Each judge is only allowed to comment and score the band within their assigned caption. There are two music judges, one percussion judge, two general effect judges, one visual performance judge, and one visual effect judge. Credit is given for things done well by the band and deductions are made for errors or mistakes. Each judge works independently of the others and judges may not discuss or compare ratings until after all scores have been entered. The raw score of the points within each caption determines the rating that the judge gives to the band. For instance, in General Effect a score of 80-100 is a (I), 70-79.99 is a (II), etc. Each caption has it's own point values that determines what rating a band gets.
The minimum ratings bands can get to qualify for State Finals is four I's and three II's from the combination of the seven judges. By adding up the total ratings from the seven judges (I+I+I+I+II+II+II), the sum of the ratings needs to equal 10 or less to get an overall Superior rating and qualify for State Finals. Straight I's would give the band a sum of 7 and qualify the band for State. Ratings of I, I, I, I, II, II, III would total 11 and would not be a qualifying score.
The only time that TOTAL POINTS are considered is for placement trophies at the awards ceremony. Since the ratings determine whether a band qualifies for State Finals and the points determine placement, it is possible for a band to not place high enough to receive a trophy but still qualify for State Finals with an overall Superior rating. It is also possible for a band to place 1st in its class through total points but NOT qualify for State Finals with high enough ratings.
Bands compete in Classes C, B, A, and AA. Classification for MARCHING BAND (not concert band or choir) is determined by school size and not band size. The official enrollment figures for grades 10-12 that are sent to the State of Ohio are used in determining what class a marching band competes in for the fall season. Schools with grades 10-12 enrollment of 0-300 are in Class C, enrollment of 301-500 are in Class B, enrollment of 501-900 are in Class A and schools with enrollment of 900 or higher in grades 10-12 are in Class AA. Big Walnut competes in Class A with an enrollment of approximately 725 students in grades 10-12.
Color Guards are scored by two judges but their ratings or scores do not figure into the total points or the ratings used to determine whether a band qualifies for State Finals. The performance of the Color Guard has a huge and direct impact on the General Effect scoring and ratings. They are also judged on their marching skills and drill by the visual judges. The only time the Color Guard judges scores are used is in determining which Color Guard wins the Class.