Baldrige Scoring Guidelines for Business, Health Care and Education

2012 Baldrige Scoring Guidelines

Baldrige Scoring Guidelines

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Baldrige has not been successful in sustaining engagement of business applicants.

"Fix the Criteria and they will come"

Baldrige Profit versus Nonprofit Applicants

Click the graphic above to see a list of the current issues and proposed improvement actions

In contrast, the Singapore and several other major national award programs based on the Baldrige Criteria have successful in sustaining engagement of their business applicants.

NIST is seeking your suggestions for improving the 2013 Baldrige Criteria, award process, examiner training, communications, or other Baldrige Program activities, please send them to

2013 Baldrige Scoring Guidelines Improvements

  • Reduce the total number of words in the Scoring Guidelines by more than half to make them more practical and effective. For example, is anyone going to read the 400 words in the Results Scoring Guidelines and remember what they read each time they score? . . . not everyone for sure. If the objective is to assess trends, comparisons, segmentation and whether the right results are being presented, there is no need for more than 200 words.

  • Add a "Segmentation" scoring dimension to the Results Scoring Guidelines to reflect the popularity of this type of feedback comment

  • Delete the "Levels" scoring dimension from the Results Scoring Guidelines . . . it is redundant with the Comparisons dimension in that you can't assign a score for Levels unless you have some relative basis for doing so . . . this is long overdue

  • Remove all reference to non-results (e.g., projections) from the Results Scoring Guidelines. The outcry when 'projections' were first introduced was unanimous among the many users I encountered including judges . . . yet they still remain.

  • Remove the word "align" from the Scoring Guidelines and replace it with "integration" as appropriate.

  • The terminology "Multiple Requirements", "Overall Requirements" and "Basic Requirements" are confusing to most users and contributes to assessment variation. Guidance that the "requirements" don't really mean "requirements" doesn't help either. Advice to take a holistic view and not hold applicants accountable to the "requirements" . . . well, you get the picture.

  • Results are quantitative by nature. So, why use judgmental terms (e.g., ‘important’, ‘poor’, ‘good’, ‘good relative’, ‘very good’, ‘good to excellent’, ‘excellent’, or my personal long-time favorite ‘early good’)? They are not needed. They introduce variation into the assessment. Get rid of them.

  • How is "fully deployed without significant gaps" different from "fully deployed with significant gaps" . . . one of several examples where the Scoring Guidelines can be improved through more careful wording selection, simplification, and word count reduction. "Sustained over time" is another.

  • Improve the coherency of the Results Scoring Guidelines language including the use of  'few’, ‘little’, ‘little to no’,  ‘limited’, ‘limited or no’, ‘some’, ‘many’, ‘many to most’, ‘most’, ‘majority’, ‘fully’, or my personal favorite ’mainly’. Examples: Is ‘majority’ closer to ‘many’ or is it closer to ‘most’? Is 'majority' a simple majority? Is 'mainly' more or less than 'majority'? Is 'majority' between 'many' and 'many to most' or between 'many to most' and 'most? How does 'many' relate to 'mainly'? . . . this act needs to be cleaned up folks.

  • Why does the "accomplishment of Mission" verbiage switch from the Trend scoring dimension to the Integration Scoring dimension in the middle scoring range?

  • Eliminate confounded terminology. For example, how should the terms “important”, “high priority”, and “key” be used in scoring results? For example, which of them is most important? Which should be given the highest priority? Are they all key terms? This variation in terminology is unnecessary, confusing, and contributes to scoring variation if not error.

  • The Results Scoring Guidelines reference customers directly but not other key stakeholders such as workforce, suppliers, and community.


Baldrige Results Scoring Guidelines Quiz

Q: Which American document has approximately 150 more words than the other? a) the Baldrige Results Scoring Guidelines or b) Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address"?

A: The Results Scoring Guidelines have 400 words. The Gettysburg Address has 256.

Q: Which of these three terms are not used to assess results? a) 'early good', b) 'on time good', or c) 'late good'

A: If you thought this was a trick question, unfortunately you're wrong. 'Early good' is used in the 0 to 5% scoring range. Silly me. I thought getting good results early would have scored higher.

Q: Results are quantitative by nature. However qualitative and/or judgmental guideline terms are used to assess them in all scoring bands. Is this: TRUE? or FALSE?

A: TRUE. The judgmental terms "poor", "good", "good relative", "very good", "good to excellent", "excellent", and my personal favorite "early good" are used to assess the quantitative results. For 2011, the terms "good for nothing", "good enough", and "too good to be true" will be added . . . not true. Also not true is that because some people do not understand what "early good" means, "on-time good", and "late good" will also be added.

Q: "World class" was once part of the Results Scoring Guidelines: TRUE? or FALSE?

A: TRUE. The early guidelines required winners to demonstrate 'world class' results to score in the highest scoring range.

Q: Which of the following terms are not used to assess the quantity of results? "no", "any", "few", "little", "little or no", "limited", "limited or no", "some", "some to many", "mainly", "many", "many to most", "majority", "most to fully", or "fully"

A: Believe it or not, "some to many" and "most to fully" are not in the scoring guidelines. "Mainly"???

Q: Not one Examiner knows how to interpret the relative meaning of these results assessment terms: "important", "high priority", and "key". TRUE? or FALSE?

A: I don't know how many but I do know that there is at least one who has never been able to figure it out (LOL).

Baldrige Excellence Resources

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2012 Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence - basic versions

Baldrige Criteria                    Baldrige Health Care Criteria                    Baldrige Education Criteria

See the hundreds of Criteria requirements that have been deleted from the previous versions


Baldrige Scoring System