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Although I always favored "Super, OK and Lousy" as the most reliable partitions, sure to earn the highest levels of inter-rater reliability, I like the "Exemplary" designation. That term is more distinguished, more illustrative of the nature of its higher level and more essentially sophisticated.

But "Exemplary" is four syllables instead of the clearer, easier mere two of "Super." Don't hear the term thrown around in regular speech, either; of course, ANYthing is better than the overused ubiquitous "amazing".

"OK" does indeed collapse your useful gradations of "Good", but the unwinnable battles at the margins will continue if you keep three "acceptable but don't walk on water" categories. Credibility suffers when there can be widely varying subjective conclusions.

Think I still slightly favor my easy wide 3 because the low scores calls for a PIP, OK covers the 90% or so who are "doing their jobs" and the tip-top is for the mere handful that everyone from the security guard to the CEO knows is keeping the enterprise afloat.

My prejudice for categories meaningful to the troops beats out my interest in giving bosses ways to distort reward distributions with phony truthy labels. Just show those tiny distinctions with bonuses or other perks, I suggest.

Of course, I could be wrong.

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