Proximity Errors

Proximity errors sometimes referred to as an order effect, occur when a rating made on one item or dimension of a rating scale affects the rating of the following or nearest item(s)/dimension(s). Therefore, the reason for the error’s occurrence is how the different items are placed on the rating scale and the proximity between them. This type of error is usually associated with performance appraisal processes and the rating sheets constructed for the effect.

For example, a teacher rating a student’s performance might feel inclined to attribute a higher score on an item just because the previous items were also high, which would be different if the item appeared on another part of the sheet where the student was less positively evaluated.

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