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14865IOLS "Test Out"

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  • The Rooneys
    Apr 6, 2014
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      Art asked... >> What is your criteria for a “test out” and how does that get recorded?

      The guidance from the National Training Team is that a District Training Chair may on his or her authority validate a Scouter's skills and grant IOLS course credit. Under that authority (and based in part on a program from the Boston Minuteman Council) the Denver Area Council (through the Pioneer Trails District) developed the Outdoor Skills Challenge. Key features include:
      • Eligibility:  "Experienced" scout leaders only (see below). We don't want this to be the easy way to book learn and "test out". I have declined to accept a candidate in the past (a new scout leader w/ no prior Scouting experience, but with extensive hunting experience) who lacked understanding of the Scouting program.

      • Staffing:  A unique element of our program is that course is staffed entirely by youth - Scouts of Star rank or above (or Venturers w/ NYLT). The SPL is almost always an experienced Eagle scout (OA member and usually a NYLT staff member). I try to recruit a new ASM (freshly turned 19 -22) so as to use this an a training experience for him/her. The ASM and I ensure the event is conducted properly and adult appeals on a score come to me.

      • Criteria:  My training team and I went through the IOLS curricula, and cross-referenced the taught material back to either/both the Boy Scout Handbook (in every case) and sometimes even to the Boy Scout Fieldbook. Since this course is designed to principally teach and supervise the teaching of T-2-1 skills we placed considerable focus on these skills.

      • Test Methodology:  Round-robin, station-based. All program elements were distilled to a TASK (what skill is being examined), CONDITION (with what materials and place/setting) and STANDARD (in how much time or to what level of success must the candidate perform). The idea was to create as objective a test as possible and to eliminate to best an extent as possible any subjectiveness or softening of the standard.  An unintended but positive consequence is that this made the testing of the adults by the Scouts easy for them to administer and measure. No training is conducted by the youth to ensure the adults know the skills. (Pass/Fail only.)
      We have now held four of these programs (generally only once a year, just before recharter). We've developed program materials (pre-event checklists, staff development steps, required materials and station setup guidelines, I have little trouble recruiting youth (they get a huge kick out of testing adults for a change). We have found that the program (starting at 8am) generally finished by 12:30-1pm. 

      Candidates "hit the books" and generally prepare well in advance. Feedback from the adults has been 100% positive (we do anonymous web-based training surveys) and run along the lines of, "Wow, I never knew how much the boys had to learn!". They are also very positive about the quality of their examiners.  A IOLS course roster is sent into Council. I also verify within a week that the course credit has been granted to the successful participants.

      What are we working on to improve?  We want to add a planning and risk management element. But we're debating the best way to "test" this element. (Maybe an online education element? Who knows?)

      Program details include:
      • Who is eligible to attend the Outdoor Skills Challenge?

        • Scout Leaders with extensive, existing Scouting experience (former Eagle scouts, Philmont and camp staff, Scoutmasters/Assistant Scoutmasters with 3-5+ years experience, former scouts with extensive military outdoor skills, SAR and NOLS staff, etc). The application will require a short descriptive bio of the Scout leader's experience.

        • Final decisions regarding eligibility will be made by the District Training Chair.

      • When will the Outdoor Challenge be held?

        • Saturday, _________. On-site registration and sign-in will begin at 7:30am. The event will begin at 8:15am and last until approximately 1pm.

      • How will registration work?

        • Pre-registration will be online through the Denver Area Council web site

        • The cost of the event will be $25

        • On-site registration will cost $30

      • How will the event be operated?

        • The event will consist of a series of "skill stations". The skill stations will test the candidate on one or more related outdoor skills, such as knot tying.

        • Candidates will be given a Skill Check Sheet, which will be signed off by the examiner of each skill.

        • Candidates may move from one station to another, in no particular order.

        • For each skill, the candidate will be presented with a Task, Condition and Standard.

        • For example:

          • Task - Tie a Taut Line Hitch

          • Condition - Given an 10 foot length of 1/4" line, a tent stake driven into the ground, and a fixed pole or other object.

          • Standard - The candidate will have one minute to successfully tie a taut line hitch, according to the Scout Handbook [see pgs 384-385] between the tent stake and the fixed object, and demonstrate the use of the taut line hitch to cinch up the section of line so as to make the line taut.

      • The candidate will have only a single opportunity to demonstrate the skill successfully.  No retakes will be permitted. Additionally, no skill development/coaching/teaching will be provided by staff to participants.

      • At a number of the stations, the candidate will also be separately required to teach the skill to a scout using the EDGE method (with no fixed time limit).

      • How do I pass and get ITOLS credit?

        • A minimum passing score of 85% is required.

        • No scout leader may attend the Outdoor Challenge a second time. Should a leader fail to pass, they must attend a traditional ITOLS course to receive ITOLS course credit.

      • What are the outdoor skill standards that I must meet?

        • Upon registration, the candidate will be given a link to a document containing the tasks, conditions and standards of each skill.  The source material for each of the skills is the (current) 12th Edition of the BSA Scout Handbook and the scope of the material is determined by the current ITOLS course syllabus and curricula.

        • Click this link to view the skill performance standards.

        • Some modification of skill requirements can be made to accommodate leaders with special needs. Advance notice must be given to the District Training Team, which will follow up with the candidate to determine the degree of accommodation (physical access, conditions or standard) needed.

      Packing and Hiking Techniques BSHB 261-311 BSFB147-164;227-237

      Campsite Selection BSHB 285-381

      Map and Compass Reading BSHB 345-375 BSFB 171-192

      Plant ID BSHB 206-234

      First Aid BSHB 123-177 BSFB 73-95

      Animal ID BSHB 206-234

      Wood Tools BSHB 402-409

      Fires BSHB 410-414 BSFB 111-119

      Cooking BSHB 313-342 BSFB 57-71

      Ropes BSHB 372

      Leave No Trace BSHB 243-257 BSFB 99-109

      • Who will be the examiners and how is the event managed?

        • The event is youth staffed and managed, with an adult event lead and supported by the District Training Team.

        • Each station will be staffed by Scouts (Star rank or above) and/or Venturers (Big Horn/NYLT graduates and/or Ranger Award/Star rank or above).

        • Overall responsibility for the program and its execution lies with the District Training Chair.

      Inquiries welcome...

      Jim Rooney
      Training Chair, Pioneer Trails District, Denver Area Council
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