A checklist is a tool used to identify whether conceptual skills or knowledge is absent or present in a person; it uses yes or no format to achieve its purpose. On the other hand, a rating scale is used to assess task performance level, processes, skill levels, procedures and quantities (Epstein & Sharma, 1998). Unlike checklists which use yes or no criteria, rating scales show the degree or frequency of achievement or a given behaviour.
One of the strengths and characteristics of checklists and rating scales is that both use specific criteria of measuring success depending on the expected outcome.
Both also have clear wordings, but in addition to words rating scales also have numbers, e.g. 1 = strongly disagree, 6 = strongly disagree. This numerical aspect of rating scales makes comparison of study objects easier and more reliable (Epstein & Sharma, 1998).
One example of a checklist is procedural test where tasks and boxes are listed and a clinician ticks on the box next to each task when the task is completed. This will indicate the level of completion of tasks at the end of the procedure, e.g. when testing a patient’s personality.
Another example is the use of yes or no criterion to determine treatment outcome whereby the patient will be asked questions about his or her health and she answers yes or no.
An example for a rating scale method is assessment of personality by rating personality characteristics of the patient from poor (1) to Excellent (5). The use of rating scales may not be used with illiterate people because it requires reading and interpreting skills so that the respondent can rate each personality characteristic appropriately.
Epstein, M. H., & Sharma, J. M. (1998). Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale: A strength-based approach to assessment: examiner’s manual. Austin, Tex: Pro-Ed.