Personal versus prescribed judging criteria seeks to contrast the personal likes or dislikes of performance, compared to more formal judging through the use of criteria. It is prescribed judging criteria that refers to the use of criteria to make subjective performance measures more objective.
Personal judging criteria are the presuppositions brought to the performance by the judge and are very subjective. These include the judge’s expectations and preconceived ideas about the performance. Spectators and coaches often use personal judging criteria when judging a performance. Spectators are especially personal because their judgments rely on feelings and impressions, not prescribed judging criteria. There is often bias in personal judging criteria and so are more suited to appreciation rather than judgments of performance quality.
An example of personal judging criteria is a person who walks out of a ballet performance thrilled by what they saw, because it was exactly what was expected, compared to the person who leaves disappointed because they were hoping for something in-particular that was not provided.
Prescribed judging criteria, on the other hand, are established criteria created by the sporting body, which are then used to appraise performance. This often comes in the form of a checklist or rating system and helps to objectify subjective measurements. The more detailed the judging criteria and stringent the judge the better the objectivity and reliability of the judging criteria.
An example would be the check lists and other prescribed judging criteria used in gymnastics to provide a score for each routine.