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Fine Arts Judges

The Minnesota State High School League offers five fine arts activities: Debate, One Act Play, Speech, Visual Arts and Music. More than 80,000 Minnesota high school students participate in MSHSL fine arts activities annually. National research tells us that fine arts participation leads to a well-rounded education that leads students to higher performance in math, reading and writing, and positive social and emotional development. MSHSL fine arts activities are offered in competitive and festival formats.

In order to provide students opportunities in the fine arts, the MSHSL needs registered judges annually, and offers registration to judges in Debate, One Act Play, Speech, Visual Arts and Music. Judges do more than just pick a champion; they provide useful feedback that assists students in the educational process that the fine arts provide.

Who can judge?

While many registered judges have a background participating in the activity, any interested individual with teaching or judging experience is encouraged to join the ranks of Minnesota’s fine arts judges. A judge should possess a personality that can effectively give constructive criticism while also offering encouragement to the contestants.


Fine Art Judge Registration and Eligibility Information 2023-2024


MSHSL Fine Arts Judging Registration continues to be on the Arbiter system:

  • Registration for the 2023-2024 school year will open in mid-September.
  • If you registered as a judge during 2021-2022 or 2022-2023, log into the Arbiter account you created.  
  • If you are a new judge, create an Arbiter account, pay, and consent to a background check. (See Video 1 & registration link below) 
  • If you are a returning judge who did NOT register in 2021-2022, create an Arbiter account here, pay, and consent to a background check. (See Video 1 & link below). Your accounts from Fine Arts Registrations prior to 2021-2022 have not been imported and you will create a new account. This Arbiter account will be used going forward. 

There are two parts to the registration and eligibility process: 

  1. Register for each Fine Arts Activity you'd like to judge. In this step, you will also be asked about your competencies and experiences within the activity. (See Video 2 below) 

  1. Complete the required eligibility pieces for each activity. (See Video 2 below) 

Required eligibility items for MSHSL Fine Arts Activities that you'll do in Step 2: 

  • Speech-complete the exam. The passing score is 80% and you will have 2 attempts. 
  • One Act Play-complete the exam. The passing score is 80% and you will have 2 attempts.  One Act Play rules module is optional, yet recommended.
    • Clinic attendance is required for speech and one act play.  See this list for clinic opportunities.
  • Music-complete the NFHS Music Adjudication course.  Available here.  Order (free) and complete the course.  Submit your certificate of completion to [email protected] 
  • Debate-no required eligibility items for 2023-2024. 
  • Visual Arts-no required eligibility items for 2023-2024. 


Additional Information:  

The annual registration fee is $15. The registration system will accept Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. 

Judges who have registered and completed required eligibility will be on a list available to activities directors, fine arts coaches and advisors, and section and state tournament personnel. 

When asked for your address, please use your home address. 

Registration is being hosted through ArbiterSports. ArbiterSports is the MSHSL management platform for MSHSL Sports Officials. At this time, you will experience some "sports-related" terminology and graphics. 


Tech Tips: 

The best browsers to use for ArbiterSports are Firefox, Google Chrome, or Microsoft Edge. If you receive an Oops message it is often the browser that is not working to load the page. 

Make sure you do not have pop-ups blocked. 

If any of the pages still do not load, you may need to clear your cache and/or cookies (Mac Users - Windows Users - 

Click on the Next button towards the upper right of the screen to move to the next page. 


Support and Questions: 

If you have questions about the Arbiter site, please contact them at: [email protected] or 800-311-4060. It is best to request a callback instead of waiting on hold. 

If it is MSHSL process-related, please email [email protected] for assistance.