Education Plan

I.   Experienced Adjudicators:

When adjudicators join MJA from another judge’s circuit, they must provide the E-board with two references (either written or verbal) to verify their training and status as a working judge.Individuals may be required to provide sample tapes or be asked to field trial in a caption before being granted a “reciprocal” card in a caption(s).New members to the association will be offered a mentor, approved by the education coordinator, from the judge’s roster, to help them as they judge their first season with MJA.They will also be required to follow all rules and regulations set forth in the MJA bylaws in order to maintain their membership and be listed on the active judging roster.


II.  Process for New Adjudicators:


Any person who is a member in good standing of MJA wishing to fulfill the responsibilities of an adjudicator will be provided the opportunity to do so. Field trials to become certified to adjudicate must be prearranged through the education coordinator or E-board of MJA, who will contact the circuits for approval.Under the direction of the education coordinator, (or other person appointed by the E-board) a member will be provided with the following as needed:All educational materials that are provided to the working judges.Opportunity to listen and learn from active judges in the caption.Sample audio tapes from adjudicators within the same caption (not necessarily MJA)When applicable or available, videotapes or DVD’s of sample educational materials, to assist in gaining knowledge. Feedback on a regular bases throughout their training from at least one primary (generally the mentor) working judge.An opportunity for a mentor in their caption.Participation in a cohort of training judges to discuss expectations, concerns, issues etc. (this may be as small as one or as large as 10 depending on the membership)The opportunity to complete “field trials” at shows were MJA adjudicators are working.


III.  The process for completing field trials to become certified in a caption will be as follows:

  1. The first field trial usually begins by sitting with the working judges, watching taking notes listening in critiques to become comfortable with the adjudication process.
  2. The second trial is the opportunity to make sample tapes of the units based on the required tape commentary for the caption. It is recommended that the trialing judge keep a set to listen to the tapes themselves as well as a set for the education coordinator or their mentor.
  3. The trailing judge may be required to make changes or adaptations as requested by the education coordinator or mentor.
  4. The trailing judge may also be asked to repeat this step before moving on to numbers management.
  5. The next step in the process is to begin to rank and rate the units using numbers management. This can be done either with or without doing tape commentary. The opportunity to listen in a critiques situation will be provided. If possible, the trialing judge asks questions for clarification concerning the numbers from the working judge after the critique. The trailing judge’s tote sheet and a copy of the recap should be given to the mentor or education coordinator for comparison and feedback.
  6. Feedback in a timely fashion will be given concerning numbers management.
  7. If needed, the training judge may be asked to repeat the numbers process.
  8. The next step, with guidance, is to put the tape commentary and the numbers management process together. The trialing judge will perform a full show with both tapes and numbers. These tapes and tote sheet will be copied; one set for the trailing judge and one set to the education coordinator or mentor fro feedback.
  9. A trial is considered a “pass” when the whole process has been followed as in #8 and the quality of the tape commentary shows knowledge and reflection of the caption as well as the numbers management reflecting the tape comments.
  10. It is recommended that the trialing judge have two acceptable field trials in a caption before given an actual assignment. There is not a specific time lime required to complete this process. In addition, the E-board or the educational coordinator could move a trialing adjudicator along through the process or require a trialing judge to repeat a step as needed to become a qualified judge. This would only be done where there is evidence to do so.

IV.  Requirements and recommendations:


  1. It is the responsibility of the judge in training to read any and all educational materials provided or requested by the caption head or education coordinator.
  2. Prior to and/or during the trialing process, it may be required of the trialing judge to meet with their mentor or the education coordinator for discussions and dialogue concerning caption specifics or judging in general.
  3. In order to facilitate feedback in a timely fashion, the trialing judge needs to get the information (tapes/sheets) to the mentor as soon as possible after completing the trial.
  4. In all likelihood, visual caption judges (and possibly music/percussion judges) may be required to complete a Caption Home Study Course. This can be a time consuming process and may be done simultaneously with the training process or in subsequent years. The time that this takes is reflective of the hours that the units and instructors put into preparing for the competition. Adjudicators need to demonstrate their knowledge of the caption that they are being certified in and these home studies are one such way to demonstrate that.

V.  Experienced adjudicators certifying in another caption:


  1. Judges certified in one caption may request certification in another caption by contacting the education coordinator prior to beginning a new caption.
  2. They must be a member in good standing in MJA.
  3. They will be given a mentor to work with from within the caption that they are wishing to train in.
  4. Must complete two acceptable field trials that are approved by the education coordinator or the E-board.
  5. May be required to complete a Caption Study Course, (if trialing on a visual caption)

VI.  Requirements for adjudicators to remain on the active judges roster in each caption:


  1. Be a member in good standing in MJA.
  2. Must attend a minimum of one (1) clinic or parlor session within the certified caption yearly.
  3. Must abide by the governing rules of the MJA bylaws and meet any requirements for training in a caption as required by the education plan and approved by the E-board.
  4. Must have actively judged or have run tapes and/or numbers in each caption that they wish to remain active in every two years.


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