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 Reports


A key business communication skill is the ability to give written 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’ leadership in business meetings.


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 component is described as a set of measurable behaviors, which are scored on a numerical scale. Over the course of the semester, students are given business scenarios and prepare performance appraisal reports that respond to them. Then I score the reports using the rating scale and add my own written 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 writing. It has also made my teaching more focused because I am more aware of what students are working on.


Because students write several performance appraisal reports 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’ writing is a standard course component.

CONTACT US to talk with an Eberly colleague in person!