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THE GRANT MAKING BLOG

Using Calculated Fields for Weighted Assessments in SmartyGrants

By Kate Caldecott

Few things in grant management are more complex or more important than getting assessment right. A vigorous assessment process is how you know you’re making the best use of limited funds. Ensuring that your assessment process weighs all of the different criteria appropriately means doing the math. Fortunately, SmartyGrants allows you to build those calculations directly into your assessment forms.

 


Why Weighted Assessments?

Obviously, weighted assessments are more complex than simply adding up the scores to create a simple ranking. However, they are also essential. Not all assessment criteria are created equal. Some of them will give you the distinction needed to separate the best options from a field of good projects. Others are deal breakers, and projects who do not have a minimum score on these items should be ruled out.

 

 

Consider the follow possible assessment criteria:

 

 

All of those are valid criteria that should be considered when deciding which projects to fund. However, the first one and the last one are especially important. If a project scored well on the first eight items, but poorly on the last, it might not be worth funding. Thus, weighted assessments not only help you decide between similarly attractive projects, they protect you from funding projects that are not aligned with program goals or that are high risk for failure.

 

 

Building Weighted Assessments in SmartyGrants

You can create weighted assessment forms in SmartyGrants using numeric rating scales and calculated fields. Imagine that we have decided to asses applications based on the following five criteria:

Weighted assessment forms in SmartyGrants

 

 

 

Create the calculations by clicking Edit calculation, selecting the field that holds the assessors rating and then multiplying by the number that results in the desired percent. For example, since the highest possible rating is a 5, a criterion that is weighted at 25% would be multiplied by 5, a criterion weighted at 20% would be multiplied by 4, etc.).

 

 

Weighted assessments in SmartyGrants

 

 

You can then create a calculation that adds all of the weighed scores. Since they were created with a percentage, a perfect application would receive a score of 100.

 

 

Weighted assessments in SmartyGrants

 


Note that SmartyGrants also allows you to reference information from other forms into form calculations. To do this, select the More button in the calculation builder. From there, you can select the form, field and operation you want. Note that when a form calculation references a field from another form, and that form has been updated, the receiving form will not recalculate until it is saved.

 


Combining Assessment Forms

Once all of your assessors have completed their assessment forms, you can run a report to get the picture of which applications should be selected for funding. For quick access, download a snapshot report from the rounds tab. The resulting spreadsheet will include a sheet with the responses to the assessment forms. From here you can add further calculations (average score for each criterion, average total score, etc.) and easily create a funding recommendation report.


Always test your forms, especially if you’re performing calculations across multiple forms.
If you would like assistance in refining your assessment process or developing a weighted assessment form in SmartyGrants, please contact me at Kate@katecaldecott.com.au or 0447 227 598.

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