What Is a Scale?


A scale is a method of measuring the size of an object. It can be used to make sure that things are proportional or to create emphasis in a drawing. A scale is also used to draw blueprints or plans for machinery, architecture and maps.

A number of studies reported significant losses of items during the scale development process. This is due to several factors, including sample characteristics and methods of item generation.

Weight Measurement

Weight measurement is a key concept in early learning to help children understand how objects are measured. By using non-standard units such as heavier and lighter, they can build an intuitive understanding of the parameters on which objects are measured.

Once the concept of weight is mastered, the students can progress to measuring objects using standard customary or metric units. The metric system uses mass units such as grams and kilograms (kg) to measure the amount of material that an object contains.

A balance is used to measure the force of gravity on an unknown object by comparing it with standard masses in scale pans, called lever-balance instruments. This allows for accurate measurements at any location on the Earth because variations in gravity will act equally on both the unknown object and the standard masses. When weighing your sample, remember that the mass of the container will also affect the measurement, so use the scale’s tare function to remove the weight of the container from the final measurement.


The ability of a measurement to produce consistent results. For example, a scale that displays different weights each time you step on it is not reliable. Measurements that are not reliable cannot be valid.

Reliability is an important part of a research study or measuring tool. Researchers can use several methods to evaluate reliability. These include test/retest, inter-rater and internal consistency.

To perform a test/retest reliability assessment, researchers administer an instrument twice to the same subjects and then calculate the correlation between the two measurements. This type of reliability is most appropriate for assessing a tool with a long list of questions that all relate to one underlying construct, such as a questionnaire or personality inventory.

Inter-rater reliability is the ability of observers or judges to agree on their ratings. For example, in Bandura’s Bobo doll experiment, observers should have a high agreement on how many acts of aggression they observed. This type of reliability is usually assessed using a statistic called kappa.


Whether a scale is checking the weight of bolts for an airplane chassis, measuring bags of chips and sweets or weighing precious granola bars, repeatability (also called reproducibility) is crucial. Without high repeatability, small mistakes could be multiplied and cause all sorts of problems.

Reproducibility is the closeness of output values for a measurement obtained by the same experimenter, method, tools and devices under the same conditions. In other words, a person who inspects the same part multiple times should be able to make the same decision (pass or fail) each time.

For some traits, it may be necessary to multiply specimens to obtain a more accurate estimate of repeatability. We found no significant interaction between measurement method and sex, tissue type or trait size, but remounting did significantly improve repeatability estimates for genitalic traits compared to single-mount measurements. This is important because smaller structures are harder to measure consistently and are more likely to show inflated repeatability estimates when measured only once.

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