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Attribute is a property, an abstraction of a characteristic of an entity or substance. In open assessment in particular a characteristic of an assessment product (assessment, variable or class), and assessment process (method). In open assessment all these objects have the same set of attributes:

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The research question about attributes
What are attributes and their structure for objects in open assessment such that
  • they cover all information types that may be needed for an object in an assessment,
  • they allow for open participation and discussion about any attribute,
  • their contents are subject to scientific criticism, i.e., falsifiable,
  • they comply with the PSSP ontology?

The research question about the attribute contents
What are parts of the attribute contents such that the attribute
  • contains the necessary description of the property under the attribute,
  • allows for open participation about the property,
  • allows for additional information that increases the applicability of the attribute content,
  • allows for evaluation of performance of the attribute content.


The attributes of a formally structured object in open assessment.
Attribute PSSP attribute Question asked Comments
Name - How should the object be called? Name of an object must be unique, and it should be descriptive of what the object is intended to contain, in particular give hints about the scope of the object.
Question Purpose What is the research question that this object attempts to answer? Contains a description of the physical and abstract boundaries of the object. For assessment and variable objects, scope is an expression of what part of reality the object is intended to describe. Scope does not have a true counterpart in reality, it is always referential to the instrumental use purpose of the object it relates to.
Answer State What is the answer to the research question? Is an expression of the state of the part of reality that the object describes. It is the outcome of the contents under the definition attribute.
Rationale Structure How can you find out the answer to the research question? Attempts to describe the internal structure of the part of reality that the object is intended to describe and the relations of the interior with reality outside the scope. For assessment objects, definition appears in practice as a list of contents. For variables, it is a description of how the result of the variable can be derived or calculated.

Despite all the object types mentioned above do have the same unified set of attributes, the sub-attributes can differ (see Assessment and Variable). This derives from the differences in the nature and primary purpose of different object types as well as practical reasons.

In addition to the formally structured objects (e.g. assessments and variables), there may exist objects that do not have a standardized format related to open assessments, such as data or models that are used in defining formally structured objects and their attributes. These freely structured objects are outside the information structure, but can be e.g linked or referred to within the formally defined objects.

Each attribute has three parts:

  • Actual content (only this will have an impact on other objects), depending on the nature of the object actual content can be qualitative or quantitative
  • Narrative description (to help understanding the actual content). Includes evaluation of performance (e.g. uncertainty analysis, e.g. e.g. evaluation of the calibration of the result against an external standard).
  • Discussion (argumentation about issues in the actual content). The resolutions of the discussions are transferred to the actual content. Discussion is described in detail elsewhere.


Based on a lot of thinking and discussion especially in 2006-2009.

See also

Materials and examples for training in Opasnet and open assessment
Help pages Wiki editingHow to edit wikipagesQuick reference for wiki editingDrawing graphsOpasnet policiesWatching pagesWriting formulaeWord to WikiWiki editing Advanced skills
Training assessment (examples of different objects) Training assessmentTraining exposureTraining health impactTraining costsClimate change policies and health in KuopioClimate change policies in Kuopio
Methods and concepts AssessmentVariableMethodQuestionAnswerRationaleAttributeDecisionResultObject-oriented programming in OpasnetUniversal objectStudyFormulaOpasnetBaseUtilsOpen assessmentPSSP
Terms with changed use ScopeDefinitionResultTool


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