We keep talking about 50 years of identifying and honoring high quality resources through the REVERE Awards, but improvements and adaptations shouldn’t come as a surprise to a program with a beginning as a magazine competition. Over the years, the awards have had to expand and recognize additional learning resources—books, curricula, software, websites, apps, and more—to reflect the reality of learning in today’s world.
On top of competitions and categories, however, the REVERE Awards program has undergone significant overhaul to its structures and processes as well, particularly in the past five years. This topic, how we honor resources, is just as important as what we honor in understanding the current REVERE Awards program and our plan for its future as the lead identifier of high quality resources for teaching and learning.
Some of the biggest changes have come in how we evaluate products. Conflicts of interest, clear examples of bias, noticeably incomplete or questionable reviews—any hint of malfeasance can throw a program’s credibility into question. Creating an effective and unassailable program has meant constantly reviewing and updating the evaluation process. Here’s what we’ve done:
- Created thorough and competition-specific evaluation criteria. They provide an unambiguous framework of must-have characteristics of quality content.
- Expanded our emphasis on usable, honest feedback. Comments are an added return on investment to entrants, who can use them for marketing and product development, as well as an important feature of the REVERE Awards promotional and awareness campaigns.
- Integrated internal vetting with external review to assure a fair and thorough evaluation. First, internal screening prior to evaluation verifies that entry information is present, coherent, current and accessible, and relevant. Between judging rounds, reviews are examined for impartiality, negligence, and other red flags. Second, our multi-round external review process begins with dual judging, ensuring a product’s fate is never in one person’s hands during the critical first round. Subsequent evaluation is narrowed to the top-performing products, ensuring winners have the judges’ unqualified endorsement.
- Improved judging convenience. Judges return year after year because we’ve created a process that empowers them, allows them to customize evaluation to their interests and schedules, and concentrates their time and energy on the products, not the administration or logistics of judging.
- Increased the number of professional educators as judges. One of the most essential upgrades to the program, sizable input from educators has been a top priority since 2011. Educators have elevated the process specifically by grounding it directly in need, effectiveness, engagement, and usability. Combined with peer review, judging is balanced with the results confirmed by educators and industry professionals.