Reset and Recenter: Adjudication 2021


Reset and Recenter: Adjudication 2021


In our unceasing commitment to reinforcing both the achievement of student-performers and

the universal development of music programs, USBands has expanded its adjudication

leadership team for 2021. Joining Adjudication Coordinator Eric Kitchenman is Shirley

Dorritie as Director of Adjudication Philosophy and Mike Stone as Adjudication Associate.

As we look to improve all aspects of our service to music educators and student-performers for

2021 and beyond, USBands has been developing specific actions and approaches to RESET and

RECENTER all facets of our operations. Now, these improvements can positively impact the core

service to our educators: adjudication.


In announcing the first of the team’s educationally and pedagogically-sound adjudication

improvements, Eric Kitchenman said, “We are excited to advance the best practices of

adjudication in the pageantry arts for this coming season. With nearly a century of combined

experience on this leadership team, we know we can support and advance our community to

be the best at what they do.”


Kitchenman shared, “We are not altering the USBands adjudication philosophy in any way,

however, we are simplifying the process for improved outcomes for educators, staff and



At the foundation of these actions is an evolution of both the philosophy and process of

adjudication. Kitchenman added, “What better time to take a step forward into an improved

method to leverage adjudication for a more fulfilling experience for educators, designers,

instructors, and ultimately the students?”


The first phase of the RESET will be implemented through a shift in how the adjudicators apply

what they already know to the caption they are adjudicating. Analysis and commentary will

come from a place of supporting what is currently working and not simply looking for what

needs to be fixed. This RESET is a fundamental shift in understanding how we approach the

process of adjudication. The evaluation will consider the positive qualities being displayed by

performers, measured along an achievement continuum and a refined criteria reference scale.

This approach will allow adjudicators to purposefully find and reward success—a significant

leap beyond an error-and-flaw-based evaluation.


“This phase,” according to Kitchenman, “will take some time to take root and grow but we are

committed to steering the community in this new direction of positivity and growth, while

remaining steadfast in the pursuit of excellence. USBands has a very talented and dedicated

community of adjudicators and we are merely resetting and refining their skill sets in

accordance with what is in the best interest of educators and performers.”


The RECENTER component will focus on the refinements and clarifications of the already

familiar system—particularly in the use of the criteria reference tool on the back of the sheets.


This effort is concentrated on how an adjudicator will apply their caption discipline and acquire

a scoring range. Scoring significance will be applied to the totality of the caption, considering

the combined impact of both what the performers are doing AND the degree to which they are

achieving it.


“A” Class will be RECENTERED on foundational beginning skills evolving to intermediate

skills—with an emphasis on compatibility between class-appropriate responsibilities and the

demonstration of training that supports those responsibilities. With this targeted focus, the

70/130 weighting in the tabulation process will be retired.

Training will be a key part of RESET and RECENTER—beginning with an August 7 in-person

symposium in Allentown, followed by several online intensives and updates throughout the



Shirley Dorritie is excited about the opportunity to elevate the philosophy and processes of

adjudication while also supporting the diverse range of programs that we can expect in 2021.

“USBands is committed to providing the best possible experience to all of its participants. I am

thrilled to be a part of this innovative approach to adjudication and the services we can



USBands’ new approach to the activity has the potential to fundamentally change the activity

for the better and allow for improved outcomes and more positive experiences for the

programs served each year.

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