weight factor in the spreadsheet.  Note that a weight factor of 1 causes the bridge name violation to have no impact on the scoring.

Poster Board: The rules list some required components for the poster. Judging of posters, at Nationals, is also done on a scoring (as opposed to a ranking) basis. Zero is given to a bridge that does not present a poster. A score of 1 is given to a poster that is poorly done (i.e. missing some required components and/or the work is of low quality) and an exceptional poster (i.e. has all the required components and the presented work is of high quality) gets a score of 5. Other posters receive a score between 1 and 5. Read rule for a listing of the criteria for the poster. The scores of the judges are averaged by the spreadsheet to get a poster score for the bridge.

Combining the Scores: The rules do not give any specific guidance on how the components are to be combined. It is generally recognized, however, that the display score should not be solely based on appearance since there are two other requirements to the category. For the past few years a weighting formula has been used at nationals.

<Final Display Score> = (<Average Appearance Score> + <Average Poster Score> / <Weight Divisor>) x <if name spec met then <weight factor> else 1> + <tie breaker score>

The bridges are ranked by the spreadsheet based on both the <Display Score> and the <Final Display Score>. The <Weight Divisor> is manually manipulated so that no team's final ranking is affected by more than 10 places (out of the 40 plus bridges entered) as a result of the poster scores.

Check out the Example Display Scoring for the ASCE Polar Ice Cap Student Conference that is provided here!


Display Judging Example

At the ASCE Polar Ice Cap Student Conference (PICC) thirteen bridges are entered. Four display judges are tasked with judging the bridges.

Task Number One: Score the bridges appearance.

Each Judge then decides for themselves which is the ugliest bridge and assign it a score of 1 and the most beautiful bridge a score of 10. The other bridges are given scores somewhere between these two. At the PICC the Judges independently do their own ranking and arrive at the following results:

PICC Appearance Scores

Entry Joe Jane Harold  Rebecca
Univ. of Snow 1 1 3 1
Glacier Univ. 5 7 4 6
Polar State Univ. 9 10 10 5
North Pole City College 10 9 8.5 10
Ice Ridge Univ. 6 7 7 6.5
Univ. of Plain Fun 3 4.5 1 3

Task Number Two: Determine if bridge is properly identified.

Going to http://www.asce.org/find-a-chapter, the judges find the official name of the university that each student chapter comes from. Comparing the names on the bridges to the ASCE list, it is determined BY THE JUDGES AS A WHOLE that Polar State, the Univ. of Plain Fun, and Glacier University do not have their full official names on the bridge. 

Non-Compliant: Polar State, Univ. of Plain Fun and Glacier Univ.

Task Number Three: Poster Judging

Each judge independently scores the posters on a scale of 0 to 5. A zero is given only if a bridge team fails to provide any poster at all. A five is given if all criteria is met. Judges decide on their own how to score in between 1 and 5. The following is a table of the results for the PICC:

PICC Poster Judging

Entry Joe Jane Harold  Rebecca
Univ. of Snow 3 2 3 1.5
Glacier Univ. 2.5 4 4.5 3
Polar State Univ. 2 5 4.5 3.5
North Pole City College 4.5 4.5 5 3.5
Ice Ridge Univ. 3 4 4.5 2.5
Univ. of Plain Fun 0 0 0 0

It should be obvious that the Univ. of Plain Fun did not provide a poster. Also note that any judge can score any bridges equally. For example, our judge Harold is a relatively generous scorer and he has given three of the bridges the same high score.

Task Number Four: Entering the Data and Analyzing the Results

The Judges then gather to enter the data into the computer spreadsheet.

Check out a the printout of the data entry and calculations for this example by clicking here. While the example given is for the 2009 competition, this process has not been substantially changed since then.

In this case there are no ties in the Ranking Score (see column near the far right of the form). If there were, then the judges need to make a decision about what input scores to change to break the tie.

Note that, in this case, the section penalties moved some bridges up and some down the rankings. This can be seen in the far right column. If the move is too extreme (i.e. a bridge move more than 1/4 of the way up or down the list) then the judges can alter the weight divisor until the movement on the list is restricted to a smaller value.

For the PICC, the Univ. of Snow and Ice Ridge Univ. both moved up in the rankings due to the Name and Poster scores. Polar State Univ. and the Univ. of Plain Fun fell in the rankings for the same reason.


Display Judging Demonstrated

Coming Soon

A video describing how Display Judging is handled at the National competition.