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Rating Scale for Assessing Performance Appraisal Reports

Name: Thomas Hajduk, Tepper School of Business
Scope: Course - 45791 Interpersonal Managerial Communication;
Course - 70343 Interpersonal Business Communication, Tepper School of Business
Assessment Tool:  Performance Appraisal Report Rating Scale (pdf)


One key business communication skill is to give written feedback to one’s subordinates. Therefore, I believe it is crucial to practice and accurately assess this skill. Furthermore, students appreciate knowing the details of how I determine their grades.


I wanted a systematic and consistent assessment of student performance.


I constructed a rating scale that decomposes the performance appraisal report into five major components: (1) planning for each individual report, (2) providing useful content, (3) creating a supportive tone, (4) creating an effective writing style, and (5) using a clean layout and design. Each of these components is divided into a series of measurable behaviors. All behaviors are scored on a 0-2, 0-3, or 0-4 numerical scale for a total of 100 points.


After being given a business scenario, students prepare a performance appraisal report and submit it. I score the report using the dimensions in the rubric. I use this form in two courses on interpersonal communication, an MBA-level course and an undergraduate-level course. I collect all student reports, grade them using the form, and return them to the students with the filled-in form attached. My feedback to the students includes the numerical scores and the notes that I scribble in the margins. I also use a highlighter to underscore the most important feedback, so students can prioritize the feedback. Because students give several presentations, I interpret the scores not only in an absolute sense, as snapshots of students’ strengths and weaknesses at a given time, but also developmentally, looking at students’ improvement over time. I have used this rating scale for years, and the performance appraisal report is a standard component of the course.


Students get their feedback a few days after turning in the report. The impact has been two-fold, to student learning and to my own teaching. For students, they can see their progress, especially if they have been working on a particular aspect of their writing. For myself, it has made my teaching more focused because I am more aware of what students are working on.


I update the form periodically to reflect new research in rhetoric and communication as well as benchmarks in the business field.

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