Qualitative weight and sum

Using qualitative ratings (such as symbols) to identify performance in terms of essential, important and unimportant criteria.

"In QWS:

Each criterion has a qualitative weight – this removes the temptation to combine different values in an invalid way.

As with the quantitative system, each evaluand can score anything up to the ‘weight’ of that criterion. In other words:

z High value – an evaluand can score ∅ (no value), + (minor value),  (moderate value), or z (high value).

Moderate value - an evaluand can score ∅ (no value), + (minor value), or (moderate value).

+ Minor value - an evaluand can score ∅ (no value), or + (minor value).

If an evaluand scores below the bar on any one criterion, it is deemed unsatisfactory (i.e., it ‘flunks’ overall). [This is an important consideration when deciding where to set the ‘bar’ – it is, after all, the ‘death card’ for an evaluand. There are often situations where one sets bars like this (e.g., in personnel evaluation, saying a candidate needs a minimum of X years experience, or fluency in a language), only to find that none of the available candidates fits the bill, and the bars have to be reset.]" (Scriven, & Davidson 2000)

Resources

Guide

  • The Synthesis Problem: Pages 11 - 18 of this slideshow from Michael Scriven and E. Jane Davidson provides a useful discussion of the use of qualitative weight and sum including clear guidelines. 

Sources

Scriven, M., & Davidson, E. J. (2000, November). The synthesis problem. American Evaluation Association (AEA) annual meeting, Honolulu HI. Retrieved fromhttp://realevaluation.com/pres/SynthHNL.pdf

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Updated: 21st August 2014 - 11:19am
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