Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Instructor: Thomas Hajduk
Course: 45-791 Interpersonal Managerial Communication,
70-343 Interpersonal Business Communication, Tepper School of Business
Assessment: Rating Scale for Assessing Performance Appraisal Interviews


A key business communication skill is the ability to give oral feedback to one’s subordinates. I believe that it is crucial for students to practice this skill and to receive accurate assessments of their performance. Students also appreciate knowing the criteria that I use to determine their grades. Therefore, I wanted to create a systematic and consistent assessment of students’ performance appraisal interviews.


I constructed a rating scale that decomposes the performance appraisal interview into four major components: (1) preparation leading up to the interview, (2) actual performance appraisal feedback, (3) conduct of the interview, and (4) follow-up to the interview. Each component is described as a set of measurable behaviors, which are scored on a numerical scale. As part of the course activities, students take turns running mock performance appraisal interviews with each other. I complete the rating scale and write notes in the margins as a student conducts an interview. I give the student feedback on the first three components immediately after the interview, and I give the student feedback on the fourth component after the student sends out a post-interview summary of the feedback.


Consistent use of this rating scale allows students to see their progression, especially if they have been working on a particular aspect of their communication skills. It has also made my teaching more focused because I am more aware of what students are working on.


Because students give each other feedback in interviews several times during the semester, I interpret the scores not only as snapshots of students’ strengths and weaknesses at a given time, but also as improvements over time. I have used and occasionally revised this rating scale for years, and evaluating students as they evaluate each other’s performance is a standard course component.

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