Module 2 – SLP


Behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS) directly assess performance behaviors as opposed to performance results (MBO). The BARS method depends on critical incidents or short descriptions of effective and ineffective behaviors that ultimately produce a number value. A manager who uses the BARS approach to assess his or her employees can be compared to an instructor who uses a rubric for grading assignments. Ultimately, the assessor is responsible for rating the specific behaviors of an employee based upon the behavioral expectations that are provided as anchors. When rating the employee, most employers prefer to provide written feedback for why the employee received a specific rating.

“Typically, supervisors rate several performance dimensions using BARS and score an employee’s overall job performance by taking the average value across all the dimensions” and “because the critical incidents convey the precise kinds of behaviors that are effective and ineffective, feedback from BARS can help an employee develop and improve over time” (Colquitt, Lepine, and Wesson, 2011, p. 53). A manager can use the MBO and BARS approaches (they complement one another) for optimal performance appraisal results. Also, managers can use the overall scores to compare employees. The following is an example of a BARS appraisal from a student who is rating a teacher. The student has the option of rating the teacher on a scale from 1 to 3 with 1 being the lowest score and 3 being the highest. Also, there is a correlation between the behavioral anchor short description and the rating score. In the example, the student gives the teacher a 3 and adds notes on the left-hand side for why the teacher earned that score. Ultimately, the assessor or human resource professional is responsible for rating an individual.

Source: Colquitt, J.A., Lepine, J.A., & Wesson, M.J. (2011). Organizational behavior (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. (Note: This textbook is not available from the Trident Online Library).

Behavioral Anchored Rating Scales (BARS) Example

Area 1: Teaching skills

Specific Notes



Behavioral Anchors

Reviewed grades w/me on 9/12/2011.
Feedback on assignments has helped me develop my writing skills.
The lectures keep me engaged.


Above Average

  • My teacher is concerned about my progress toward graduation, provides constructive feedback on assignments, and presents lectures in a logical and concise order.



  • My teacher is somewhat concerned about my progress toward graduation, provides some constructive feedback on assignments, and presents lectures in a reasonable order.


Below Average

  • My teacher is not concerned about my progress toward graduation, does not provide feedback on assignments, and does not present lectures in a logical order.

To receive full credit for this assignment, you will need to:

  • Create a similar BARS instrument (based on your current position) with at least five different areas of assessment. Meet with a colleague or supervisor to have him or her evaluate your behaviors. Discuss the results with your assessor to figure out where you scored highest and where you scored lowest.
  • Write a paper discussing the following issues:
    • Your results
    • The process you went through
    • How your instrument can be adjusted for optimal results
    • What the strengths and weaknesses of BARS are
    • How the feedback from the BARS can help an individual improve over time
    • How BARS compares to other performance appraisal processes
    • Other recommendations you may have

This pragmatic approach will help you get into the routine of continuously being evaluated. You will submit both the BARS instrument that you created and the paper.

Bring in at least 2 library sources to help strengthen your discussion.

Your paper should be at least 2-3 pages, (not including the cover sheet and reference list). Deal with these issues in an integrated fashion, not as a series of individual questions.

Please upload your paper by the module due date.