Scoring and Judging

The value of teamwork and collaborative learning experiences is well documented. Less understood is the educational value of competition to spur students to perform to the best of their abilities. And yet some of the most respected educational programs in the country – Model UN, Odyssey of the Mind and Science Olympiad – rely on competition as the catalyst for high achievement. Competition, when crafted inside of a friendly spirit, can motivate kids to excel and this notion is an integral part of the engine that drives Meridian Stories.

In each Division, there will be a first, second and third place winner for each Challenge, as based on the scoring system that is articulated in the Evaluation Rubric for that Challenge. Each Challenge will be evaluated and scored by three judges, who will be culled from the Media and Education industries, as well as trained Undergraduate and Graduate students. All judges will be announced prior to the awarding of placement and badges.

No matter what the final score is, all students will receive a Meridian Stories Certificate for participating.


Meridian Stories understands that a first-second-third reward system is an ultimately unsatisfactory system of feedback. It is too narrow, limiting and unsophisticated.

Therefore, we explored a reward system that coupled short-term positive reinforcement with long-term aspiring, tiered objectives, so that we could encourage sustained learning.

The answer is a Badge System. Championed by the MacArthur and Mozilla Foundations, a Badge System is not a scoring addendum to the project. It is a “valid indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest.”  It is also the engine that, with time and development, will drive continued participation and educational growth as it evolves into a more comprehensive learning pathway.

The Meridian Stories Badge system focuses on skills related to:

  1. Content Mastery (Language Arts, History, Community Engagement, Science and Mathematics)
  2. Storytelling Mastery
  3. Media Literacy Mastery
  4. 21st Century Skills Mastery (Collaborative Thinking, Creativity and Innovation, and Initiative and Self-Direction)

The way it works is simple: no matter what a team’s final score is, if that team scores 65% or higher in any of the four categories above, they will earn a badge in that category.

The Meridian Stories Badge System is designed as a reward system that starts and sustains a productive dialogue with the storyteller that will result in rising achievement throughout their Middle and High School years. The long-term result is a display of badges that represents, to colleges and future employers, a new and provocative window into a youth’s capabilities.

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