Forms

Performance review forms summarize ongoing conversations and provide a record of past performance and expectations moving forward.

Performance & Development Review Tool (PDR)

MIT's Performance and Development Review web-based tool is currently available for use in specific MIT areas. Check with your Human Resources Officer (HRO) to find out if your department is using this tool. Other areas should refer to the guidelines below.

Guidelines for Using Performance Review Forms

Performance review forms are tools that summarize ongoing conversations and provide a record of past performance and expectations moving forward. The conversation is the point of the performance review, so select a form that helps you have the most effective conversation.

Managers may select any performance review form that suits the needs of their department. However, managers must use the same form for all employees in a specific job category within a department/area.

We have provided editable forms for you to consider. We have also included completed sample forms so that you can see how each form would work for you.

Whichever form you choose, an effective performance evaluation should:

  • Review and update the job/position description
  • Address performance and accomplishments over the past year
  • Set performance and development goals for the coming year

HR guidelines on performance review forms

  1. Check with your local HR contact or Human Resources Officer  when selecting which form to use for your department/area.
  2. Managers must retain performance review documents with the employee records. 
  3. If you ask an employee to complete a self-appraisal form, be sure to include a discussion of that form in the review conversation.

Forms

Narrative form

A series of brief paragraphs in which appraisers provide detailed assessments of employee performance in particular categories, such as major accomplishments, areas of exceptional performance, areas that require improvement, and goals and expectations for the following year.

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Numerical scale form

A quantitative form in which the appraiser assigns a numeric value to the employee’s performance in a specific aspect of a larger category. A 5-point scale is typically used. For example, the appraiser may be asked to rank the employee’s computer skills on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being worst and 5 being best, or vice versa). Numerical scales are more informative for the employee when accompanied by comments.

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Descriptive scale form

A semi-quantitative form that requires the appraiser to rank the employee’s performance on a scale that uses descriptors. This method can be used with or without numeric values. For example, a descriptive scale used to evaluate an employee’s reliability and ability to get work done on time might look like this:

  1. Exceptional
  2. Highly effective
  3. Proficient
  4. Inconsistent
  5. Unsatisfactory

When using descriptive scales, avoid vague language such as "good" or "bad." The descriptors should be precise and concrete. Descriptive scales are more informative for the employee when accompanied by additional comments.

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Which form should you use?

Narratives and scales provide different types of feedback, offering different advantages and disadvantages.

FormAdvantagesDisadvantages
Narrative
  • Offers personalized feedback with specific examples
  • Provides talking points for the performance review conversation with the employee
  • Can be difficult to use to compare employees
  • May take more time to complete
Numerical Scale
  • Provides concrete measures that enable managers to compare employee performance across teams or entire divisions
  • Less personal than the narrative option
  • Not as descriptive as the other scales, which can limit its usefulness to the employee
Descriptive Scale
  • Provides concrete measures that enable managers to compare employee performance across teams or entire divisions
  • More descriptive than a numeric scale, allowing for more specific feedback
  • Less personal than the narrative option
  • Not as descriptive as a narrative, which can limit its usefulness to the employee

Self-Assessment Forms

The benefits of self-assessment

A self-assessment form

  • helps you prepare for the annual performance review conversation with your manager
  • serves as the basis for a conversation about your current position, your contributions to your department, and your development interests and needs
  • is a useful component of your development and career planning

Self-assessment forms