Steps to Advancement

"The Badges…  are not intended to signify that he is a master in the craft he is tested in. If once we make Scouting into a formal scheme of serious instruction in efficiency, we miss the whole point and value of Scout training…
We want to get ALL our boys along through cheery self-development from within and not through the imposition of formal instruction from without.But the object of the Badge System in Scouting is also to give the Scoutmaster an instrument by which he can stimulate keenness on the part of every and any boy to take up hobbies that can be helpful in forming his character or developing his skill.
It is for this reason that the standard of proficiency is purposely left undefined. Our standard for Badge earning is not the attainment of a certain level of quality of knowledge or skill, but the AMOUNT OF EFFORT THE BOY HAS PUT INTO ACQUIRE SUCH KNOWLEDGE OR SKILL.  If he is a trier, no matter how clumsy, his examiner can accord him his Badge, and this generally inspires the boy to go on trying till he wins further Badges and becomes normally capable.
Some are inclined to insist that their Scouts should be first-rate before they can get a Badge. That is very right, in theory; you get a few boys pretty proficient in this way –  but our object is to get all the boys interested.  At the same time, we do not recommend the other extreme, namely, that of almost giving away the Badges on very slight knowledge of the subjects. It is a matter where examiners should use their sense and discretion, keeping the main aim in view. There is always the danger of Badge-hunting supplanting Badge-earning.
Our aim is to make boys into smiling, sensible, self-effacing, hard-working citizens, instead of showy, self-indulgent boys. Thus the success of the Badge System depends very largely on the Scoutmaster himself and his individual handling of it."
Baden-Powell – Aids to Scoutmastership

It’s important to understand that while advancement in Scouting is a unique system of learning. It is not academic, it is not competitive, it is not an end in itself. A key aspect of applying the program is understanding that we can’t import the practices of the academic world into advancement.

 The four steps of advancement in Scouting are: