4-H/Youth Development: Danish judging system explained
Source: Ken Culp III, principal extension specialist and Kim Leger, extension specialist, 4-H youth development
In 4-H, we target the learning process as a way to help young people build essential life skills. As a result of this, we use the Danish judging system for scoring almost all of our shows and projects.
The Danish judging system does not compare one youth’s project to the projects of their peers. Rather, each project is scored by comparing it to the project standard. The purpose of the Danish system is to give all 4-Hers recognition for the number of hours of hard work and dedication that they put in to complete a particular project while comparing it to the standard for that particular project.
Projects that exceed expectations earn a blue ribbon. Participants with projects that meet expectations receive a red ribbon. A white ribbon means the project needs improvement. Green ribbons recognize participation.
Judges are 4-H youth development volunteers who have a particular interest or a particular skill set in a certain subject area and who are interested in seeing young people succeed. Judges learn how to score using the system and how to offer constructive feedback to 4-H members to help them improve their next project.
While no judging system is perfect, the Danish judging system helps 4-H members develop top-quality youth instead of blue ribbon projects. More information is available at the Woodford County Cooperative Extension Service.