Choosing a Form

Choosing a Form

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.

Narrative Form (Get this Form - MS Word Template)
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.

Numerical Scale Form (Get this Form - MS Word Template)
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.

Descriptive Scale Form (Get this Form - MS Word Template)
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.

Which Form Should You Use?

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

Performance Review Form Advantages Disadvantages
Narrative
(Get this Form - MS Word Template)
  • 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
(Get this Form - MS Word Template)
  • 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
(Get this Form - MS Word Template)
  • 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

If you use another kind of form, add this sentence: "This performance review will become part of your MIT personnel file." Also, either leave a line for the employee’s signature or add the following sentence: "Please sign below to acknowledge that you have received this document."

Note: All three templates are protected, so that they are easy to fill out electronically. If you would like to edit the actual review questions, you will need to turn off that protection.

Sample Forms

See an example of a completed narrative performance review (PDF).
See an example of a completed descriptive scale review form (PDF).