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In many areas, the assessment of facts, situations, objects and persons is common practice.

What is an assessment?

In general, an assessment is a value judgement about a fact, a situation, an object or its characteristics or a person.

In the psychological sense, a natural person (appraiser) makes a judgement about an object (facts, situation, person). The object is assigned a value on an assessment dimension. Such a graded scale (e.g. good – medium – bad) is often found in practice in the form of grades of all kinds (school grades, ratings, credit scores, etc.).

In short, an assessment is the rating of an evaluation object. The person making the assessment must have the necessary elective and professional competence. As a rule, additional higher-level assessment criteria are used for an evaluation. These criteria are previously determined characteristics, with which the nature of the evaluation object is to be seized in the ideal case completely.

What types of assessments are there?

The kind of an evaluation depends on its evaluation object:

  1. Fact: Analysts, doctors, experts, journalists, lawyers and judges. Analysts, experts and journalists compile facts and sources, arrange them and subject them to an evaluation. Legal experts draw on their legal expertise in the evaluation process.
  2. Situation: A typical situation is the purchase decision of a consumer. According to his needs, he chooses between several alternative objects of purchase. Pyramid of needs, purchase prices, benefits, preferences and product quality are considered as evaluation criteria. These aim at the assessable performance characteristics. The application of the criteria is reflected in the purchase of a product.
  3. Persons: An evaluation of persons takes place in many areas: Job reference (all employees), official assessment (civil servants, soldiers), performance and employee assessment (employees in the private sector), school report (students) and sports grades (athletes). The consequences are promotion or demotion (human resources), victory or defeat (athletes) and transfer (students).
  4. Objects: In the financial sector, in connection with the valuation, lending objects (e.g. real estate) are valued when lending. Lending criteria for the credit analyst are location, market value, material value, income value and loan-to-value ratio/limit/value. The dimension for the assessment is the property rating.
  5. Other properties to be assessed: The object of an assessment can also be materials, actions (film and theater acts), weak points or abstract constructs (structural and process organization, risk).

Subjectivity of assessments

Assessments are always subjective despite evaluation criteria. Objectivity in the scientific sense does not exist with assessments of and by humans. It is still about subjective opinions. Already the selection and weighting of the assessment criteria contain subjective elements.

An assessment can fulfill relative objectivity, in that no personal assessment criteria of the critic flow in. In this case, also controlled subjectivity is spoken of.

What are the errors of assessment?

Controlled subjectivity is an important prerequisite for avoiding errors of assessment. These occur if mistakes wrongly perceive the object of evaluation during the assessment. Reasons for the erroneous or wrong perception can be:

  • selective perception of the critic
  • missing or incorrect application of the evaluation criteria
  • missing or incorrect application of the assessment dimension
  • lack of professional competence

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