6. Grading system

7.1 Grading scores

During the workshop scores will be assigned by the expert participants to each parameter on a scale from 1 to 8, where 1 is consistent with the poorest state of condition of the grading criterion, and 8 is the highest level.  Scores are assigned on the basis of group consensus.  Based on the scores agreed by the experts, four grades are derived as follows: Score 1 to 2 = Very Poor, 3 to 4 = Poor, 5 to 6 = Good and 7 to 8 = Very Good.

7.2 Grading statements

A key part of the process is understanding and applying a set of Grading Statements that have been uniquely derived for each major aspect of the assessment to represent the four grades of condition (Very Poor, Poor, Good, Very Good).  Grading Statements provide guidance to inform the expert about the thresholds they should use in determining a score.  They also explain the spatial context of how to assess a particular parameter (i.e. how to assess pressures, socioeconomic benefits, habitats, species, ecosystem processes, physical and chemical processes both in terms of condition and spatially).

7.3 Confidence estimates

Each score is also assigned a confidence estimate (High, Medium or Low) based on the expert’s current state of knowledge and judgement.  In general terms, a high level of confidence implies that there are published peer-reviewed papers or government reports that support the scores attributed to the parameter in question.  A medium level of confidence may be based on one or more expert’s knowledge of unpublished data, un-refereed reports or other information; a low confidence score is given where the experts agree to assign a score based mainly on expert opinion and inference.