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JTE Problems

I generally feel that JTE is well thought out but there’s two requirements which have bad math problems and are part of a problem which allows a weak unit to earn gold.

Look at the math on Pack JTE #5. Number who advanced in the year divided by number registered at the end of the calendar year.

Let’s say my pack on Jan 1, 2019 had 30 kids. 20 of them earn their advancement. We’re on track for Silver on item 5. Not bad but not great

5 age off to Scouts BSA.

I have a good recruitment in fall with 12 kids joining and 8 earning bobcat. So the pack grew to 37 kids. For whatever reason 8 of them quit before the end of the year. Not good. So of my 28 kids 42 advanced. Still Silver based on that.

But wait, that’s not the actual math we use for the item. The real number is 28 of 37 (75%) because last years 5th graders aren’t counted for one side of the equation but they are for the other. They aren’t registered with the pack at the end of the year. We earned Gold because it’s total number of cubscouts who advanced in the calendar year divided by most of the cub scouts who were members in the calendar year. The equation is unbalanced.

If we had a family with two kids move and change packs, transferring their membership in August it becomes 28/35 (80%). We should be subtracting kids who leave the pack, not counting their advancement or counting all kids who were members in the calendar year. The numbers skew upwards the less kids you have on the paperwork at the end of the year. It would be possible to earn more than 100% advancement by having a lot of 5th graders one year.

Look at Pack JTE #3 for the second problem. If you have a lot of kids aging off and aren’t gaining new kids you can score high when your pack is near collapse.

The math for retention is the number who renew for 2020 divided by [the number at the end of 2019 minus age offs during 2019]

Let’s do the math with a unit in decline.

Let’s say the unit doesn’t recruit or retain well for several years. each group is smaller than the one before. The pack has 20 kids in 2019 and 12 are 5th graders and two younger members quit. the pack gains 2 new Scouts and renews with 6 kids total. They barely recharter by all parents and some grandparents being registered. It’s clear this won’t be the case for 2021 as two more kids stay just long enough to earn arrow of light.

The math is 6/(20-12) or 6/8. That’s 75% or Gold.

This unit earned Gold one year for retention and doesn’t exist 12 months later. I can come up with a way to get 1500 points in 11 categories for this unit for 2019

The actual math for #3 should be registered for 2020 / (registered at the beginning of 2019 + new members gained in 2019)
For 6 divided by 22

JTE is designed as metrics to evaluate 11 objectives in 5 areas for a pack. Each objective adds to the picture of the health of the unit. Some metrics may skew in a year, but the overall view of the health of the unit is cummulative over all 11 objectives.

Forthese two objectives, are you suggesting changing the formula (the equation) or changing the bar for bronze, silver, and gold?

#5 Advancement: Achieve a high percentage of Cub Scouts earning rank advancements.
…Bronze - 50% of Cub Scouts advance one rank during the year.
…Silver - 60% of Cub Scouts advance one rank during the year.
…Gold - 75% of Cub Scouts advance one rank during the year.
Calculation: Total number of Cub Scouts advancing at least one rank (Bobcat, Lion, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, Arrow of Light) during the calendar year (A), divided by the number of youth registered at the end of the year (B). Advancement = (A) / (B). The pack is encouraged to use Scoutbook to track each individual’s advancements.

Because scouts that transfer out of the unit may earn a rank before they leave, units are able to achieve more than 100%. However, counting scouts that transfer out would lower the % if the scout earned their rank before the current year or finished their rank in their new unit. I think the formula gets too complicated, but would be more accurate, if you count all scouts who were members anytime in the current year and exclude AoL scouts that earned their rank before the current year. Then you would be counting all scouts that could possibly have earned a rank. But raising the percentages to 60%, 70%, and 85% might be an easier solution.

#3 Retention: Retain a significant percentage of youth members.
…Bronze - Reregister 60% of eligible members.
…Silver - Reregister 65% of eligible members.
…Gold - Reregister 75% of eligible members
Calculation: Number of youth members on the most recent charter renewal (A) divided by the number of youth registered at the end of the prior charter year (B) minus any age-outs ©. Total = (A) / (B-C). Age-outs are youth who are too old to reregister as Cub Scouts. If the pack has a December charter, use the one expiring on December 31, 2018; otherwise use the one expiring during 2019.

The only difference between the calculation for #2, grow your unit, and #3, retention of eligible youth, is the removal of ineligible youth from the calculation. Would raising the standard by 5 to 65%, 70%, & 80% make this a more accurate measure of unit health?

In response to " We’re on track for Silver on item 5. Not bad but not great".

Bronze is “effective”, Silver is “excellent” and Gold is “exceptional”

Here is part of the official BSA statement that I recently updated for BSA national and my district (by adding districts and units to the original):

Tri-level recognition program

The philosophy from the start of JTE has been to set up a system where 10 percent of the councils, districts and units will achieve gold status, the next 40 percent will achieve silver status, and the next 30 percent will achieve bronze status

  • Bronze – Effective = 20th percentile to the 49th percentile
  • Silver – Excellent = 50th percentile to the 89th percentile
  • Gold – Exceptional = top 10 percent­­­­­­!

Editor’s note: The JTE model allows for 19% of groups at each organizational level to not receive any JTE recognition.

How are JTE benchmarks set?

Each year, a group of volunteers and professionals get together from across the country to look at the actual data from the past three years in every criterion. As achievement improves, the benchmark will get more challenging. If achievement has slipped, the benchmark will move down to match the achievement. In this way, as councils, districts and units improve each year, they will be challenged to improve even more. Being realistic, if performance slips, the benchmark will be reduced to match the trend.

Learn more about JTE (current scorecards, resources, etc.)

JTE web site: https://www.scouting.org/jte/

For JTE #5, I don’t figure out our pack’s percentage the way they describe. If you look at the JTE Excel workheet that can be downloaded, the denominator is the number of Scouts you are including on your charter renewal. It is a formula that carries from the retention calculation in JTE #3. So, for the numerator which must be entered on the worksheet, I count only the number of THOSE Scouts who advanced. That means we get no credit for Scouts who earn the Arrow of Light and move on to Scouts BSA, because they are not rechartering with us. I do that, because, as you said, the equation would be unbalanced otherwise. I also do not count Scouts who earn Bobcat and disappear. I never considered doing it the way you describe.

For JTE #3, I only include the number of eligible Scouts at the beginning of the year who are included in the recharter. If they intended for all Scouts in the recharter to be in the numerator, there would be a formula that carries the calculated result from JTE #2 right into the numerator. However, the worksheet requires you to input a number there. So, I don’t think they mean that the total youth on the recharter should be included in the calculation. It should only be those who were there at the start of the year and are eligible to continue. So, if you had 20 Scouts at the start of the year, 12 moved on the Scouts BSA, and four dropped out, your fraction would be 4/8. You cannot improve your retention percentage by recruiting.

Peter

“The only difference between the calculation for #2, grow your unit, and #3, retention of eligible youth, is the removal of ineligible youth from the calculation. Would raising the standard by 5 to 65%, 70%, & 80% make this a more accurate measure of unit health?”

No, because the JTE award is a UNIT level award and that doesn’t maintain the unit. The percents don’t line up with what’s mentioned.

This is keeping 65% year by year
100 to 66 to 44 to 30 to 20 to 13.
If 50% of all packs are shrinking that fast the program will die.

70%
100 to 70 to 49 to 35 to 25 to 18

80%
100 to 80 to 64 to 52 to 42 to 33
An exceptional program doesn’t shrink that much while a family is in the program.

We are rewarding failure with awards when units shrink. How is that the goal? It should be something that’s hard to get and if you don’t earn it one year you work harder the next year.

New #3
Bronze- Register Scouts equal to the previous year. So you can replace quitting kids with new kids
Silver- Reregister 80% of members new to Scouting in the calendar year and 80% of eligible Scouts in the unit at the beginning of the year. If you recruit only from Kindergarten, basically keep most new kids and most existing, the unit will grow when coupled with higher recruitment numbers.
Gold- 90% of both groups

Recruitment #2 is even worse.
For the sake of the math, 1/6 of a unit of 102 is 17 kids in each age and for easier math we will use 17 per age. The pack meets Gold by recruiting 10% new each year

Losing 17 and recruiting 10% has this unit shrinking every year
102 to 95 to 86 to 76 to 67 to 56 to 44 to 35 to 31 to 27 to 24. How is that exceptional?
The shrinking slows down because in year 7 dens shrink. You have dens of 9,8,7,6 and so on whereas a few years before the average was 17. (this assumes you keep every Scout)

20% is maintenance for most packs.

New #2
Bronze- hold a recruitment session and register new Scouts equal to at least 20% of the existing membership or 3 kids, whichever is greater.
Silver- hold a recruitment session and increase members by 25% of the current pack size or 5 members, whichever is greater
Gold- 33% or 8 kids, whichever is greater

Real world all my numbers is still going to see units shrink but the numbers don’t have double digit shrinking and a unit has more time to reverse a decline. If a unit can drop 1/3 in a year from attrition that’s harder to recover from. That shouldn’t be the best standard we expect half of all units to meet, regardless.

Current standard #2:
…Bronze - have a recruiting event before Oct 31 and register new scouts
…Silver - Do Bronze and have 5% more scouts than last year or at least 40 scouts
…Gold - Do Bronze and have 10% more scouts than last year or at least 60 scouts
The metric is total scouts, not recruiting a % of the pack. If you have 100 scouts, you could drop to 60 and still achieve Gold, but only for one year.

Bronze seems to mean you are trying and did manage to recruit at least 1 scout. You may still be shrinking. Silver shows some growth or be a medium sized pack. Gold is show good growth or be a large pack.

Current standard #3:
…Bronze - Reregister 60% of eligible members.
…Silver - Reregister 65% of eligible members.
…Gold - Reregister 75% of eligible members
Calculation: Number of youth members on the most recent charter renewal (A) divided by the number of youth registered at the end of the prior charter year (B) minus any age-outs ©. Total = (A) / (B-C). Age-outs are youth who are too old to reregister as Cub Scouts. If the pack has a December charter, use the one expiring on December 31, 2018; otherwise use the one expiring during 2019

Peter @PeterHopkins I like your modification to the formula. Make “A” the total youth who were on the unit roster one year ago and on the recharter this year. This excludes scouts who joined midyear and transfers. These scouts are continuing their registration with this unit, but have not been there a full year to “re-register.”

Then the question becomes what is typical attrition every year, and what shows the scouts are voting with their feet? I think Gold at 75% is too low for most units; 80% seems better.

Just a comment about a Gold unit being in the top 10% - all the packs in our district achieved Gold last year. I think something is amiss - either the standards are too easy or the calculations are being done wrong.

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Background. The following is based on older JTE documents:

Tri-level recognition program

The philosophy from the start of JTE has been to set up a system where 10 percent of the councils, districts and units will achieve gold status, the next 40 percent will achieve silver status, and the next 30 percent will achieve bronze status:

  • Bronze – Effective = 20th percentile to the 49th percentile
  • Silver – Excellent = 50th percentile to the 89th percentile
  • Gold – Exceptional = top 10 percent­­­­­­

How are JTE benchmarks set?

Each year, a group of volunteers and professionals get together from across the country to look at the actual data from the past three years in every criterion. As achievement improves, the benchmark will get more challenging. If achievement has slipped, the benchmark will move down to match the achievement. In this way, as councils. districts and units improve each year, they will be challenged to improve even more. Being realistic, if performance slips, the benchmark will be reduced to match the trend.

  1. For the 2019 pack JTE scorecard:

#2 Building Cub Scouting. is based on the calendar year.
#3 Retention is based on the charter year.

These can be different.

The performance benchmarks are based on nation-wide pack registration numbers.

  1. For objective #2, the pack can achieve bronze and not silver or gold. The numbers and percentages apply to silver and gold.

@Bill_W Do you know what percentage of units actually hit gold, silver, and bronze the last few years?

2019-05-24: In reply to:

  1. No. In the online JTE tool that information is only made available (if entered by the council) at the district level (for the unit JTE scorecards submitted.) There is no detail for the membership objectives unit performance.
  • At the council level we see the percentage of districts improving and the district JTE award level.

  • I do see variations between districts. In the case of my district, the percentage of units achieving bronze or about was about 64% (silver for the district). The district with the lowest percentage is about 36%. (Our Scoutreach non-geographical program district does not participate in JTE and is at 0%.)

  • It should be noted that the JTE model allows for 19% not to receive any JTE award level (.or “no status”.)

  1. It has been years since I participated in the annual review process. We spent most of our effort on reviewing and rejecting requests for new objectives to be added. If you are interested in practicing in the annual review process, A council can nominate you to the BSA SPO

2019-05-25: Try sending your request to JTE@Scouting.org.

It could just be me, but I feel like the best advice here is “don’t sweat the small stuff”. JTE is an award, but also a guide to help leaders understand how well their unit is doing relative to the “ideal” unit envisioned by the BSA, that almost no use can match due to the local situation on the ground. The point of JTE isn’t the score at the bottom, but to evaluate what is going well, and where the unit might be able to improve.

There are 2000 points on the scorecard, and you only need a little more than 1/2 of them to be a gold unit. You can fall flat in 3 whole categories and still earn gold. When the math doesn’t work in my favor, I shrug it off, and commit to doing better in other areas that I can control. I also reflect that while I might have only gotten silver or bronze (nothing to be ashamed of) I know that we did out best and helped every scout we could get across the finish-line (math be dammed).

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Thank you Arthur. I liked your reply. Here is the related introductory part of the official verbiage from the older BSA statements I merged for my council and the BSA national strategic planning office. It has been recently reviewed and approved by that BSA office. The only significant changes in the statement are the addition of “districts and units” to “councils”.

What is Journey to Excellence ? ­­­­

Scouting’s Journey to Excellence (JTE) is a planning, performance, and recognition program for councils, districts and units. It is:

  • A method for RECOGNITION,
  • A framework for PLANNING, and
  • A source of GUIDANCE

The JTE program was launched 1 January 2011 and replaced the Centennial Quality Unit recognition program.

What is its goal?

Its goal is to align unit, district, and council performance to maximize results in key performance areas that are directly related to producing a successful, growing, and sustainable Scouting program (such as membership retention, financial strength, camping, and advancement).

What is its purpose?

  • Provides the template for planning an effective program.
  • Encourage and reward success in districts, councils, and units.
  • Measure performance versus process.
  • Achieve Scouting’s mission of serving more youth with a higher-quality program.

What is it based on?

The standards are based on the Kaplan and Norton balanced scorecard, which was selected in 1997 by the Harvard Business Review as one of the “most important management practices of the past 75 years.”

CHANGE SUBMISSIONS AND QUESTIONS

(email address verified 5/25/2019)

There are many answers and tips in the JTE guidebooks and other help at the JTE web site: https://www.scouting.org/jte. If you cannot find an answer there try asking here before emailing the national JTE mailbox…

Recommendations for changes or questions may be sent to JTE@Scouting.org. All recommendations are reviewed and considered by the volunteer committee. - per Jeff R., Performance Manager, BSA