Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: ASM father signing off on rank advancement?
Re: ASM father signing off on rank advancement?
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 17:26:48 -0400
> In a message dated 6/10/99 1:47:00 PM, ajmako@NLS.NET writes:
> <<A Scout need not be proficient in a
> skill to complete the requirements, but he must do his best. If you
> require proficiency for one skill, you have to require proficiency
> all the other skills as well. That's a very difficult thing to do.>>
> Oh my, Tony, do you really mean this?
> I tried my best to swim 50 feet. I only made ten, but it was my
> my book.
There's a difference between doing your best to complete a requirement
and being proficient at a skill! You don't have to be a proficient
swimmer to swim 50 feet. You do have to have some skill, but you don't
have to be proficient.
According to Webster's: Proficient - "One who has made considerable
advances in any business, art, science, or branch of learning; an
expert; an adept; as, proficient in a trade; a proficient in
mathematics, music, etc." or "Well advanced in any branch of knowledge
or skill; possessed of considerable acquirements; well-skilled;
To accomplish the task of swimming 50 feet, or cooking a meal, etc.
the Scout doesn't have to have advanced knowledge or skill in swimming
> I would be very interested to learn if there is a reference stating
> objective level of proficiency is not the appropriate standard but
> your best." Rather, I strongly believe that there IS an objective
> performance which is required. If a Scout tries his sincere best
> not meet that objective level, it is our duty and responsibility to
> to improve his capability so that he will be able to meet the
> level. But personally, I have great trouble with "do your best"
Half of what you say is true. The standard is completing the task
called for in the requirement. You're right that signing a Scout's
book if he could only hike five miles instead of the required ten
doesn't help the Scout. He's completed the requirement as soon as he's
hiked all ten miles regardless of the number of breaks he takes or
his level of skill. Requiring a Scout to be proficient at a skill in
order to pass the requirement is like putting a time limit on the ten
mile hike - "you're not proficient at hiking unless you can hike ten
miles in two hours with one five minute break." The requirement
doesn't say "hike ten miles in two hours with one five minute breaks."
It says "hike ten miles."
> This is even true, as I understand it, for boys with disabilities.
> your best" were the standard, then there would be no need for
> requirements. The disabled youth would simply do his best and
> objective performance, be passed. Rather, I believe if his best
> meet the objective standard and the judgement is made that he is
> meet the objective standard regardless of how hard he tries and
> himself, he is allowed to substitute a requirement that he can meet,
> is suggested that substitute requirement be equal in difficult
> means) to the requirement being subsituted.
You're confusing being proficient with being able to meet a standard.
I'm not saying a Scout should be passed on a requirement if his best
is less than what the requirement asks for. I'm saying he doesn't have
to be a champion swimmer, gourmet chef, or world-class athlete to
complete the requirement. Proficiency means advanced skill. In fact,
he doesn't even have to be good at the particular skill. If he does
his best, AND it accomplished the task, that's all that's required.
> Tony, I hope I am not flaming you, but I regard this as an extremely
> important matter of interpretation and one highly deserving of
Yes, I should have been more clear. And no, you're not flaming me. The
word "proficient" has taken on some rather odd meanings lately with
all the talk about "proficiency tests" in schools and such. Those
tests, BTW, are mis-named since they're all about making sure a
student competent, rather than being actually well-skilled in the
subjects. My view is, if the Scout has accomplished the task he's
completed the requirement regardless of how pretty it looked while he
was doing it. If his best isn't quite good enough to complete the
task, I challenge him to get better. The only Scouts I require
advanced skill or knowledge of are those who are already that good at
A. J. Mako, email@example.com , Scoutmaster Troop 381
Home of the Unofficial Win95 Boy Scout Desktop Theme,
Old Portage District, Great Trail Council, BSA
"I used to be an Eagle (C-7-97), but I'll always be an Eagle (1981)"