Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria for Task One: The Policy Memorandum

Each policy memorandum will be double graded according to the evaluation criteria below. The Organiser will establish the minimum score required to continue to round two of the Challenge after the evaluation of all submissions is completed. Up to 200 participants can continue to the next stage. See the Rules and Challenge Tasks for details. If you have questions regarding the Evaluation Criteria, please send an email to questions@gpddc.org.

You will not be penalised if you are not a native English speaker. Judges will use the evaluation criteria below to assess each student’s contribution, which focuses on the ability to develop analysis and use evidence to support arguments, not language ability.

Please visit the Writing Guidelines  and Worksheet  to help you prepare and write an effective memo.

NOTE: Plagiarism or failing to meet the formal requirements on length will lead to disqualification.

Evaluation criteria for the first task (“policy memorandum”)



Maximum Score

Evidence-based analysis and argumentation

  • The problem is clearly-defined and relates to one of the scenarios
  • Argumentation is coherent throughout the text and ideas are clearly expressed
  • Evidence – examples, analogies, comparisons, hard data – is effectively used to support your analysis and argumentation
  • Analysis shows fresh and innovative thinking
  • Counterarguments and alternative policies are effectively rebutted using evidence
  • Discussion on impact shows consideration of all relevant stakeholders and their interests
  • No overuse of jargon and technical terms are explained




  • The recommendations address the problem
  • The recommendations are feasible and action-oriented
  • The recommendations highlight key assumptions and policies




  • Key structural elements such as the title, problem definition, discussion of impact, and policy recommendations are well developed and organized
  • The structural elements are well balanced in length
  • A summary of the main arguments and recommendations is provided in the conclusion




  • Evidence is backed by reliable sources
  • Citations are properly and coherently used throughout the paper
  • APA embedded citation style is used






The different elements within the criteria are important for you to keep in mind. You will be graded based on how well you meet the elements which will collectively determine your overall grade for each criterion.

We provide general pointers below to make the judging process clearer. Please note, however, that judges will use their qualitative judgment in determining the exact score of your submissions. Judges will provide written feedback on your memos, explaining the given score for each criterion, what they see as the strengths of your paper, and provide brief feedback for improvement.

“Evidence-based analysis and argumentation” (maximum 40 points)

If you base your memorandum solely on your opinion and do not use any evidence to support your claims, your score is likely to remain below 10 points. Similarly, if you fail to define the problem based on one of the four scenarios and do not consider any alternative policies in your policy memo, the judges cannot give you a score beyond 20 points for this criterion. To achieve more than 30 points, you will need to demonstrate innovative thinking, consider all relevant stakeholders when discussing the impact of your policy, and make sure that your argumentation is easy to follow -- meaning you pull together the logic of your argument together in making your case.  

“Recommendations” (maximum 20 points)

At minimum your recommendations should address the problem highlighted in the policy memo. If your recommendations are generic or fall outside the realistic domain of competence of the government you are addressing, your score is likely to remain below 10 points. To achieve a higher score, make sure to recommend policies which can feasibly be adopted by your addressee.

“Structure” (maximum 20 points)

If your memo lacks one of the structural elements (title, problem definition, contrasting of counterarguments, discussion of impact, and policy recommendations) and you do not offer a short summary at the end, your score is likely to remain below 10 points. Excellent structure means that you know how to balance the length of the aforementioned structural elements.

“Citation” (maximum 20 points)

If you do not use APA embedded citation style or your sources are not reliable (e.g. from disreputable sources) your score is likely to remain below 10 points. Hence, make sure your citations refer to reliable sources and that you use the APA embedded citation style.  Please visit the Writing Guidelines for more information on how to use APA embedded citation.

Evaluation Criteria Matrix Task One.doc47 KB
Evaluation Criteria Matrix Task One.pdf288.26 KB