NOVICE GUIDE (v. 20.00) to the




So you've been asked to "run the Score Room" for an Affiliate or Regional DI Tournament this year! What do you need to know? How daunting is this request, really?

This Novice Guide will try to allay your fears, soothe your nerves, answer your questions and guide you along the way. First, we'll assume you will use the DI Scoring Program tools to accomplish the task. Actually we'll recommend that the DI Scoring Program is the only way to go! (The effort and experience we've put into building this program has given us the confidence to make that claim!) Second, although we hope you have at least several weeks of warning before Tournament Day, we'll try to show you how to get ready within a week - if that's all the time you're given.

Each Team Challenge (and each Instant Challenge) has its own definition of how it is to be scored - of what's worth how many points - and of the resulting calculations that are necessary. Fortunately the DI Scoring Program includes the necessary tools for this, so you don't have to figure that all out for yourself. It's good to understand which scores are scaled together and when - but the Challenge Masters will also be familiar with these rules for each of their Challenges.

The Tournament Director will be able to explain how many teams will advance to the next Tournament in each Level of competition, and will help to identify other expectations regarding Reports and other communications from the Score Room to a variety of recipients - to Challenge Masters, to Team Members and Managers, and to the other Tournament audience members.

So let's jump into this task in more detail. After you've read through this Novice Guide, you might want to keep it close at hand while you walk through the DI Scoring Program and its online Documentation. All those parts are meant to complement each other - and make it easy for you to find the answers you need.

Whether you're reading this on-screen or on paper, you may notice certain words or groups of words in the text (not in the headings or the table of Contents) that look like "hyperlinks" - printed in blue instead of black (at least if your printed copy is in color). These are hyperlinks to portions of the DI Scoring Program documentation which might contain more detail about the topic of interest.


If you have this document (paper, PDF or HTM version), you may already have your copy of the DI Scoring Program for 2020. If not, it's available on a CD from your Tournament Director, or for electronic download from the DI Scoring website at (Please, do not try to download the file from the website over a dial-up Internet connection. If you do not have a high-speed Internet connection, get the CD instead.)


Your first useful contact will be with your Affiliate or Regional Tournament Director - who's probably also the one who asked you to be this special volunteer! You need several "policy" facts, and perhaps also a lead to the computers you'll use for running the DI Scoring Program.

Among the policies you'll need to know are:

Score Room Location

You may also discover that tradition (past experience - past practice - like it or not) has defined the location of the Score Room within the Tournament site. It should be located reasonably centrally within the building(s), but you need the ability to limit traffic to and through the Score Room to only those with a legitimate need to be there - scoring personnel, Challenge Masters, Score Runners, and not many others! Tables are preferred to "classroom desks," so you'll probably find that a "media center" (library for you old timers) or a "career center" (guidance office) provides a better selection of furniture. In addition to tables for the computers and printer(s), they'll also be needed for the paper handling that is an unavoidable part of the task - the team's Score Sheets come into the Score Room along with registration forms, Tournament Data Forms, Expense Reports, team photos, and a few others too numerous to mention.

Score Entry Method

Our preferred method of score entry is called "Detailed with Appraisers," in which each of the individual score values on each Appraiser's (Team Challenge or Instant Challenge) score sheet is entered individually into two separate DI Scoring Program computers, by two separate computer operators. Not only is this the preferred method, it's also the only one we will discuss here - that's how PREFERRED it really is! This method eliminates the need for anyone to use a calculator to determine any sub-totals and totals - thus the Appraiser Score Sheet includes no "boxes" for such calculated numbers - numbers which may also be individually either meaningless or misleading depending on the manner in which scores are scaled for each different challenge or element. It also provides for two separate "sets of eyes" to read each number and key it in - which should be enough to assure you of accuracy. [This means that score-entry personnel must not be trained to "ask their partner what that number is" when it's unclear on the Score Sheet! Ask the appropriate Challenge Master instead, back at the competition site!]

People and Equipment

By now you may be wondering "How many computers?" and "How many people?" are involved in this scoring process. There are various answers to these - all probably legitimate - and they depend significantly on the scoring method(s) you'll use. The answers below assume you're using the "Detailed with Appraisers" score entry method.

Experience suggests that a pair of score-entry personnel can enter all the scores - both Central Challenge and Instant Challenge - from 50 to 70 teams in your Tournament. Think 50 teams for DI-inexperienced folks who are NOT intimidated by typing numbers all day; think 70 teams easily for those who have "done it before." [These values are based on folks staying in the Score Room all day - not those who take off once an hour to go see some of their favorite teams' performances! Sorry, but you'll probably have to be hard-nosed about that - except for maybe one performance per person per day!] Everyone needs a break now and then, and for lunch, too, but the trip to see a performance easily can eat up half an hour or longer. Lunch breaks in the score room must be carefully done - food and drink don't mix well with keyboards and score papers! Something else to keep in mind is that the same person should never do the first score entry for a team on computer A, for instance, and then later be working on Computer B of that pair when that team's scores reach that machine! That's not a lethal error, but one to be aware of and avoid - especially when you think about WHY two separate entries are used - to avoid all kinds of errors in the first place!

There are no particular rules about how to divide your 92-team tournament into two 50- to 70-team "parts." You might want to keep all the levels of a challenge together - as the computer operators probably become familiar with the format of the score sheets. It's best to "balance" the work by placing a nearly equal number of teams into each computer pair, but the number of scoring elements will vary by challenge and the number of appraisers per challenge may also vary widely.

Now that you've read this far, you've probably already figured out that you also need a pair of computers for each 50 to 70 teams in your Tournament! From the "lugging them around" perspective, you'll want to use laptops wherever possible - sorry, but we have so little experience with using tablets (iPads, etc.) that we can't recommend them yet for use! Your "simple version" of score entry also doesn't use a separate computer to collate scores from the various Challenges and Levels - that's something that you can consider an unnecessary luxury until you've acquired so much experience that you don't need this Novice Guide any more! These computers should be "all alike"- preferably not a mix of Macs and Microsoft Windows machines, for example - you don't need the extra "hardware support" hassles of that! If you need two pairs based on the number of Teams in your Tournament, you'll also want a separate printer for each pair - because you'll see that waiting for the printed sheets for each team to come out after score entry can be a time eater, and putting the wrong printed sheets with the wrong Team's records is always a big "NO, NO!"

Plan for the Paperwork Flow

In this description of a "typical" Scoring system, we have assumed that each team's individual Score Sheets would be "transported" by a Score Runner from the Team Challenge site to the Score Room. [You'll prefer to have one Score Runner for each separate Team Challenge Site (band room or gym or ...).] One Runner is probably enough for all the Instant Challenge scores, because they normally eventually originate from one point in the IC competition area. Once scores are entered twice into computers, a Team Copy of the Raw Score Sheet (without any scaling of scores) is returned to the Site so it may be given to the Team Manager. A separate Appraiser's Copy is often returned at the same time, so that once the scores are returned there's still a copy at the Site for reference.

One of the "individual options" for your Tournament is to decide where the packet of Score Sheets (Appraisers, Prep Area, worksheets) will be retained or stored - typically either retained in the Score Room where they become the property of the Tournament Director, or returned to the Challenge Site where they belong to the individual Challenge Master(s)!

Other papers from the Challenge Site might include the team-provided forms - Declaration of Independence, Expense Report, Tournament Data Forms - plus those meeting any local requirements. You'll want to work with the Tournament Director to define in advance how these are to be handled and stored!

Here's where you will also use that tournament "policy" information that we mentioned earlier - and that you discussed with your Tournament Director.


Install the DI Scoring Program onto your Computers

Once you have your pair(s) of computers, you're ready to install the DI Scoring Program on each computer. The executable file that installs the Program on a Windows computer is named di-2020-install-20nnxxxx+jvm.exe, where "20nn" is the 4-digit year and the "xxxx" is a 4-digit month and day code for the creation date of that version of the Program (not necessarily the competition year for which the Program is created). This file will usually be found in the root directory of the DI Scoring CD. Within the Program documentation - which may be found on that CD in a folder named ProgramDocumentation - are more details about the installation. To open the Documentation from the CD, run the file index.htm from that folder; then from the Index of Common Tasks option, select Install the Scoring Program, which should be the third line of the sidebar menu.

Depending on the source of the computers you're using, you have the choice of a regular or a green installation - the descriptions should be enough for you to make that selection. If it doesn't matter, we'll suggest the regular installation as it's more forgiving - and manages the discipline of "where to put which files" very nicely for you. As you'll note, if you're using Macintosh computers, the installation is essentially green by definition - and uses a different file - named DI_Scoring_20nnxxxxR.dmg where "20nn" and "xxxx" are as defined above.

Assuming you have performed the regular installation - and not changed any of the install parameters - each computer's root directory now contains a folder named DI Programs. Beneath this folder is one named Scoring Program 2020. Beneath this folder is one named Sample Tournament which contains the definition of that sample Tournament - containing 73 teams pretending to compete in 16 Challenges and Levels. Eventually you need to have YOUR Tournament's teams loaded instead - in a parallel folder with a name of your choosing, but first you must create the file which you will use to load them.

Get the Schedule

Before the Tournament Day, you'll also need to acquire or assemble a list of teams competing in your tournament! This list of teams must eventually include the Challenge, the Level, and the competition times for both Team Challenge and Instant Challenge - the same information that's required to print the schedules - wall posters and booklets - whatever is your tournament's practice! Your Tournament Director may not have the time schedule until a few days before the tournament. You'll want to get this information from your Tournament Director in time to convert and package it into a format that can be read by the DI Scoring Program. That format is called a CSV (comma-separated values) file - which is a file type you can save from a Microsoft Excel file. Presumably you can get the Schedule from your Tournament Director once it's ready to be released for Program printing - we all know that the schedule is never "final" until the tournament is completely over - before that it's always subject to changes of one sort or another!

If your Tournament schedule comes to you as an Excel file, that's great. If it's in a Microsoft Word document, you will need to use your own wizardry (or find a friendly and helpful wizard) to convert it to Excel! It should contain at least this information about each team: Membership Number, Membership Name, Challenge, Level, Team Challenge Time, Instant Challenge Time. It's often helpful if it also contains: Team's Nickname and Team Manager(s) Name(s), but those are not absolutely essential to score your tournament. Membership Numbers MUST be unique for each team. Nicknames are useful when you have several teams with the same or similar Membership Names - Central Middle School, for example. Team Manager Names may or may not be helpful in distinguishing between teams. Challenge and Level may be abbreviated as long as the abbreviations are consistent - don't use Challenge A and ON Target interchangeably, or EL and Elementary. Remember that the computer doesn't "translate" words well - it just panics when it sees different character strings while you know they mean the same thing! There's a lot of flexibility with the Time fields, but again consistency is necessary. You can represent one o'clock in the afternoon as 1:00, 1:00 p.m., 1:00 pm, 100, or 1300 (think military time). Normally the DI Scoring Program interprets 7:00 as 7:00 a.m. and 6:59 as 6:59 p.m. - but you can even influence that within the Tournament Wizard - where you indicate the daily start time and daily end time for your tournament (defaults are 7:00) - just be consistent.

Once you have cleaned up any inconsistencies in the schedule file provided, you'll need to eliminate any blank lines in your Excel file - it needs to contain only the first row with column names (your choice) plus only one row for each team. Blank lines will cause trouble with the team load process - usually omitting any teams following the first blank line it encounters! Normally you won't include Rising Stars teams, as they do not receive any numerical scores that need "calculation!" You also don't need any team "check-in times" that might apply to Improvisational or Structural challenge teams. If the DI Scoring Program recognizes your column names, it will match them to the names it knows - if not, you'll have to help the Tournament Wizard by matching them yourself. Finally, save your Excel schedule file as a .csv file and you're ready to "load" your teams into the program!

If your Tournament is large enough to use more than one pair of computers, you should probably prepare separate load files for each pair - it's very time consuming to remove any teams from a pair of computers that are not being used to score those teams. It's far easier to remove a group of rows from the CSV file than to remove a group of teams (one at a time) from a tournament.

Load your Schedule of Teams using the Tournament Wizard

Now that you've created one or more "load files," you're ready to get YOUR teams into the copy of the DI Scoring Program on one scoring computer in each pair. For that task, we'll use what's properly called the Tournament Wizard!

Summon the Wizard - from the File menu select the Tournament Wizard option. You'll be requested to define the following:

Networking and Cross Checking

A minimal amount of networking of these computers is preferred, but if you have absolutely no experience, confidence or resource to help you with this, "Check Digits" can be all you need! The simplest network (which I will describe as I understand it) might use a "mini-hub" to link two (or four or more) computers into pairs as mentioned above.

A small wired or wireless router also works great. Be aware that many routers are also wireless routers. If you use a wireless router, you will need to make sure no one else can access the score room files. Either turn off the wireless or secure it by changing the default wireless ID (SSID) and set the security to WPA or WPA2 with a good password. Check with your technology person if you have any questions about these settings.

In each pair, Computer A receives the first-time score entry for each team. When the second-time score entry occurs into Computer B, it Cross Checks with Computer A (whenever scores are saved), and delivers an on-screen error message if it finds a disagreement! This is the time that these two score-entry persons "huddle up" to figure out who entered what differently - the error message usually points directly to "which score line doesn't agree!"

For a more thorough description of networking of your DI Scoring computers, you may refer to Check Scores, in particular the portion headed "To check scores automatically."

If networking is beyond your grasp - or if your networking efforts fail in the middle of your tournament day - the Check Digits are there for you. After the Computer A score entry is complete for each team, the computer operator finds the Check Digits line at the bottom of the "Score" column of the on-screen form, and simply writes that four-digit number on the first or last page (your choice) of the score packet before passing these sheets to the operator of Computer B. When that individual completes entry of the team's scores, just glance at the same Check Digits to confirm agreement. If the digits do not agree, the two operators will have to check their work line-by-line to locate the discrepancy. The Check Digits at the bottom of each appraiser's column will help to quickly narrow the search.

Now You Have Your Tournament Definition Completed

With Challenge Levels identified, Advancement Rules established and Team Information loaded, you now have your Tournament defined. Under the "Scoring Program 2020" folder and within the "Your Tournament Name" folder, you should have these files:

Once you have this folder and its contents on your Computer A for that pair, you could copy the entire folder to your Computer B. Be certain to place this folder in exactly the same location on both computers. Now if you are networking your computers for Cross Checking, you could set the cross-checking directory pointer on Computer B to point to the corresponding Tournament folder on Computer A as described in Check Scores above.

Reports You Will Print

At least two reports will be essential to scoring your Tournament. For each team, once the Team Challenge scores are entered, you will Print Detail Scores - which will include two sheets - the Appraisers' Copy and the Team Copy. [Sometimes each of these copies is two pages, depending on the number of scoring elements in the challenge or the number of Appraisers on that site.] See Set Automatic Printing of Score Sheets to set this printing up to occur automatically from Computer B when complete Team Challenge scores are saved for that team. Both copies are then sent to the competition site, where the Team Copy is returned to the Team, and the Appraisers' Copy is retained by the Challenge Master or Head Appraiser. A third copy (the Score Room copy) may be printed and retained with the Appraiser sheets in the score room, if that's where they remain.

Once each Challenge Level is completely scored - both Team Challenge and Instant Challenge - you will print Final Scores, again from Computer B. This report may be used to announce the Tournament results; a copy may be provided to each Team (in that Challenge Level) once the Award Ceremony is completed, or may be posted for general viewing. This is done according to that Communication "policy" mentioned earlier.


Identify the Team Challenge Appraisers

First priority on Tournament Day is to inform the DI Scoring Program of the identity of the Appraisers for each Team Challenge site. You will need to enter a "name" that each appraiser will use to "sign" their score sheets - it can be a number, initials, ... - since the Team will not see the name on any paper they receive, it's not essential to "hide" the identity of the appraisers. Since the space available on the score entry screen is limited, initials or a nickname are better than a full name. Sometimes it's possible for the Challenge Master or Head Appraiser to provide this information - name and which elements are being scored - even before the Tournament Day, but the risk of changes lasts right up until the first performance begins. (After that you can't add an appraiser who hasn't seen the first team!)

Each Challenge Master and Head Appraiser should already be aware of DI Scoring expectations - for instance (1) that each subjective (based on an Appraiser's opinion) scoring element should be evaluated by at least two separate Appraisers and (2) that any zero subjective score (usually indicating something that was omitted by the team) must be agreed by each evaluating appraiser - but these rules will also be enforced by the DI Scoring Program.

Report Forms are provided within the Program that you can send to each Challenge site to request Appraiser names and assignments. From the Tournament Summary (initial) screen, select Appraiser Assignments from the Print menu - that will produce one Team Challenge sheet for each challenge and level in your Tournament. Alternately, from any individual Challenge and Level window, select TC (or IC) Appraiser Assignment Sheet from the Print menu to produce a single form for that Challenge and Level. [Note that each Instant Challenge Appraiser will be assigned to all scoring elements in that challenge - thus the Appraiser Assignments for instant challenge consist only of the "name" of each IC Appraiser, and the IC Appraiser Assignment Sheet is not all that necessary as a form!]

Once these forms are returned to the Scoreroom, "names" and assignments must be entered into the Program. See Add and Change Appraisers for specific instructions for this task. You may copy Appraisers from one Level to another if that's what's happening on that site. You may also copy the entire Challenge Level from one computer to another - but this should never be done if ANY Team scores are entered for that Challenge Level.

Identify the Instant Challenges to be Used

Another priority piece of information is the code identifying each Instant Challenge and connecting it to those challenges and levels to which it is assigned. For a regional tournament, this code will consist of the leter "r" and a one- or two-digit number, sometimes followed by a single letter -- such as r5 or r19e. (For the affiliate finals, the initial letter should be "a" instead of "r".) This code simply identifies for the Program the number and pattern of IC scores that will be entered. Choose Set Instant Challenge on the File menu on the Challenge and Level window to select this code. (If this code is not entered, the Program assumes that only one IC raw score will be entered - thus all IC score calculations must be done outside the Program before this one score is ready to be entered. You should confirm with your Tournament Director which procedure will be used in your Tournament.)

Identify the Instant Challenge Appraisers

If you are identifying the IC code for each Challenge and Level, you'll also need to enter the "name" for each IC Appraiser. As noted above, each IC Appraiser will score all elements of the Instant Challenge.

Last Minute Changes

You'll find there are two common types of "last minute changes" that you may be confronted with at the beginning of the Tournament Day - a Team that has dropped out at the last minute or one that points out that the Membership Number you have listed is NOT the one they were assigned when the Team registered. If you receive this information before you have copied the relevant Tournament Definition file from "Computer A" to "Computer B," then you can correct this info only once. Otherwise, you will need to make the change in EACH computer scoring that team's performance - make a typing error on one of the computers in this process and the Cross Checking will "find" it for you. (If you can't figure out a cross check error report, look for something different about the team info between the two computers.) It's likely that your Affiliate or Region will rule that you don't just delete the team that's a DROP or NO SHOW, but rather change that team's STATUS to reflect the change. (Change the Status to retain the previous number of teams to be applied to the Advancement Rules.) To change the Team Status, the Membership Number, or any other item of team information, highlight the team in any list (All Teams or a Challenge Level list), and select the Modify icon. Make your changes, and click the Modify button at the bottom to Save them. (Revert will Close without saving your changes.)

Turn ON the Backups and Cross-Checking

It's tempting to "save the disk space" that might be consumed by running the backups before you actually begin entering team scores (it's really a very small number of KB), so be sure that you turn on the backups if they're not already on! You do that - on EACH computer - by opening the Backups Preference and changing the "Minutes between backups" from zero to 5 or 10 or whatever you've chosen. That's the "switch" that turns Backups ON! Think of the number of minutes of work that you might have to reconstruct when choosing this number - that's why we recommend a setting of no more than 10 minutes. The size of these files should NOT be a problem for any reasonable-sized computers!

Cross-Checking is essentially "turned on" once you have defined the Cross-Check Directory on each Computer B, in Preferences under the Scoring icon.

At Last it's Time for Score Entry!

The first team performance has been over for about 30 minutes ... the packet of scoring forms has reached the Score Room ... the packet has been checked in ... only the scoring forms are in the hands of the operator of Computer A! That's what it's all about!

Backups are turned on ... the cross-checking path has been defined ... scores are entered by operators of both computers ... the Team Copy is printed ... and it's back in the hands of the Head Appraiser or Challenge Master, to be presented to the Team Manager ... preferably within less than an hour from the end of the Team's performance! And by the end of the day, we want you to be comfortably faster than that!

Printing the Results - One Challenge and Level at a Time

Once all the scores from both Team Challenge and Instant Challenge for a particular Challenge and Level are entered into both Computers A and B, you'll see that the TC Inc and IC Inc (= incomplete) values are displayed in the Tournament Summary Window as zero, and in that Challenge and Level team list window each of the TC Done and IC Done boxes are checked. Then select the Final Scores option from the Print menu for that Challenge and Level - usually this is done on Computer B - to print these Final Scores! You'll probably need several copies - depending on the Communications decisions you've made jointly with your Tournament Director - probably one copy for each Team competing in that Challenge and Level, plus several copies for various Tournament officials (Affiliate Director, Tournament Director, Awards Ceremony Emcee, Challenge Masters, etc.)

If you select the Final Scores option from the Print menu in the All Teams window, you'll probably get a warning message that certain Challenge Levels are not complete. This Report from the All Teams window will print Final Scores for ALL the Challenges and Levels in your Tournament. We encourage printing these reports one at a time and not waiting to print until ALL Challenges and Levels are completed!

Now you have the "computer" information needed for the Awards Ceremony! Any Special Awards - DaVinci Award for Outstanding Creativity; Renaissance Award for Outstanding Design, Engineering or Performance; Spirit of Discovery & Imagination Award for exceptional Teamwork, Volunteerism and Sportsmanship; and Torchbearer Award for extraordinary projectOUTREACH teams or individuals - normally do not involve any electronic entries into the DI Scoring Program. Nomination forms for these awards are normally routed to the Tournament Director for review and approval. Forms may need to be copied and distributed to various Tournament officials, including the Awards Ceremony Emcee.


Save the Results

The electronic record of your Tournament is all included in those "Your Tournament Name" folders on each of your Computer B machines. Your Tournament Director may want a copy of this folder or these folders saved onto a removable USB drive immediately after the scoring entries are completed. If the computers being used actually belong to your DI Region or Affiliate, they'll be available for reference after the tournament ends. If these computers belong to someone else - individuals or the host school, for example - you may need to save copies of your Backup directories in case questions arise later about some alleged error in the scoring process.

Clean Up and Pack Up the Equipment

If you have used a Green installation on borrowed computers, you may only need to remove the USB drives containing the DI Scoring Program and its data. If you need to "clean" the Regular installation from borrowed computers, you will generally need to first uninstall the DI Scoring Program using the tool you will find available from the icon installed on your desktop. After you use this "uninstaller," you will need to delete the DI Programs folder from the computer's root directory - as this uninstaller does not remove any data files the installer did not create - in other words, it does not remove your Tournament folder or any backup folders created while you were running the DI Scoring Program.

Restore the Room

As any guest should, please make certain that the Scoreroom is restored to its original order before you leave - tables and chairs back where they were, etc. If you have that capability, electronic photos taken before you start are an easy way to help remember what needs to be put back where. Please don't leave any paper containing scores or other team-identifiable information for others to find later - just plan to take all that with you and dispose of it as you would any other confidential info.

A Big Sigh of Relief!

Now heave a big sigh of relief, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and convince yourself that you'd love to do this again next year or for another Tournament somewhere else! After all, that's how we are able to grow the team of volunteers that makes DI possible for all those wonderful kids! They are, after all, the future of our world!

And a special thanks to you for volunteering!


Check the most recent version of this guide at: or the printable PDF version, formatted for portrait on 8.5" x 11" paper at:

Other Documents, Guides and Training slides are also available at