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Top-Down Advancement -- Why?

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  • #31
    Jblake47 - "Right now we are so gun shy that we don't even dare "re-test" at the BOR's. Why not? Do the kids know this stuff or not? If not, why are they advancing? "

    Imagine a college student in his second semester of his senior year. Before he can graduate, he has to be retested on every course he took the previous seven semesters. Would you pass? Do the grades he made in each of those classes mean nothing?

    Comment


    • perdidochas
      perdidochas commented
      Editing a comment
      When I was working on my master's degree in biology, I was tested on general biology (the prerequisites to get into the program), along with what I had learned while in the program. Yes, the grades meant something, however, the grades in those class should also be reflecting a knowledge of the subject area.

  • #32
    They already were tested and passed, that is what the signature in the book means. You wouldn't ask your sons to retake a final if you found out that they don't remember where Columbus landed in the new world, why require a Scout to retake a proficiency test at a board of review? He already was tested and he passed the test.

    If you think that the Scoutmaster isn't testing your Scouts correctly, then you need to bring that up with the Scoutmaster, it isn't the Scout's fault and you don't punish the Scout by retesting them.

    Comment


    • #33
      so this is where program comes in and it seems to be routinely ignored. We talk abour the horrors of an Eagle who can't tie a square knot like its his fault. He learns the knot and then its the duty of the unit's program to give him oppturnities to tie knots and teach and use them

      Way back when I earned Eagle, First Class had a requirement to learn either semaphore or morse code. I learned it, passed the requirement and moved on. I can tie any of the knots you need for first class, morse code? Not so much, although I can do SOS if pressed

      If you dont use it, you lose it

      Comment


      • #34
        We talk abour the horrors of an Eagle who can't tie a square knot like its his fault. He learns the knot and then its the duty of the unit's program to give him oppturnities to tie knots and teach and use them

        No, you misunderstand. We talk about the horrors of a program that encourages everyone to sign off on every step with the least possible level of skill demonstrated by the Scout. It is exactly this sort of sub-par program that leads to Eagle Scouts who can't tie a square knot, and we're not blaming the Scout, we're blaming the program encouraged by National and the "don't add to the requirements" crowd.

        If the level of skill required to get the signature is one and done, then the "lose it" happens far, far more quickly than if the Scout had to meet a higher standard. Perhaps even before the end of the meeting. Since the Scouts themselves need to be driving the Program, how likely is it they will include knot tying in the program if the adults setting the tone trivialize the skill in the first place? OTOH, if the adults make it clear they respect the skill by expecting some degree of mastery from the Scouts they are mentoring, then you've got a better chance the Scouts themselves will want to include it in their program.

        Comment


        • #35
          I'm still not buying high standards equal punishment. Regardless......

          Here's my disconnect:

          I understand the policy. I know that once a requirement is tested and signed off that is supposed to be it. We're not to question it; we're not to retest; we're not to go back.

          But why? What is the educational or programmatic philosophy which makes that a good approach? Are we saying that Scouts don't need to know first aid for a simple cut after completing Tenderfoot? What is the purpose of the requiring Scouts to learn various skills and information if there is no intent that they retain it?

          In fairness, I can see that as an acceptable approach for many of the elective/hobby/vocational merit badges. There purpose for many of them is simple exposure. Gave basketry a try, made two baskets, found it to be the most boring, useless hobby imaginable and will never touch it again. NEXT! Fair enough.

          Many of the skills Scouts learn are important life skill -- first aid and emergency prep; cooking and safe food handling; personal management even family life. Why is it so terrible to ask our Scouts to really commit these skills to their core knowledge base?

          Please don't tell me we don't retest because the book says don't retest. I want to know WHY the book says don't retest. 'Cause I sincerely don't get a philosophy which says work hard to learn all this stuff but you can forget it all as soon as your handbook is signed.

          Oh, by the way. I have cousin who is a senior at The University of the South (Sewanee). Much of this semester he is taking senior exit exams during which he is responsible for all the material in every course he has take while in school there. I'm wondering if that level of rigor is part of what makes Sewanee so prestigious?

          Comment


          • #36
            If you think that the Scoutmaster isn't testing your Scouts correctly, then you need to bring that up with the Scoutmaster, it isn't the Scout's fault and you don't punish the Scout by retesting them.

            This mindset is a by-product of advancement mills. I have to say it hurts our scouts and Scouting in the long run.

            I tell my scouts and students that THEY are responsible for learning and knowing the material. Have a question, ask. Have a bad merit badge counselor/teacher, find a better one. Don't understand the book, try another or an app or youtube video on the subject. LEARN! You take your own tests and you are RESPONSIBLE for learning the material. PRACTICE!

            If you dont use it, you lose it. And if you lost it, it costs you and others... on exams, SAT's, scholarships,...emergencies or do Scouts not do emergencies because they are retests? If you grandmother falls down some steps and needs help, the scout that comes to her aid should he know first aid or is having known it once good enough for you and Gramma? What kind of scout does your Gramma deserve? What kind of scout do you want to be?

            Be prepared.

            My $0.02,(This message has been edited by RememberSchiff)

            Comment


            • perdidochas
              perdidochas commented
              Editing a comment
              It's not retesting, it's enabling (last part of EDGE). I agree that scouts shouldn't lose their ranks if they fail at basic Scout skills. However, that said, I think that is reteaching time for the Scout leaders/Troop instructors.

            • RememberSchiff
              RememberSchiff commented
              Editing a comment
              When my post was transferred during the software upgrade, the italics were lost. The first sentence is a quote from someone else.
              "If you think that the Scoutmaster isn't testing your Scouts correctly, then you need to bring that up with the Scoutmaster, it isn't the Scout's fault and you don't punish the Scout by retesting them."
              I don't agree with this as I stated.

          • #37
            No, I don't understand

            At least I don't understand a scout not knowing his knots because of something National does

            If he has an opportunity to use the skills, then he will

            Comment


            • #38
              AIEEEEE!!! Holdin' kids to expectations is not "punishment". Not giving kids awards is not "punishment". Da entitlement mentality in Scoutin' and da U.S. will be the death of us.

              Imagine a college student in his second semester of his senior year. Before he can graduate, he has to be retested on every course he took the previous seven semesters. Would you pass?

              Well, I reckon some of us had to take da Bar Exam, testin' us on all da courses of all three years of law school. I reckon other folks here had to take medical board exams, eh? Other folks who have gone through business school will tell yeh that many have a "capstone" course or experience that requires yeh to use all da knowledge from all your courses. Anybody who has done graduate work will probably tell yeh they had to pass oral and written qualifyin' exams, testing 'em on all da material in all their courses.

              So I'd say da answer is ABSOLUTELY YES. If yeh really learned da material, of course you can pass a comprehensive exam. Just like if yeh really learned how to ride a bike, of course yeh can still ride a bike.

              You wouldn't ask your sons to retake a final if you found out that they don't remember where Columbus landed in the new world, why require a Scout to retake a proficiency test at a board of review? He already was tested and he passed the test.

              Well, first off, I reckon every kid in high school and most kids in middle school will tell yeh that after they were already tested and passed da test, they still had to pass a final exam some significant time later in order to get credit for da course. Just passing an individual test is not enough.

              Da kids all get this. For them it's normal and makes perfect sense, and any lad who has really learned a skill is more than happy to demonstrate it over and over again. Just ask him to do an ollie on his skateboard, eh? If he's proficient, the lad will be happy to do it over and over again whenever you'd like.

              It just astounds me when da adults don't get it. I think it's because da adults really aren't proficient in their skills. Makin' excuses for the boys is really just a way of makin' excuses for their own lack of proficiency.

              But yah, sure, if any of my children weren't able to do somethin' that I thought they should know how to do, you bet I sent 'em back to work on it some more! What parent wouldn't?

              Beavah

              Comment


              • #39
                At least I don't understand a scout not knowing his knots because of something National does

                BECAUSE NATIONAL TELLS THE UNIT LEADERS NOT TO BE VERY STRICT ABOUT TESTING THE SKILLS!

                I'm shouting in case maybe the loud voice will get through the wall of denial that seems to exist around this point. Not every unit has a SM with twenty years of old-school scouting under his belt. Not every unit has a commissioner who can steer them towards a good program. A lot of units have a handful of well-intentioned volunteers who were never Scouts as a youth, and who's only understanding of the program will be what they pick up from National's published materials and training courses.

                When those materials set a "one and done" standard for skills, when the IOLS course re-inforces that standard by using to to sign off the adults as "trained" by virtue of walking from station to station watching knots get tied and fires sort of built, when every guidance from Texas says don't ever retest, always err on the side of handing out the candy...

                Well, what sort of program do you think those units are going to run?

                And then to compound it, the poorly run units that end up as advancement mills because that's what National teaches them to be start creating problems for the traditional units because parents start complaining the traditional unit is "abusive" and the SM there is on some sort of power trip. And the folks at National echo and validate those accusations.

                Comment


                • #40

                  "I think it's because da adults really aren't proficient in their skills. Makin' excuses for the boys is really just a way of makin' excuses for their own lack of proficiency."

                  Anti-proficiency advocates usually reference the "aims & methods of Scouting;" the mission statement; and/or the slogan "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle."

                  Presumably all written by the same committee that invents our most cherished fake Baden-Powell quotes

                  Yours at 300 feet,

                  Kudu
                  http://kudu.net

                  Comment


                  • #41
                    Forgive me if I'm in error here:

                    I think that it's possible to follow Nationals decrees but still expect and train a high level of ability from the Scouts. While doing it once and getting it signed off may be what National wants, (and for all the Leaders in favor of testing, a Scout can easily relearn for their Scoutmaster conference and BOH and then forget the skill again). A Scout will easily unlearn what he has no need to remember. It's like Biology class. I don't remember all the algebraic formulas from Biology class because I haven't used it since my Junior Year of High School.

                    I think if we guide the PLC into designing a program that allows them to use the skills, and as leaders stress the importance and utility of these skills, our Scouts will retain them far better than they will because they might get "retested". If we run a Troop with a program that allows them to get away with having no proficiency at a skill, and doesn't force them to confront their lack of knowledge or weakness in a skill set, then they will never improve that skill set. If a troop has tents that have those silly plastic sliders for the tent stakes, a Scout will not practice a taut line hitch, and will soon unlearn it. Teenagers don't practice things that they feel has no value to them. We need to make these skills have value.

                    Rather than railing against National, I'd let the Boys meet the one and done b.s that National allows, and then push them for higher standards. Sure some of the High Speed, Mommy-is-making-me-get-Eagle-before-I-get-my-drivers-license kids will take advantage of the National One and Done lowest denominator garbage, but that is National's problem.

                    Yours in Scouting,
                    Sentinel947

                    Comment


                    • #42
                      > While doing it once and getting it signed off may be what National wants,

                      Just curious, where in any advancement literature from national does it say that?

                      Comment


                      • #43
                        You can shour all you want, if you end up with an Eagle that can't tie knots, its a program thing

                        Comment


                        • #44
                          > While doing it once and getting it signed off may be what National wants,

                          Just curious, where in any advancement literature from national does it say that?

                          Many folks on this forum construe the whole "don't retest" stuff as National encouraging One and Done. To my defense I also said "may" which means I don't know for sure if that's what National wants or not.

                          Yours in Scouting,
                          Sentinel947

                          Comment


                          • #45
                            This thread was spun from another thread..
                            Jblake47 - "Right now we are so gun shy that we don't even dare "re-test" at the BOR's. Why not? Do the kids know this stuff or not? If not, why are they advancing? "

                            Imagine a college student in his second semester of his senior year. Before he can graduate, he has to be retested on every course he took the previous seven semesters. Would you pass? Do the grades he made in each of those classes mean nothing?

                            The school doesn't need to retest. His employer who hires him will retest him every day from that point on. If he can't perform as was expected from the graduation expectations, he will be fired.

                            I don't have an Eagle pin to wear on my shirt, but I'll take on any Eagle scout, skill for skill and I'll at least hold my own, if not blow him out of the water. The Eagle pin is supposed to indicate a certain level of accomplishment. If reality doesn't match, people will soon find out and make appropriate judgments.

                            Yet since 1911 the requirements for advancement have changed so much one would hardly recognize them, or even allow them in today's world.

                            Stosh

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