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Facts&Figures

Difference between interval and ordinal scale?

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Posted (edited)

I'm pretty sure I'm right and the teacher is refusing to change, but I want to double check. For sanities sake.

 

In our textbook, there is an example of a 7 point rating scale that is listed as an interval scale. But in the online test, a 4 point rating scale is listed as being ordinal. Even Quizlet and other test bank style sites list all rating scales as being ordinal scales. Why?

 

Am I really missing something, or is this a failure of school officials to admit they have a bad question that is being repeated in many schools?

 

 

Edit: For clarity. The four point scale is for restaurants and the seven point scale is for mood. Both, in my opinion, have to be ordinal.

Edit: And actually, I think it's the book that is wrong. The example of mood is in our textbook.

Edited by Facts&Figures

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fiveworlds    68
Posted (edited)

The interval scale has 8 options e.g. 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7

The ordinal scale has a maximum of 4 and a minimum of 0. Getting 3.44442 points is a posibility.

Edited by fiveworlds

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CharonY    1620
Posted (edited)

I'm pretty sure I'm right and the teacher is refusing to change, but I want to double check. For sanities sake.

 

In our textbook, there is an example of a 7 point rating scale that is listed as an interval scale. But in the online test, a 4 point rating scale is listed as being ordinal. Even Quizlet and other test bank style sites list all rating scales as being ordinal scales. Why?

 

Am I really missing something, or is this a failure of school officials to admit they have a bad question that is being repeated in many schools?

 

 

Edit: For clarity. The four point scale is for restaurants and the seven point scale is for mood. Both, in my opinion, have to be ordinal.

Edit: And actually, I think it's the book that is wrong. The example of mood is in our textbook.

 

It depends a little bit on how the scaling is used. If you use a X point scale assuming that the distance between values is equal (e.g. 1-2 has the same interval as 6-7) then it is an interval scale.

 

However if a higher number just indicates e.g. "better" or "worse" with no indication of the distance of the intervals, then it would be an ordinal scale. Or in other words, you could easily shift the numbers, as long as you keep a clear rank. I.e. a four-point ordinal scale that is 1-2-3-4 would be the equivalent of 1-5-6-8 or agree-agree slightly-disagree slightly-disagree.

 

In other words, if the only information in the scaling is that 4 (or 7) points are used does not tell you whether it is interval or ordinal.

Edited by CharonY

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The problem is that I have two teachers in agreeance. The 4 point scale for the restaurant is ordinal and the 7 point scale is interval. I'm trying to figure out why both aren't ordinal. The reason given is that the 7 point scale has labeled a 1 as negative and a 7 as positive. But nowhere does it say that a 4 in mood is twice as good as a 2 in mood. And the numbers may mean different things to different people.

 

Why are so many academics in agreeance?

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