The GPC is introducing a new master gardener scoring system based on points per weight (or length for long gourds) starting this season!
This new system is designed to be more fair and equitable within and among fruit classes, such that classes with fewer or more growers can be weighted appropriately.
This is a scoring system like the Olympic decathlon where each time or distance is assigned a score value. This system is more equitable than the rank scores used in the past because it’s set up for all fruit to be on a similar playing field. (As opposed to top-down or bottom-up rank scoring which can over- or under-weight less popular classes). In the point per pound system a fruit at the top 10% (90th percentile) of the general field for its class is set to equal 35 points.
This then allows scoring parity across all fruit classes. Regardless of the number of growers who chose to grow in each class, a comparably large fruit will be rewarded appropriately (and conversely small fruit with high rankings will receive appropriately balanced scores.)
This also sets up more equitable scoring within each class. e.g. a 2002 lb and 2001 lb AG in first and second place will get nearly the same points (48.05 points and 48.02 points). Whereas a 2002 lb first place and 1600 lb second place will earn much different scores, where the second place is worth 38.40 points. In the old system both situations would earn 47 and 46 points (in a field of 47 growers).
The point per pound system should be fairly stable over a several year period and shouldn’t need changing. The plan would be to leave the points per pound as they are year over year to allow year to year comparisons. However, if one class really starts to outperform, adjustments could be made to the scoring between seasons.
An additional benefit is that the pre-season clarity of the scoring system would allow growers to clearly assess where they would fall in the ranking system given their past results. This might encourage more growers to give the master gardener a try. While steadfast repeat growers should enjoy the benefits of tracking/estimating their scores mid-season as often as they choose, rather than waiting until the season is well over and scores are calculated to see how they did. Points per pound also creates scores that don’t depend on the total number of growers, which again makes for a long term comparable scoring system, possibly allowing official world records to be established for Master Gardener.
As before, scores are determined by adding up a grower’s top 5 scoring classes. A grower must have at least one official entry in at least 5 classes to compete.
A calculator will be made available in English and metric units, so that master gardener contenders can easily track their own score through the season (as well as compare your scores to last year to see how you’re doing) – That should add to the fun!
We hope this clarity and transparency in scoring will also bring new prospective Master Gardener contenders off the sidelines when they are able to estimate a score based on their past results. For reference a score of 110 to 125 is an average score, while 200+ is an excellent score.
We expect to use this scale for years to come.