Scorekeeping vs measurement: the former will get you to drink your milk!

This is taken from Chuck Coonradt’s book “Scorekeeping for Success”.

What’s the difference between measurement and score keeping?  According to Chuck, “the major difference between score-keeping and measurement is that scorekeeping by nature is a positive process, while measurement is a negative one”.

Measurement Scorekeeping
Catches people doing it wrong Reinforces behaviour we want repeated
Is externally imposed Is chosen by player
Is presented after game Is dynamic
Forces competition Allows competition
Maximises excuses Maximises  celebration
Discourages ownership Stimulates ownership
Causes unnatural inhibition Is natural stimulation
Is too big to correct Is frequent enough to fix

Consider tracking a child’s growth in height, done by a nurse at the child’s doctor’s office versus by the child’s mum.

Measurement is what the nurse does when she measures how tall a child is, marks it at the doctor’s office on a chart that is never seen again, and uses it to place the child in a national percentile that lets him know that he is not the tallest person in his age group in the country.

measurement vs scorekeeping

Scorekeeping is what your mother does when she periodically measures how her child’s height and makes a loving mark on the wall, charting his growth; in a manner that is visible, encouraging and stimulating.

mum measuring


The nurse’s measurement will result in no behaviour change. Create a defeatist attitude based on realisation that most kids are taller than you are. It won’t get you to drink your milk.

The mum’s scorekeping, as the marks proceed progressively up the wall, motivates the child to drink his milk as he sees the progress he is making.

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