A drawback of allocating points instead of ranking

I have advocated allocating points as an evaluation method that serves better than a simple ranking of 1, 2, 3 (See my post of Aug. 14, 2005: better to ask respondents to allocate points; July 4, 2006: sophisticated technique; July 3, 2007: most sophisticated method; July 20, 2008: a downside is that respondents must think more; and Jan. 11, 2009: decisions by teams and weighted preferences.).

To illustrate, if ten law firms have submitted proposals, I thought it was better to have the reviewers of their proposals distribute 100 points among the ten. That way, they could put 50 points on the firm that they thought was by far the best, for example. To merely give that firm 10 points and the next best firm 9 points and so on down does not sufficiently differentiate them.

Quite pleased with myself, I was rocked when someone pointed out that three firms might be equally very good, so the reviewer would have to allocate them 33 points each. If you then total all points allocated by all reviewers to all the firms, those firms won’t fare as well. Hmmmm…..

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