[IPAC-List] Performance Appraisal Likert Scales

keith.poole at phoenix.gov keith.poole at phoenix.gov
Thu May 28 19:31:01 EDT 2009

Can't help with the literature, but going back about 10 years, we had a 1
through 6 rating that we abandoned for our current "Overall Met/Not Met"
system (in which we can rate individual goals and duties as Met or Needs
Improvement, but in the end at the top of the form you boil it all down to
either an Overall Met or Overall Not Met.) The Overall Met is what grants
merit increases, and the increases are pre-determined flat step increases
for all non-manager employees.

I'm told that as an organization we go through phases of wanting scales
and then not wanting them (or dickering over 1-3 or 1-5 or 1-6 etc). The
rationale for abandoning the scales at the time was that it didn't matter
if you were a 3, 4, 5 or 6, you got the same merit increase, and it helped
us avoid endless arguments with employees that said they should be a 5
instead of a 4. And of course we had the issue where the Police Dept had
a culture of almost always giving 5's and 6's, and some depts had the
philosophy of "no one ever gets a 6", so when the "never a 6" dept hired a
Police person they were kind of in shock. Basically mgt thought that the
value of the appraisal was the feedback and conversation and narrative
about strengths and areas needing improvement, not haggling over a number.

Keith Poole
Personnel Supervisor
City of Phoenix Personnel Dept
Employment Services
(602) 262-7140
keith.poole at phoenix.gov

"Jason Bowling" <jbowling at ssvec.com>
Sent by: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org
05/28/2009 08:40 AM

<IPAC-List at ipacweb.org>

[IPAC-List] Performance Appraisal Likert Scales

Hello all,

Does anyone know of research into Performance Appraisal Scales? Is there
an ideal/industry standard scale size?

Currently we use a 3-point scale (does not meet, meets, and exceeds
expectations). This short scale is great for inter-rater reliability,
but it seems to me, it sacrifices capturing the variability in
performance. Only in extreme situations do we see folks departing from
the default "Meets expectations."

Beyond just rating the performance of individuals, I would like to
assess the predictive validity of our hiring processes. Without much
variation, PA scores are practically orthogonal to all selection
measurements we use.

This is just one aspect of our PA system I am evaluating, but I cannot
find literature on the topic.


Jason Bowling, PHR

Human Resources Manager


Ofc: 520.515.3480

Cel: 520.220.6563

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