[eDebate] Question about MPJ systems

Gary Larson Gary.N.Larson
Thu Oct 18 10:10:42 CDT 2007

Labels are curious things.  There is no ?functional? difference at all between ABCX and A+AB+X or between 1,2,3,4 or any other labels that you provide for 4 categories.  I think the reason for the use of the ?grade inflation? labels is an artifact of the design of column labels in Bruschke?s site that are arranged to accommodate 9 different options, which I incidentally label 1-9 rather than giving any letter grades.  Even there we can find an interesting psychology.  If forced to use letters, I accommodate the old ABCX by using A+AA-B+BB-C+CX (with percentages that match up pretty well).  But if you look at the nine labels on Bruschke?s site you?ll find A+AB+BC+CD+DF(X) (chosen because they best accommodate the 6-category system used at the NDT for several years).  Does it make any functional difference ? NO.  Does it make a psychological difference ? I certainly hope not.
The one other thing that we need to take into consideration is the percentages we assign to each category.  As we top-load the categories having a higher percentage of A+?s, we have the apparent psychological advantage of having more A+?s.  Of course, the meaning of any of those A+?s is reduced accordingly.  In addition to the fact that ordinal pref reduces the incongruity between within-category and between-category differences, I also suspect that it gives us the most truth in labeling, permitting apples-to-apples comparisons rather than the multitude of labeling alternative we have at present.
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