Ordinal Scale


  1. A scale on which information is displayed in order of magnitude because there is no standard of measurement of differences.

Usage Notes:

  1. Typical scales include:
    • High, Medium, Low
    • Hot, Medium, Cold
    • Tall, Medium, Short
Be careful using mathematical operations on ordinal scales since they only encode order. Formula such as “High x Low” does not necessarily produce any mathematically useful result.
When using an ordinal scale, the central tendency of a group of items can be described by using the group’s mode (or most common item) or its median (the middle-ranked item), but the mean (or average) cannot be defined.

Additional Definitions From Well-Known Sources