The 'Skating System' which is recognised under the Rules of DanceSport Australia has been at the centre of many issues particularly to do with development. It is not an understatement that the system is complex and requires extensive training to fully understand how the system arrives at a result, it is not possible for the layman to look at DanceSport Marks and determine their correctness.
The complexity of the system often leads people to believe that results are contrived. Concerns are often raised by parents that their child received more firsts than any other competitor but did not win.
The Skating System requires that all competitors are marked in order, that is no two competitors can be give the same place regardless of how similiar in proficiency the Adjdudicator regards their performannces. For experienced DanceSport competitors this is not an issue, however for the development level competitor (and mum & dad) this is a problem. Compounding this, the reason for the placement of the couple is not recorded adding to the confusion as to why a particular mark was given. The lack of feedback from the system is the main reason why it is not accepted by the IOC and developmental sports bodies both in Australia and worldwide.
The Development Scrutineering System allows for marks to be awarded in two componets (Technical & Music) giving feedback to the competitor and their supporters. Another important point is that where competitors are of equal standing the same marks can be awarded.
As you can see from the screenshots of the Adjudicator's Tablet the system is simplistic, select the couple and apply the marks. When all competitors/couples have been awarded the SAVE button will display in exactly the same way the current Skating System appears.
The Assesment Scale
The key to this system is not the technology (although it does assist in the organisation of competitions) but rather the Assesment Scale and how it is applied. The Development System is approved by DanceSport Australia for judging Recreational and Teacher/Student events and mirrors the values of established Medal Examination Systems used by Registered Teaching Facilities.
All DanceSport Medal Examiners would be familiar with the scale used to award Honours, Distinction, Highly Commended, Commended, Pass, etc. All these levels are easily transferable to the Development System. Although there are some differences between Medal Examination systems the following should be considered a guideline;
- Honours (95%-100%) equivalent Development score - 9.5 or 10
- Distinction (85%-94%) equivalent Development score - 8.5 or 9
- Highly Commended (75%-84%) equivalent Development score - 7.5 or 8
- Commended (65%-74%) equivalent Development score - 6.5 or 7
- Pass (55%-64%) equivalent Development score - 5.5 or 6
For example, judging a 'Beginner Level' Recreational event; Beginner is equivalent to Bronze and would be accessed in the same way. If the competitor should be awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ then the score would be 7.5 or 8 with the difference being you will give two scores for each of the following components;
1. Technical: footwork, posture & hold
2. Music: timing & rhythm
Dividing the scores into two components allows greater feedback to the Student (and parents). It is certainly conceivable that both of these components are related, that is you can’t have good music skills without an acceptable level of technique but it is also conceivable that one component may be lacking and that is important feedback.
Recreational Division events are divided into 3 levels (although not all may be in use on the day of a competition); Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Therefore the following equivalency applies;
- Beginner Level is accessed as Bronze Medal standard,
- Intermediate Level is accessed as a Silver Medal standard, and
- Advanced (or Open Recreational) is accessed as a Gold Medal standard.
NOTE: As with actual Medal Exams only the competitor(s) or Student is accessed. The standard of the Teacher has no bearing on the score given.
All competitors (and parents) accept that there must be more than one Adjudicator ... seriously how can one person watch all competitors on the floor at the same time. It is entirely possible that one Adjudicator see a footwork fault when others were watching elsewhere, this requires a mechanism to join the Judges marks to arrive at a result.
The base problem is providing a formula that is easy to understand but also excludes marks for Adjudicators who appear to have lost their way. The Skating System does this with a complicated set of rules that generally rely on the Majority (but not always). The basic premise is that a majority of Adjudicators will get the result right.
Following on that logic the 'Median' mark for a couple in a dance will remain the same regardless of what Adjudicators at the High and Low ends mark. For example 7 Adjudicator marks sorted in order from lowest to highest;
6 6 6.5 6.5 7 7 7.5
The score in the centre 6.5 is the Median, the centre point ... NOT THE AVERAGE!!
If a tolerance of 1.5 is applied we can see that all marks fall into the 'valid range' and the final score for this componet will be a simple average. (FYI 46.5 / 7 = 6.64 for that componet)
4.5 6 6.5 6.5  ;7  7 7.5
Now we have a score which falls outside the tolerance, the score of 4.5 will not be included in the calculation.