Contest Rules & Evaluation

National History Day® (NHD), like most contests, has rules to help ensure fairness. NHD’s contest rules enable all students to compete on a level playing field. Every participant has the same opportunity to present their work.

Judge reviewing a project in the exhibit category

Before you begin to research or construct your NHD project, download and read the Contest Rule Book. The current Contest Rule Book took effect on June 22, 2020.

Contact your regional or state/affiliate coordinator for more information on topics, sources, and deadlines.

Project Evaluation

If you enter an NHD contest, judges will use NHD Evaluation Forms to evaluate your entry. You are encouraged to use these forms as a guide in developing your project. Then, after the contest, carefully review the judges’ feedback. If your project is moving on to a higher competition level, consider ways to strengthen your work. Between contest levels, you may continue your research, refine your analysis, and revise your project, including your title. However, you may not change your topic. The evaluation form has two sections:

Historical Quality (80%)

The evaluation of Historical Quality is the same for all categories. This section focuses on the strengths of your historical argument, research, and relationship to the theme.

Clarity of Presentation (20%)

Clarity of Presentation is different for each entry category. It evaluates how well your project communicates your argument using the tools of your category.

Evaluation Form for Each Project Category: