4-H events and fairs are often used to provide youth with opportunities to have their work judged against a set of standards. The evaluation of an exhibit should be a positive and motivating part of the total 4-H experience. To plan, practice, and present a finished product is to “learn by doing.” The exhibit is not an end in itself, nor does it illustrate all of the learning that has taken place during the 4-H year.
An important goal of 4-H is to teach skills to young people that they can use now, as a youth, and in later life. Standards of excellence help 4-H’ers to evaluate the skills they are learning. Standards of excellence can be useful for products (skirts, cookies, tomatoes, livestock, etc.) and skills (speaking, decision making, demonstrating, etc.).